Marvel Snap Deconstruction

  • Check out a Deep Dive Article at Deconstructor of Fun [LINK]
  • Or the Podcast Episode about Marvel Snap [LINK]
    (featuring Phillip Black & Matej Lancaric)

High-Level Summary

It’s been a few weeks already since Marvel Snap was released globally, after a brief soft launch of 3 months. It became an instant hit: During its first month after the global launch, it accumulated ~8.5M downloads and ~$8M in revenue and regularly oscillates across the Top 100 top-grossing games worldwide, making it the (current) most successful CCG on mobile.

Although the company behind it (Second Dinner) is new, the Marvel Snap team ranks among the most experienced creators of digital CCGs. Many of its members are veterans of Blizzard’s Hearthstone. Among them, it stands out Ben Brode, Second Dinner’s CEO and previous Game Director of Hearthstone. Brode is a very public personality (for game dev standards) who has leveraged his personal brand into this new game by appearing in ads.

The strong pedigree hasn’t hindered innovation, quite the contrary: Marvel Snap presents a gameplay more approachable than any other digital CCG on mobile. This facilitates adoption and generates fast and intense matches (~4 minutes). The loss of depth in gameplay mechanics is compensated with a higher weight of the poker-like mindgames.

The brief and high-intensity game loop makes it well attuned to mobile gaming tempo, and it’s one of the reasons why the game is so damn engaging. This has made core CCG fans passionately receive it as a refreshing experience, although retaining them for a long time may put a lot of pressure on the flow of new content.

Nevertheless, Snap’s biggest opportunity is reaching broader audiences than just core CCG players. Its approachability could be a great advantage in the long run, as it may allow Snap to tap into a bit broader audiences like collectors or Marvel fans instead of competing exclusively for the galvanized audiences of MTGA, Hearthstone, or Yu-Gi-Oh.

That said, the future of Marvel Snap is not without challenges: Its current monetization approach has a very limited spending depth per user. This will put a lot of stress on its capacity to maintain a high volume of active users, which is always challenging.

Additionally, in its current form Snap is severely lacking in terms of collection systems and liveops, and it isn’t very clear how effective the introduction of new content will be. These are all solvable problems but represent important factors of uncertainty regarding its ability to become a long-term success.
In terms of progression, Snap’s biggest innovation is linking the acquisition of new cards to cosmetic upgrades. Thus, players are incentivized to acquire and upgrade their cosmetics beyond their visual appeal.

But F2P GaaS is a war, not a battle: Can Marvel Snap transform its great launch into a long-term success? To answer this, in the latest DoF blog post we’ve done an in-depth analysis of its launch, current trend, gameplay, progression, and monetization systems. 


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