Making the right investments with a 50+ game portfolio

Games2win is a publisher that has put India on the map of being at the forefront of casual game development. As a global top publisher today, they have a portfolio of over 50+ casual games where 90% of the 320 million downloads are acquired organically, and until recently made all their money based on in-app ads only. In the past two years, they’ve increased the share of their revenue from IAP. Today the split between Ads vs IAP is around 85% and 15%.

We had the honor to talk to Tejas Shah, Head of Revenue & Distribution at Games2win where he shares insights into some of the key factors to their success and how they prioritize their investments. 

What makes Games2win’s most popular casual titles such a success? 

I think what has worked for us is our focus on the driving, dress-up & story genres. Since the time we have started on mobile, we have built up a suite of games that appeal to a large audience. This combined with our drive to keep making each iteration better has helped us sustain and increase our footprint with better products.

For example, one of the things that have largely worked for us is that we’ve tried to keep all of our games open to everyone and not restrict users in the game by making them pay real money to enjoy the game. This obviously has led to a lot of consumers liking and playing our games as they have had the opportunity to progress easily.

What is your strategy on ad placements?  

Ad placements are very subjective and will work differently for each game. But we follow a couple of principles to help increase engagement and keep things streamlined.

  • For interstitial placement, it should be something that the user can be trained to expect to see after a time. This helps in lowering the risk of users getting agitated due to sudden interstitials.
  • For a rewarded ad it should be something that drives a lot of value to the user. As an example, giving the user the chance to unlock an asset in return for watching video ads vs paying coins that need to be acquired by paying money. This leads to users being happier and letting them move ahead in the game. 

What key trends in monetization for casual games are you most excited about?

The industry has come a long way from when we all started learning the ropes on mobile and this is just the beginning. 🙂 

Some key trends that I feel will happen:

  • More and more casual and mid-core gaming developers will start adopting ad monetization based approach for their games to try and retain users for a longer amount of time (especially those who they feel are going to churn out anyways to help them get that extra mile)
  • Ad monetization will move towards in-app bidding with the industry having 3-4 large mediation services and other networks being present in these solutions. 

What have been the key initiatives to help you drive so many organic installs to your apps? 

We are an organically built company with more than 90% of the 320 million downloads that we have been acquiring organically. 

I believe some of the things that helped us are:

  • Our online footprint helped us drive brand recognition. Games2win was among the top online casual gaming networks globally.
  • Our early mobile adoption helped us get on the bandwagon faster. We saw our first success in Jun 2012 with Parking Frenzy which became the no. 1 game in the iTunes US Store at that time.
  • Consistently focusing on a certain genre to get that cracked and then moving on to tackle a new one. We have a large number of games now in Driving & Dress Up which are consistently ranked high in their respective categories on the store.

UA is still very nascent for us as a company and we hope cracking it will help us scale up further. It is something that we have just started looking into seriously and are working hard to get things to succeed on that front as well. 

With 50+ apps in Games2win’s portfolio, what’s your decision process around which apps to invest in more versus others? 

That is a great question. We look at a couple of metrics to decide which games we should focus on, in each of the below metrics, the higher the number the better. 🙂

  • Downloads
  • DAUs
  • DAU/Download (it is a good indication of engagement per new user over a prolonged period)
  • Daily Revenue
  • ARPDAU
  • Rev/DL (It is a good indication of approximate LTV per user over a prolonged period)

What is important in deciding the right ad network to partner with?

We have tried to make the process simple by iterating and learning from mistakes. Below are some points that we keep in mind:

  • How many of the top gaming companies are working with the new partner?
  • How long has the partner been in the industry?
  • Do they pay on time?
  • How good is their account management team?

I have noticed that partners who work out well are the ones who check all the above questions. 

How long have you been working with Chartboost and how has that partnership with Chartboost developed over the years since our start?  

We’ve been working with Chartboost for almost 4-5 years now if I am not wrong and we’ve seen the partnership grow further in the last year as we’ve grown further in our own offerings.

We’ve loved the fact that the Chartboost team has always stayed in touch and been relevant all the time which has helped the partnership grow further with the new tweaks that Chartboost has brought in their system to help developers.

What is your top 3 advice to developers on building successful games?

Well the one piece of advice I keep giving everyone is “Just Launch”, I have seen too many people fall into the trap of trying to make the perfect game in order to be the best. It never happens, there is no perfect game to be delivered as the consumer will always want something which you do not have to offer.

Secondly, keep tracking your game engagement data such as how many users are playing your game, how many times are they watching ads, levels cleared, time spent, etc. These are important metrics to help improve monetization in the game.

Lastly, keep a track of your ad monetization metrics. The most important metric of all is “AD ARPDAU” which is essentially the amount of revenue you make per user from Ads. This will help you realize an optimum waterfall which might be a balance between eCPM, Fill Rate & Latency.

 

Thank you, Tejas Shah from Games2win, for sharing your insights and learnings! Also read our previous Q&A blog post with Fingersoft, the developer of Hill Climb Racing!