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Casual Connect Panel Recap: Monetizing for Developers

by Mark Rosner on Feb 4, 2015

Today, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at Casual Connect Amsterdam. It was a great talk with some of the sharpest minds in the industry.

The full title of the panel was Monetization for Developers: Understanding Your Audience and Creating a Business Model That Works, and the panelists were James Gibson, Gamesys; Noam Kagan, Deemedya; and Rustam Bekmuradov, Ximad.

To kickoff, I asked the panelists about their most admired title today that game developers can look to in terms of building a successful business. Noam remarked that for him, it’s Boom Beach. He likes the monetization model that they have in terms of social proof. Players feel compelled to spend to keep up with their group. James’ favorite example is myVegas, he is impressed with their real world tie-in and thinks this is a game-changer in terms of how the industry has reacted.

We started drilling in to what makes a successful game: the game itself, the UA, or the monetization? The consensus was that the game is certainly the most important aspect, but if you don’t have a strategy around UA and monetization from the outset, that will be a problem for most developers. Everyone on the panel said they incessantly test and use their learnings from prior titles on their new ones. This is especially true for Ximad and Deemedya who both launch lots of titles. In terms of UA sources, the panelists said Facebook and AppLovin were the two with the highest quality and most volume (our ears were burning brightly when this was brought up). James from Gamesys and Rustam from Ximad noted that video is especially successful in this regard.

For monetization, there’s been a trend towards using rewarded video, but it’s not great in all cases since it needs to be tested on how it impacts in app purchases. This means user testing, cohort analysis, and different offers depending on different stages of a game. James gave the example of a player who never bought anything, yet after a week, he may get a really great offer–better than they would have otherwise, just to convert them into a payer.

We then moved on to examining the opportunities for indie devs. The consensus was that it’s tough out there and it’s generally hit or miss. Rustam thought the Adventure was an interesting sleeper category.

Noam advised indie devs to build a great game,  then work with a publisher who can get you featured, handle your UA and monetization, and knows where all the bugs usually are on a launch. This can help you avoid years of mistakes. If your game is good, you won’t have a problem finding a publisher.

The panel was a great one, with a full room of Casual Connect attendees. If you are at the show and would like to meet, hit me up on twitter.

Mark Rosner is AppLovin’s Chief Revenue Officer.

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