Interview

Swrve CEO Hugh Reynolds on how its real-time personalisation tech will redefine the relationship between game makers and players

One size does not fit all

Swrve CEO Hugh Reynolds on how its real-time personalisation tech will redefine the relationship between game makers and players
Having founded and sold two successful companies - physics engine outfit Havok and scripting tool provider Kore - Hugh Reynolds and Steve Collins have returned to the game market with their most ambitious start up to-date.

Swrve offers online and mobile developers cloud-based services that will enable them to personalise games and gaming experiences for different audience types in real-time, providing much more control in terms of retention and monetisation.

Or as the company markets itself - 'We believe this is going to totally redefine the relationship between game maker and game player'.

We caught up with Reynolds to find out more about what Swrve offers now and how it changes the design process.

Pocket Gamer: What services does Swrve offer developers?

Hugh Reynolds: In a nutshell, Swrve's cloud-based feedback loop lets developers understand, target and tune their games in real-time to provide a better user experience.

Swrve's real-time personalisation enables developers to continually test and modify the game, maximising engagement across an unlimited range of players.

Why do you think this is so important?

As we see it, content must be personalised to address the interests and needs of users (it's what the users expect), and while data and analysis can help, it's useless if there's no action involved.

Instead of making one-size-fits-all games, Swrve was created to redefine the relationship between game maker and game player, and tailoring games for specific sub-segments of users to maximise on engagement.

Do you think Swrve's ability to offer targeted personalisation lessens the importance of core game design?

On the contrary, Swrve lets developers focus more on the important factors like design and development and much less on marketing, merchandising and analysis work.

Swrve can be a developer's marketing, merchandising and analysis teams all in one - saving them time and money and helping them create a good product.

Is Swrve fundamentally about maximising monetisation?

Swrve is about allowing developers to create the best game possible, for their business and for their users, which will ultimately lead to monetisation.

How easy is it for developer to use Swrve, especially in terms of already released games?

Swrve can be easily integrated into existing games, but we also work with developers from scratch.

We handle integration in a phase process; our assigned and dedicated engineers work closely with developers directly and go on site as needed.

Does Swrve destroy the universality of games, hence impacting persistent data such as leaderboard and achievements?

Changes and variants made by developers are all sensitive to the context of each game. We rely on both players and developers to know the difference between an unfair advantage versus leveling the playing field to let everyone participate and enjoy the game.

For instance, in a foot race, do different shoes impact who comes first?

Are you finding that your beta partners are using Swrve in a different way to that you expected?

Yes. We are always amazed at what developers use us for, and that's part of the excitement of working in the space where creative people do incredible things when they are given powerful tools. You can never predict what they will do.

What's your business model?

Our business model is based on a fairly simple and accessible Daily Active User model. We have three tiers and within each tier we offer a couple of different levels of swrviness. The different levels control how long you can look back in time, how many funnels, segments and so on that you can have at one time.

Our working model is a free 90 day trial, then $1,000 monthly fee, with incremental cost for more DAUs and more functionality, plus you can pay for dedicated stack or superior support.

When do you expect Swrve to be more widely available?

We recently increased availability for developers but are continuing to work on increasing the product's stability and improving the way results are provided to developers so they are more auditable and transparent.

What future features are you looking to support?

As a product-centric company, we are constantly pushing out new features. We really feel like we're just getting started, there will be a lot to expect from Swrve in 2012.

Thanks to Hugh for his time.

You can check out what Swrve gets up to via its website, or hear an explanation of its business model in the following video. 




 


Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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