Ad tech firm Synative has for a while now provided developers in Asia with a cloud-based gaming tech that allows users to try out a game without downloading it.
More broadly known as a playable ad in the mobile space, Synative’s playable streaming engine doesn't need an SDK or other special integration.
The key feature however isn’t just the fact that developers can create playable ads, but these game trials can be shared with users across devices such as iOS, Android and PC.
Synative says that while the content is streamed from the cloud, effectively streaming a video, as long as the user has a decent wi-fi or 4G connection they will see no latency and enjoy something akin to a native experience.
With user acquisition costs on the rise and increased competition - there are hundreds of games published every day across the globe on mobile - Synative thinks its solution offers a new weapon in the armoury for devs looking to find users and stand out.
And it thinks it can help developers the world over, which is why it’s expanding its operations in the West.
“The new way to acquire users is interactive,” says Synative founder Ken Liu, adding that he thinks other methods such as rewarded ads are now already becoming old fashioned.
“Developers can make everything playable and make it interactive for the users, so they can not only watch the video but can also try the game. That's why we provide our Synative technology, which converts any of your native games to playable video, which means any games can be played on web browser by using a shortlink that lets you try a game before committing to a download.”
Liu adds that he believes playable ads can generate higher click-through and conversion rates than more passive ads, as once the user engages with the game there’s a better chance they’ll download if they enjoy it. With a passive ad, the friction of a download step might put potential players off.
He says one of the features that makes its own playable ads solution unique is the social sharing tools. When users play these game trials on its server, they can chat to other players, as well as the developer.
But developers can’t just churn out any old playable ad.
“One of the key factors to creating a successful playable ads is that you need to understand what the best part of your game is,” explains Liu.
“You should grab the best part of your game and convert it to an attractive playable ad. We have an editor that lets you extract a certain part of your game and make it playable. So for the user, there's no need to wait, they can just enter into the best part of the game and try the content.”
Synative’s streaming technology is only one facet of its toolset, though. Other features include heatmapping and analytics to track user behaviour of both playable ads, the full game itself. Liu says this can also prove useful for proving a gameplay idea in the wild.
“When you have an idea about your game or you want to prove a concept, you don't need to finish the whole game,” he explains. “You can finish the part of the stage, add it to our platform and send the link to the user.
“So we will help developers collect user behaviour, how they play games, and which buttons or which part of the game they touch or swipe to move objects. We can turn this into a replay video on the backend, so the game producer can analyse the video.
“We can also abstract the heatmap of user interactions to give to the producers to better understand user behaviour.”
For newcomers Synative’s playable streaming platform is available on a free trial to test out. After that, the licence starts from $99 a month.
As Synative expands into the West, particularly the North American market - indeed it had its own booth at the recent GDC in San Francisco in March - it’s also looking for feedback from local developers on its suite of tools and ad options.
“We're just entering the market and we have very good technology and solutions,” says Liu. “We want to see what the needs of US developers are, and we're willing to put in more effort to fulfil these needs.”
For more details and to request a demo, visit the Synative website.
Synative will be at Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco on May 14th to 15th. Co-founder Cynthia Du will also give a talk entitled ‘Cloud-based Gaming 101, in which she will discuss cloud-based instant games and its solution based on Facebook Messenger traffic for HTML5 games, as well as highlighting the potential monetisation opportunities that exist for indie developers.