Features expert analysis from Harshal Karvande (Lead Game Designer Rovio/Naavik Pro Contributor), Teemu Palomaki (Chief Game Analyst, Japan at GameRefinery), and Junde Yu (GM Gaming at data.ai)
Lilith Games has been one of the few companies capable of releasing multiple top-grossing hits, one after the other. From the original DOTA Legends (aka Dot.Arena aka SoulHunters), Rise of Kingdoms, Art of Conquest, and AFK Arena.
Lilith’s latest game Dislyte is the first in a wave of new game titles currently being worked on by the company. Other titles in development include WarPath, a 4X March Battle game, and Farlight 84, a fresh take on the FPS battle-royale genre.
Dislyte launched on May 10, 2022, and made quite an impression. The game is an RPG “Team Battle” game in the same vein as Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle & LEGENDS, RAID: Shadow Legends, and Marvel Strike Force. Dislyte offers a fresh new game experience with a unique modern art style and a big focus on music.
At first glance, Dislyte has made a significant impact from launch. Data.ai shows the game leading in downloads for its subgenre from launch to date:
On the revenue side, however, the game has performed well but not at the same level as its download volume, clocking in at #13 in subgenre for net revenue generated:
There may have been a bit of a UA push here, optimizing for reach rather than monetization.
Looking at the revenue trends from launch, we see that there has been a decline in revenue with spikes roughly correlated with new build releases:
What is the future of Dislyte’s performance over the long term?
In a super deep and insightful discussion with industry experts, we dig into the key differences between Dislyte and other games in its subgenre, on monetization, and start with a deep dive into performance data from data.ai.
- Joseph Kim. CEO at LILA Games
- Harshal Karvande. Game Design Lead at Rovio & Naavik Pro Contributor at Naavik
- Teemu Palomaki. Chief Game Analyst — Japan at GameRefinery
- Junde Yu. GM Global Gaming at data.ai
On Lilith Games
While you should check out the full Dislyte deconstruction discussion, I wanted to highlight a specific part of the conversation in which Junde Yu reveals some historical context behind Lilith and the company’s product strategy.
[00:29:04] Junde Yu: I came across a quote from the CEO [of Lilith], I think it’s from sometime back. He was referencing one of the earliest titles Dot.Arena several years back. And he was talking about the success and failure of that game.
I mean success because it was huge. And then failure because it faced all kinds of things. They had to pull it down and then change the name and so on. He said that he couldn’t believe that the game’s success had so much to do with the IP and because of that, they resolved, he resolved and his company resolved, to double down on creativity, on innovation, and to hopefully eventually create their own IP.
So that was one of the driving motivations from that big lesson.
[00:29:51] Joseph Kim: That’s a super interesting backstory. I mean, Junde, I think you know some of the backstory of my influence at Funplus and things like that with DOTA Legends, the original name.
But, in terms of Lilith itself, how much are you guys familiar with them in terms of the type of studio they are? What do you guys know, if anything about Lilith the studio and their history? And what that history may have given them to be able to produce a game like Dislyte?
[00:30:30] Junde Yu: Okay. So they’ve come a long way since then. A lot of other hits like Rise of Kingdoms and AFK arena and so on. And I think one thing that we’ve known about them is that they have an exceptionally strong publishing team and they’re very good at localization. I think Harshal mentioned that as well.
I think they sometimes employ quite creative ways for marketing and UA, and they don’t just believe in taking successful high ARPU games in China and then just localizing the language everywhere. And I think Harshal mentioned the word global localization and that’s what they put a lot of focus and time on to maximize the ARPU in every country.
And also, they launched a new publishing brand, Farlight, in Singapore. This is because Singapore is a base to push for international expansion and they’re close to Google and Facebook here.
[00:31:23] Joseph Kim: It seems like there’s some historical context to what you were talking about Junde.
During the Dot.arena, Dota legends time they learned the lesson that they should own their own IP, but even going back, they actually had a lot of difficulties working with their Chinese publisher.
The original game that came to the U.S., their publisher actually kind of ripped their code and did whatever. So now, from that lesson, they’re like, okay, we need to publish our own games because we got hosed. So it seems like they’re kind of learning from a series of painful lessons, and based on those lessons, they’re pivoting to build their own internal capabilities.
[00:32:16] Junde Yu: Right, right.
And the other thing was, I think they were one of the earlier ones to realize, okay, in China, it’s gonna be dominated by a lot of Tencent and Alibaba, Netease and so on. And if you don’t have the means to distribute, it will be very expensive to do this in China. So they were one of those earlier ones to try to go for international.
[00:32:36] Joseph Kim: I believe the original team came from Tencent. I think they were like four years at Tencent and then they jumped. I have met the CEO before. I was very impressed when I first met him. The first time I played, DOTA Legends, I was stunned [positively]. So they definitely have come a long way since that time.
Definitely very impressive. One of the few studios really cranking out like hit, hit, hit, hit, hit. So super impressive on that.