CASE STUDY: Covet Fashion
Creating a game for a non-gaming audience
Covet Fashion is a cooperative mobile game where you dress up in the latest designer fashions – enter contests that showcase your personal style – and buy those clothes in real life. Released in 2013, Covet Fashion is a breakthrough hit with over 3 million players and a healthy revenue stream.
In the Beginning
Back in 2012, social gaming startup Crowdstar had an exciting, innovative idea for a mobile game based on real-world fashion trends. The team wanted to build something that would reach beyond their core gamer audience — into the non-gaming, Vogue-reading fashionista world.
An innovative game for a non-gaming audience
To appeal to this more mainstream audience, the Crowdstar team wanted to bake co-op mechanics into their core gameplay — but weren’t sure how to shape & filter their ideas. They needed to create, test & validate this innovative game idea quickly — so they came to Shufflebrain for design acceleration and co-op gaming expertise.
How We Helped
We helped the Covet Fashion design and test their early game ideas with aspirational fashionistas – and use those customer insights to accelerate development and quickly create a stripped-down Alpha test of the game.
Setup & run small, focused experiments
To validate Crowdstar’s game idea and accelerate their design process, we setup and ran a series of small, high-learning experiments. To keep our experiments focused and effective, we used the MVP Canvas to clarify our strategy, screen early customers, and outline our key design & monetization constraints.
Find & delight aspirational early customers
We knew we needed to find the right people and test this exciting, risky idea before the studio would green-light full-on game development and production. So we quickly built and refined a multi-stage Early Customer Funnel to find and learn from our target aspirational customers: passionate, non-gaming fashionistas.
Distill their habits & needs
We screened and interviewed dozens of fashionistas – both gamers and non-gamers – and identified a handful of early customers who could give us targeted, vetted feedback on their likes, dislikes, & daily habits. From these discussions, we surfaced three common social habits (described below) that related to our game ideas. These early insights were instrumental in focusing our efforts and helping us decide what to include – and NOT include – in our stripped-down Alpha build of the game.
Shape ideas with lightweight weekly play-tests
We tested our ideas weekly, starting with sketches and mockups – and transitioning to simple prototypes when those were ready. For some team members (myself included) these tests came uncomfortably early in the design cycle — and sometimes the feedback was brutal.
The results, however, were worth it. Rapid weekly iteration with early customers dramatically accelerated our design process, and let us hit our deadlines and create a game that engaged our aspirational audience.
Piggyback on existing habits & needs
The Covet Fashion team had a secret design weapon: early, vetted insights from non-gaming fashionistas During early research, we uncovered three social habits – and built the game around these customer insights. This helped us create a game that delighted and hooked fashionistas.
After a long day at work, I like to kick off my heels, flop on the couch, and dive into a world of gorgeous clothes & up-to-date fashion trends.
After a long day at work, the Fashion Browser likes to flop on the couch, kick off her heels, and escape into the beautiful, aspirational world of Vogue. She considers herself fashion-forward. and loves to stay up-to-date on the latest designer trends.
My friend told me to put these shoes and belt with this outfit – I would NEVER think of that. I wish she could accessorize me all the time.
The Co-Creator likes to shop, dress and talk fashion with a special buddy – a close friend or family member who understands her taste. Co-creators want 1:1 engagement and shared resources – they like to raid each others’ closets and collaborate on outfits.
I love to tell other people how to dress – before every party, my friends get the run-down — and they love it. I swear, I could be a stylist…
If you tell your friends how to dress better, you might be an Armchair Stylist – someone who wants to make the world a more stylish place. She has an eye for outfits, and loves to help her friends create the perfect ensemble for important events.
Results: a breakthrough hit with millions of players
Today, Covet Fashion is a highly profitable evergreen hit with over 3 million monthly players creating and sharing outfits made with real designer clothes.
By connecting with the right early customers, the Covet Fashion team quickly refine their product assumptions, uncovered key social habits and unmet needs — and created a game that delighted and hooked their aspirational audience.
And it all started with 6 months of progress in 6 weeks.