Game experience: heavily addictive – know your limits
“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” –Steve Jobs.
Supercell team has understood what Jobs meant. Overall game experience of Hay Day is extremely entertaining, user friendly and most of all fun. Storytelling and overall ambience are well-finalized and tutorial section guides player well into gaming mode. Once player is set into the gaming mode, player stays in for many hours in a row. Hmm… feels like a déjà vu to me? Yes, I felt like this while playing Clash of Clans by Supercell.
I can realize why Hay Day is very addictive and why it creates turnover to Supercell regularly. Let’s analyze the reasons more detailed.
Core loop: it runs like a Swiss clock
Well-designed core loop rewards player for being active and promises progress for each return session. The core loop of Hay Day seems to consist of four different core actions:
Image: Core loop of Hay Day 
Retention: something for all player types
Do you remember while I analyzed Clash of Clans? The key indicators Supercell is tracking are 1, 7 and 30-day retention rates. That’s why players won’t lose their interest easily: all stages of Hay Day are heavily analyzed and optimized. There is something for all player types all the time. No matter if you are a newbie, mid-range or elite player.
Retention rate measures how effective you are at getting players to come back to your game. For example what percentage of the players who played your game in day 1 are still playing in day 2. 
Hay Day seems to have really good stickyness stats as DAU per MAU percentage of Hay Day Facebook app according to Metricsmonk is about 50%. How come this is possible?
More detailed look reveals Hay Day seems to have multiple retention techniques in use:
Many of the retention techniques in use are actually based on the theories of persuasion and human psychology. So I recommend game designers to study consumer behavior and sales psychology.
Monetization: it’s not just milking cash cows
The principles of game monetization design seem to work really well as does the game core loop design and the tracking of the core analytics. Still things could be done better :-) For example social aspect is lacking of some monetization elements (see the next chapter for suggested improvements). Also the topic itself (farming with pigs and cows) might prevent some of the players from starting the game at all. Pigs and cows have very different meanings for Muslims and Hindus than Christians. Despite these facts Hay Day is generating revenues very well: estimated daily revenues vary from 185000 USD to about 2 million USD according Think Gaming and analyst Tero Kuittinen. [4, 6]
The following elements seem to work well:
Hay Day also has some monetization features which are lacking from Clash of Clans (CoC) such as sale banner counting sale time in minutes and global trade with friends.
Social aspect: how to generate even more buzz?
There has been a lot of discussions that there is no need to use real money because Google is full of Hay Day cheats available. Phrase “Hay Day cheats” results over 14,1 million search results in Google in early June 2014 as the amount of the search results in January 2014 for the same phrase “Hay Day cheats” was 6,6 million. So players keep on buzzing more than ever. The other thing is how many of these “cheats” are there for purpose. Just to keep players in playing and discussing about Hay Day.
Compared to Clash of Clans (CoC) Hay Day seems to be missing some of the following features of social aspect which could increase monetization faster. Note: some of the following features have been added in the later release versions of Hay Day. This blog post is based on the Hay Day version 1.15.34:
Despite the previously listed suggestions social aspect seems to work better than ever. According to Metricsmonk Daily Average Users (DAU) of Hay Day Facebook app is around 7,5 million and Monthly Average Users (MAU) is around 15,8 million on June 9, 2014.
So I’m happy to finalize my blog post with the same sentence as I used for Clash of Clans: “Figures won’t lie, social aspect, game experience, core loop, retention and monetization all work better than ever. Try it yourself and you are hooked.”.
This blog post is based on the Hay Day version 1.15.34 (current version is 1.18.166). 
 Deconstructor of Fun, Behind the Success of Hay Day
 Gamesbrief.com, The business of games, Retention rate, churn and duration
 Metricsmonk, App Detail: Hay Day | metricsmonk.com
 Think Gaming, Hay Day revenue estimates
 Appannie.com, Hay Day – What’s new
 Bgr.com, Flappy Bird revenue: Clash of Clans makes 60 times more money