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The city-building mobile game Cookie Run Kingdom gets a Disney-themed makeover

Industry Commentary
Image: Polygon

You might not be familiar with Cookie Run Kingdom. Like most mobile games, Cookie Run Kingdom flies under the rader of media coverage from gaming outlets, but the latest figures show it received over 200k monthly downloads in June while also earning over $3m in revenue that same month. It’s part of the Cookie Run franchise, which has reached more than 100 million downloads worldwide, and was the eighth most-downloaded hypercasual iOS game in 2021. 

If those numbers weren’t reason enough for Disney to get in on the hype, Cookie Run Kingdom’s younger demographic of players, animated aesthetic and character-based game mechanics are the perfect match for Disney’s catalogue of cartoon icons. The end result is the Festival Dream of Wishes, which basically turns the crumbling cookie kingdom into a Disney wonderland. 

To give you an idea of how the collaboration works, it’s important to understand Cookie Run Kingdom’s gameplay mechanics. As a free-to-play mobile game, Cookie Run Kingdom makes nearly all of its money through in-app purchases, ranging from subscription plans, in-app purchases and gachas – but most of it comes from gachas. 

Gachas, if you’re not familiar with them, are similar to loot boxes where players pull a gacha and receive a random reward. In the case of Cookie Run Kingdom, gachas award players with new characters, equipment and player skins. As the gameplay mechanics of Cookie Run Kingdom are based around growing and levelling up a team of characters and your kingdom to progress through the game, there are plenty of specific characters and items that players want to get their hands on – the randomness of gachas incentivises players to keep going until they get the item or character they’re after. 

The Disney collaboration introduced 20 new Disney-themed characters and 45 decorative buildings for players to unlock, although the Disney characters can’t be used in battles and only interacted with (because that would go against Disney’s brand values – right?!) As an added bonus, you can even turn the main castle in your kingdom into the iconic Disney castle. Alongside these new unlockables, there are also limited-time offers, a daily log-in bonus calendar to incentivize players to play the game every day, and you also get a guaranteed Mickey Mouse character for pulling your first gacha. 

This is a great way of activating the campaign, as not only does it encourage Disney fans to check out Cookie Run Kingdom for the first time if they haven’t already, but can also bring back lapsed players with the promise of new content. And that seems to have worked; revenue climbed by over 300% and downloads by nearly 100% according to figures from GameRefinery

With the collaboration set to run for 50 days, we reckon this is a great play by Disney. The latest Newzoo report into IP-based mobile games shows Disney is one of the most popular global IPs in Japan, so it’ll be interesting to see the impact on downloads this collaboration has in the country. Disney fans are also highly receptive to gacha mechanics, one of the key monetisation features driving revenue in Cookie Run Kingdom. 

September 1, 2022

Read the episode transcript here

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