What is a midcore? The 11 terms every gamer and mobile developer should know


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You don’t become a $ 25 billion industry without making up a few words along the way, and mobile gaming is no different.

This industry is full of jargon and absurd acronyms. Well, the days of you looking confused when the CEO of a mobile game startup cornered you and started yelling about “our poo” are over. We’re here with a useful lexicon to help you make sense of this crazy industry.

Let’s go.


Midcore is a bunch of people who love games a lot but maybe don’t have enough time for them like before. It is a term that many mobile developers use to indicate that they are making a “serious” game. It is also the result of the rise of casual games for “casual gamers” as opposed to traditional console games for “hardcore gamers”. The developers have noticed that a lot of people, especially adults, come from the hardcore gaming background and are looking for free mobile experiences in their very limited free time. This is the intermediate audience.

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Let’s use it in a sentence

“Our free-to-play mobile strategy game features a mature storyline and deep mechanics that midrange gamers will love it.

User acquisition

User acquisition is the process or methods by which games, usually of the free-to-play type, get consumers to download and try their game. You will read and hear this term a lot because it is probably the something mobile developers think about the most. Examples of user acquisition include the ads for games in other free-to-play games or the ads you see on TV with Kate Upton. Oh, and we don’t write “user acquisition” on this website. We say “player” or “player acquisition”. The same goes for the other “user” examples you are about to read.

Let’s use it in a sentence

“Our company just raised $ 1 million from venture capitalists to help us expand our user acquisition. “


DAU is an acronym that stands for Daily Active Users. This is a number that indicates how active a game’s player community is on a daily basis. For example, last year, publisher King’s Candy Crush Saga had 93 million active players per day.

Let’s use it in a sentence

“We keep our SAD high by regularly adding new content.


MAU is very similar to DAU, except that it is intended for monthly active users. This is the number that most developers and investors talk about when referring to the health of a game.

Let’s use it in a sentence

“We invest in this developer because his games have 30 million MAU, and we want to help take it to the next level.


No more acronyms! This time we are talking about ARPDAU, which represents the average income per daily active user. This is another number that represents the health of the game, but instead of talking about audience size, it means how much that audience is spending.

Let’s use it in a sentence

“Our ARPDAU reached 10 cents after implementing virtual hats in our game.


ARPPU is a very common acronym in mobile gaming circles. It represents the average revenue per paying user, and people say it out loud as “may”. While MAU is the key metric developers use to measure their audience size, ARPPU is how developers measure how much money they are making from these players. It’s just a technical way of telling how much money a paying customer spends on that game over a certain period of time.

Let’s use it in a sentence

“This game is ARPPU is higher than many other games because the developer uses advanced monetization tactics.


Whale is a term that mobile developers (as well as social game developers and casinos) use to refer to the small group of people who spend the most on a game by a large margin. Most people don’t spend anything on a game, but a very small percentage will potentially spend hundreds of dollars. These players increase that ARPPU, and they are important to the free-to-play ecosystem – although their importance has diminished as developers have learned how to get more money from other players as well.

Let’s use it in a sentence

“High whales in this game have spent over $ 500 on upgrades for their character.


Staying on the theme of aquatic animals, dolphins are the middle spenders. These are gamers who spend maybe $ 10 a month on a game when they get their paycheck. They are also of increasing importance as mobile games improve and more and more people are willing to spend the money.

Let’s use it in a sentence

“We have added several new items to our store to better serve our dolphins. “


I bet game developers love to use the “lots of fish in the sea” metaphor. Minnows are the lowest rung of players who still spend money. They only put about $ 1 into a game, and that’s it.

Let’s use it in a sentence

“We don’t want to ignore our minnows, so we’re running a sale for the items that a lot of the big spenders already have.


I guess we’re out of fish. Freeloaders are the vast majority of gamers who spend nothing on free games. Developers often put a lot of effort into trying to turn these players into paying customers.

Let’s use it in a sentence

“We have added new video ads to make more money with our the biters. “

Conversion rate

Conversion rate is a number that typically measures two things in mobile games. First, it tracks the percentage of people who see a player acquisition ad who download and play the game. Second, it measures the ratio of profiteers who end up spending money.

Let’s use it in a sentence

“Our conversion rate on our Facebook ads almost doubled after we started running our TV campaign featuring this swimsuit model.”


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