Charity in Games: Too Good To Be True?


When you put Karmafy in your game, you enable your players to support good causes at no cost to them simply by playing the game. We tell you that, given a reason, socially conscious gamers will stick around longer, spend more, and share more with their friends. This all sounds great, but is it true? And more importantly, does it pay off?


Let's find out.


Previous Tests

Whilst we have been developing our platform, we’ve had the opportunity to test Karmafy in a number of different products in different markets, both games and non-games.  Karmafy has in the past run A/B tests in both a mobile music and video streaming service and in a number of games. Our longest-running A/B test was in the iOS and Android title  “Slam Dunk Basketball 2”. All our tests showed that adding Karmafy drove up KPIs significantly, increasing retention by around 6%-10% and monetization anywhere from 7% to 42%. However, all the products we tested in had some issues; the products were in the tail end of their lifecycle and none had retention or monetization loops optimised for current F2P market trends.

In order to really convince ourselves and our future partners, we needed to validate that Karmafy could deliver in a high production-value game that already had good retention numbers, high purchase conversion, high LTV and a strong fan base.

DWTS Icon.png

With the BBC and ABC-licensed game “Dancing With The Stars : Game” (DWTS) developed by Exient, we got to A/B test in such a game. DWTS has strong retention numbers  around the benchmark of 40-20-10, very high conversion to paying for a freemium game and a strong LTV. The player demographics were a great match for charitable giving. There was only one question - could Karmafy make a difference also in such a game?


How we did it


Karmafy was integrated into DWTS, with the main point of action being a heart showing earned Karmafy Points in the bottom right corner of the Main Menu. As DWTS has a fair amount of features the player needs to learn early on and the game already has good D1 retention we didn’t want to overload the player. Along with the developer, we agreed that a “light-touch approach” would provide the best experience. The user instead learned of Karmafy by exploring the heart in the main menu. This meant that initial Karmafy engagement happened on average around session 4 and that Karmafy couldn’t be expected to impact D1 retention.


Events such as completing dances, increasing profile level, shopping and sharing were hooked up to be able to reward points and achievements.


As part of the Karmafy platform, the player got regular personal feedback on good done for their chosen cause.


Initial results

We started our tests in mid December 17 on iOS in the markets of Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) and later added Android. Players were assigned with a 50/50 random split into either a group with Karmafy, or a control group. As the test ran, we immediately were seeing an improved retention of new players which was promising. However, revenue numbers were very volatile, mainly due to the limited users/data of ANZ, coupled with the high spending of a few whales. So together with Exient, the developer of DWTS, we agreed to expand the test.   


Extending the test

The A/B test was expanded to include the countries of Denmark, Norway, Finland and Singapore. These were chosen because we wanted the Karmafy messaging to be understood and English penetration is high in these countries. Sweden, being a second home territory for Karmafy, was left out of the A/B test due to ongoing Karmafy investment discussions.

The Nordics test started mid January and ran in parallel to the ANZ test. The statistics that came out of the Nordics turned out to be even stronger than ANZ. In the end, revenue (ARPU) was up 36.3% in the Karmafy group vs the control group.

As numbers continued to be strong in the Nordics, Exient wanted to have an additional soft-launch in France and Germany before ending the test in April. We ran a short test there and although we saw some anomalies in the French market, the majority of the statistics confirmed what we had seen in other territories.


Digging into the numbers


By now you’ve probably guessed that we were pretty confident that we’d had a positive impact across the board, but I’m sure you’re wondering how much they’d improved and (most importantly) what the net results were for the customer. Without further ado - here are the results:

The end results of the A/B test were


D7 +7.6%
D30 +15.2%
D60 +20%


Sharing to social media: +173%


Revenues (ARPU): +24.9%


* All above stats showed a statistical significant positive effect of Karmafy.


Good for the developers

The +24.9% increase in revenues in the test markets of Australia/New Zealand (ANZ), Nordics and Germany was before charitable donations and the Karmafy fee. In the end the games bottom line after Karmafy fees and charitable donations was +15%. To put it another way - the game had a net increase in revenues of roughly twice what was spent by giving money to good causes and paying Karmafy to run the program!


Good for the planet


In addition to the 15% increase in bottom line revenues, the game also contributed to

  • 16224 weeks of safe clean water

  • 69 square meters of land cleared from landmines

  • 6008 days of fruit and vegetables

  • 411 days of lighting & school for a child

  • 847 days of play for children


Looking back and looking forwards.

The A/B test has now ended and Exient is fully satisfied with the result of the A/B tests. In fact, the 15% increase to their bottom line while helping good causes is even more than they were hoping for. We are now in the process of being evaluated by the BBC with a view to a worldwide launch of Dancing With The Stars with Karmafy. The BBC, being a publicly-funded body, obviously has some very strict regulations surrounding how it is represented, so evaluation from a charter compliance perspective may take some time. Nevertheless, we are all hopeful that we will soon be able to bring this new form of charitable giving to the millions of DWTS fans around the world. In the meantime, we are hard at work with new and existing partners to help games do better by doing good.

If you believe your game could benefit from a Karmafy integration, feel free to get in touch!