How Royal Match Earned More than $1 Billion in Revenue

How Royal Match Earned More than $1 Billion in Revenue

Royal Match by Dream Games is a big deal in the mobile gaming industry and the puzzle games market. Since it came out, it’s made over $1.1 billion and has been downloaded more than 180 million times, according to AppMagic. What’s more, both the money it’s making and the number of downloads are going up. Just last August, it hit a high of 17 million downloads, and in July, it pulled in over $80 million.

According to Data.ai, Royal Match is the top-grossing game of Q3, 2023. For the first time ever, it’s beating Candy Crush Saga in both revenue and downloads.

A big reason for this?

It’s spending a lot on getting new players – 61.5% of its downloads are from paid advertisements compared to Candy Crush’s 15.4%-25%, according to SensorTower.

What follows is an examination of why Royal Match is one of the best mobile games – from game mechanics and user acquisition to monetization and user retention.

Dissecting Royal Match: Core Gameplay, Meta, and Progression Systems

When it comes to dissecting the magic behind Royal Match, there’s a lot to unpack. From its seemingly simple match-3 puzzle design to its clever progression systems, Royal Match’s success isn’t accidental.

Let’s unpack the core gameplay mechanics that have captured millions of players, and how these elements open doors for monetization and user retention.

Core Gameplay: Match-3

At its core, Royal Match is a straightforward match-3 puzzle game. Players are presented with a board full of items—Books, Crowns, Leaves, Shields, and Gems.

A simple swipe is all it takes to match three or more and clear them from the board. But here’s a twist: power-ups are generated when players match items in specific formations. These power-ups offer opportunities for quicker level completion, and by extension, heightened player engagement.

Onboarding: The First Few Steps

If you’re looking to ensure your game is accessible to a wide audience, take a cue from Royal Match’s introductory tutorial.

It’s simple and walks players through the objectives of the level, like clearing grass tiles, in an easy-to-understand manner.

Players are encouraged to complete levels with the fewest moves to maximize rewards.

And that’s where you can start laying down your monetization tracks. If players run out of moves, they can buy more with in-game currency, coins.

No coins?

That’s when real-world money comes into play. But more on that later on in the article.

Gameplay Length: Keeping Players Hooked

Player engagement is a delicate balance. Royal Match seems to have cracked it. Levels are designed to last between 1 and 5 minutes, with an average playtime hovering around 3+ minutes.

The short bursts keep players coming back without overwhelming them. It’s perfect for casual players who love to play in short bursts.

royal match gameplay

Fresh Elements: Keep Players Intrigued

As you consider how to maintain long-term player interest, notice the way Royal Match introduces new mechanics as players advance. This not only keeps the gameplay fresh but also ensures that players aren’t overwhelmed with too many features at once.

Moreover, the game offers various power-ups and boosters like rockets, TNT, and royal hammers to keep things interesting.


One last thing to note is the concept of lives. Players have a set number of attempts to complete a level. Fail too many times, and they’ll have to wait, or pay, to play again.

Bonus Levels

To add a layer of strategy, Royal Match also incorporates bonus levels. Here, the objective is to collect as many coins as possible before running out of moves, making it another avenue for coin consumption and potential monetization.

Adding Depth to Royal Match: The Meta Layers

Royal Match is not just about matching. Let’s dive into the meta layers that contribute to player retention, engagement, and, crucially, monetization opportunities.

base building

Base Building: More Than Just Puzzles

A match-3 puzzle game can be very addictive, but how do you turn that into a long-term commitment?

Royal Match adds another layer through base construction and decoration. Players earn stars by completing match-3 levels, which they then use to build and decorate a castle. This offers not only a secondary mode of gameplay but also gives the players more reasons to keep earning stars.

Progressing Through Areas

To keep players hooked beyond the immediate gameplay, Royal Match employs a simple yet effective tactic: area progression.

Once players complete an area, like the initial castle, they move on to the next, such as the throne room, then the dining room, the garden, and so forth. This provides long-term goals and adds layers of complexity to what is otherwise a straightforward match-3 game.

In Royal Match, players engage with both indoor and outdoor areas. This variety in the environment adds an extra layer of engagement, making the game more visually interesting and offering more decoration possibilities for the players.


Foreshadowed Content: A Glimpse of What’s Ahead

If you’re contemplating how to keep players invested for the long haul, consider the power of foreshadowing. In Royal Match, upcoming areas are visible but locked, providing a tantalizing glimpse of what’s to come.

This is an effective way to keep players curious and invested, thereby increasing the odds they’ll stick around long enough to unlock these areas and potentially make in-app purchases along the way.

Progression Systems in Royal Match

Royal Match employs two key progression systems: a task system and a collection system. Here’s how they work and why they matter for player engagement and retention.

royal match tasks

The Task System: Guided Gameplay

If you’re looking to guide your players through the game with a sense of direction, consider the task or quest system used in Royal Match. Players are given a task to complete, like building a castle, which require stars to accomplish. And how do players get these stars? By beating match-3 levels, of course.

Stars act as a unique currency here; they can’t be bought but must be earned. This encourages players to play more levels to complete their tasks. Once all tasks in an area are finished, players unlock an Area Chest full of coins, boosters, and cards.

It’s a compelling loop that keeps players engaged, and it’s something you might think about integrating into your own game.

Collection System: An Element of Surprise

Royal Match introduces a collection system at level 41, adding an extra layer of progression.

In this system, players collect cards from events or chests to complete sets. These aren’t just any cards; they’re categorized into Silver and Gold and belong to unique sets with their own themes.

Completing a set isn’t just for bragging rights; it provides players with specific rewards, further incentivizing gameplay. These cards can be collected from a variety of events like Propeller Madness, Book of Treasure, and even the aforementioned Area Chests. It’s a long-term engagement strategy that serves both to guide newer players and offer continued goals for the veterans.

Royal Match Ads: User Acquisition Breakdown

Royal Match is known for a top-notch user acquisition strategy and ads that have resulted in millions of new players. Let’s break it down.

The Power of Mini-Game Ads

Most Royal Match ads are mini-game type ads where the goal is to save King Robert from a dangerous situation. That goes for both video and playable ads.

Because these are mini-game ads, some players might say Royal Match is not as advertised. 

However, these are not your typical Playrix-type ads that don’t include actual gameplay, but rather a lot of pin pulling. In Royal Match ads, the main character is saved by solving match-3 puzzles, which technically is the core gameplay.

But Royal Match has taken it one step further. These mini-games aren’t just in the ads; they’re also integrated into the game itself as an additional mode.

King’s Nightmare: When Ads Become Gameplay

King’s Nightmare episodes bring the mini-games featured in ads directly into the gaming experience.

These episodes, unlocked after clearing a specific number of levels, offer the same puzzles showcased in the advertisements. Players have the option to skip these if they find them too challenging or uninteresting.

And for those who complete them? A neat 50-coin reward awaits.

royal match ads

Utilizing the Fail Ads Trend

Royal Match ads also utilize the fail ads trend found in many match-3 ad creatives.

Let’s delve a bit into the psychology of the popular fail ads, which Royal Match employs effectively. These ads showcase a player failing to complete a specific task, usually some type of puzzle.

The psychology behind this is intriguing; it instills a sense of challenge and curiosity, prompting viewers to think, “I could do better than that”. It’s an indirect call to action, encouraging players to download the game and prove their prowess.

Royal Match Ads: Playable Ads

When it comes to playable ads, they follow a similar formula as video Royal Match ads. The main difference, of course, is that they’re interactive and allow users to try out the game before downloading it.

Here are a couple of examples.

In this playable ad, players need to match the colorful tiles and complete the board. It’s the most basic representation of match-3 gameplay, but it makes sense for a playable ad.

Because it’s so simple, yet so successful, it proves that streamlined ads often perform best, especially when it comes to playable ads.

Other Royal Match playable ads are more like the game’s video ads. They follow the same concept of saving the main character by solving puzzles. You can watch an example of it above.

The goal is to get wood for the fireplace to keep King Robert warm. As you expect, that’s accomplished by solving puzzles.

Royal Match Celebrity Ads

Royal Match doesn’t just rely on standard advertising methods. It takes user acquisition a step further by incorporating influencer marketing, and not just any influencers – big celebrities. These Royal Match celebrity ads, featuring stars like Simon Cowell, provide a sense of endorsement, implying that these famous faces not only know about Royal Match but enjoy playing it too.

Why is influencer marketing so effective in mobile games?

Firstly, the authority and appeal of a celebrity can lend considerable credibility to a game, making it stand out in a crowded marketplace. Secondly, it taps into the fanbase of the celebrity, providing a new channel for user acquisition. The social proof generated by these endorsements often leads to higher engagement and retention rates, adding yet another layer to the game’s successful strategy.

Social Features in Royal Match

A critical part of Royal Match’s success lies in its social features, which elevate the gaming experience from solitary to communal. Let’s take a closer look at how the game utilizes leaderboards and teams to engage players.

royal match social features leaderboards

Leaderboards: A Competitive Edge

Royal Match incorporates various leaderboards, each serving a distinct purpose. There are three main types:

  1. Friends Leaderboard – By incentivizing social media connections, this leaderboard encourages players to invite their friends to the game.
  2. Players Leaderboard – These are global and local leaderboards that foster a sense of competition among the broader player base.
  3. Teams Leaderboard – For team events, these leaderboards pit teams against each other on both global and local scales.

Each leaderboard adds a unique competitive element to the game, driving players to improve their skills and engage more deeply with the content.

team battle in royal match

Teams: Collaboration and Rewards

Unlockable at level 21, the team feature offers additional layers of interaction and rewards. By joining a team, players gain access to free lives and various team-exclusive rewards.

These teams are not just for socializing; they have functional benefits as well.

Team events like Team Treasure and Team Battle allow players to collaborate to earn collective rewards, adding a cooperative aspect to what might otherwise be a purely competitive environment.

Moreover, the team mechanism facilitates player-to-player help. Players can send requests for assistance, creating a sense of community within the game.

How Does Royal Match Make Money?

When it comes to monetization, Royal Match takes a unique approach by relying solely on in-app purchases (IAPs). So if you’re wondering does Royal Match have ads, the answer is – no.

Let’s dig into the specifics of how the game uses its in-game currency and various features to monetize effectively while maintaining user engagement.

Coins: The Singular In-Game Currency

In Royal Match, coins serve as the hard currency and form the backbone of the game’s monetization strategy. Players can purchase coins and then use them to buy a variety of in-game items.

Specifically, coins are used for:

  • Buying additional moves during gameplay
  • Acquiring various boosters
  • Refilling lives

This single-currency approach simplifies the game’s economy and makes it easier for players to understand what they’re buying and why.

royal match monetization in-app purchases

Monetization Features: A Range of Options

The game employs a number of typical monetization methods commonly found in puzzle games. These include:

  • Monetized Continue/Retry: When players run out of moves or lives, they’re offered the option to continue by spending coins.
  • Consumable Boosts: A variety of boosters can be bought to ease gameplay.
  • Limited-Time IAP Offers: Occasionally, players are presented with limited-time offers to purchase coins or other in-game items.
  • Royal Pass: This battle pass feature unlocks at level 37 and offers 30 steps of rewards over the course of a month.

Events: A Key Monetization Strategy

Events play a pivotal role in Royal Match’s monetization.

During events, players have the opportunity to earn various rewards and experience the game in a resource-rich environment, offering a taste of what it’s like to have an abundance of in-game items. The game then provides IAP offers that mimic this enriched experience, subtly encouraging players to make a purchase.

More on events in Royal Match in the following section.

Retention and Re-Engagement

The secret sauce for a mobile game’s long-term success lies in its ability to retain players and keep them coming back for more.

Royal Match offers a dynamic array of live events, a competitive ladder, and a continually updated game world.

Let’s break down each of these elements.

royal match events

Live Events: A Hub of Activity

Royal Match excels in creating a variety of live events that cater to different types of players. These events include both solo and team competitions, and they offer a great way to keep players engaged.

Some notable events are:

  • Team Battle: A limited-time tournament where 20 teams fight for supremacy.
  • King’s Cup: A competitive event where 50 players rank up based on the number of cups collected.
  • Royal League: Aimed at players who’ve completed all available levels, offering global competition for additional rewards.
  • Sky Race and Lightning Rush: Timed events where players race to complete levels or collect items.

The game also offers specific, goal-oriented events like Propeller Madness, Book of Treasure, and Piñata Party, where players aim to collect particular items across multiple steps for rewards.

Dynamic Competitive Ladder: Fueling the Competitive Spirit

The competitive ladder system adds another layer of engagement. This feature motivates players to continue playing, as it offers a structured environment where players can measure their skill and progress against others.

Liveops: Keeping Content Fresh

But what happens when players start to feel like they’ve seen it all?

Royal Match avoids this pitfall by consistently rolling out new areas and levels – every two weeks, to be precise. This ensures the game stays fresh and exciting, mitigating the risk of players getting bored and disengaged.

Royal Match Summary: The Three Pillars of Success

In dissecting Royal Match, it becomes clear that the game’s success can be attributed to a trinity of key factors: accessible casual gameplay, a robust user acquisition strategy, and a diligent liveops plan.

Here’s a closer look at each of these elements.

1. Accessible Casual Gameplay: Simplicity Meets Depth

The game offers an easy-to-grasp match-3 core gameplay that appeals to a broad audience. While the basics are simple, the added layers of base construction and decoration provide just the right amount of complexity to keep players engaged over the long term.

From power-ups to varying levels, the game continually offers something new without overwhelming its players.

2. User Acquisition: Aggressive but Focused

Royal Match has made a notable impact through its user acquisition campaigns by cleverly utilizing mini-game ads and other creative trends.

Also, by allocating a large portion of the marketing budget and effort to paid user acquisition channels, the game has managed to rise to the top in the saturated match-3 market.

3. Live Operations: Fresh Content is King

One of the most crucial elements of retaining players is to offer them new content and challenges continually. Royal Match excels at this, regularly adding new levels and live events to keep players coming back.

If you’re aiming for a balanced and effective game development strategy, these three pillars offer a proven roadmap to follow.

The harmony of casual gameplay, aggressive yet focused user acquisition, and a continuous content stream makes Royal Match a case study in mobile gaming success.

Frequently Asked Questions


About Udonis

Udonis is an independent full-service mobile marketing agency that acquired more than 300,000,000 users for mobile games since 2018.

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