After claiming 2nd place with Shop Heroes in our Big Indie Pitch at MIGS 2015, Cloudcade was keen to tell us about its plans to localise the game for Turkey.
The firm, San Francisco-headquartered but with the bulk of development based out of Montreal suburb Saint Lambert, launched Shop Heroes in September 2015.
Cloudcade had been focusing on creating a truly global experience since April, when it geared up for a multi-language launch by including English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Russian and Portuguese languages.
This investment in localisation, according to COO Johan Eile, "was the best UA we could ask for in September."
However, post-launch player stats have shown the game gaining traction in areas not specifically catered for by the existing slate of languages - Turkey, in particular - which has inspired further and more widespread localisation to increase engagement in those regions.
We caught up with Eile to learn more about the specifics of Cloudcade's global strategy.
PocketGamer.biz: To what do you attribute the traction Shop Heroes has had in Turkey? What other unexpected geographical player trends have you noted?
Johan Eile: Our real-time trading house has been a major contributor to our early success in a lot of countries.
We see a lot of players in perhaps less traditional markets really getting into trading for items that they need to advance in the game.
It is also a social feature that crosses cultures and countries in its very essences - we all love to trade. This is obviously another great way to gain premium currency in the game as well.
We are still learning a lot about our players from different regions and how they play the game and I am sure we will discover some really cool player behavior as we dig deeper into new regions.
Do you feel that the sizable Turkish market is a missed opportunity for developers?
Yes, absolutely. Turkey is a top 20 mobile game market. I think most indies do not bother as it means another language (and many cultures) to support and pay attention to.
We have partnered up with Keywords to be able to scale up our live operations and support pretty much any new market.
We are really excited to learn more about the market and how we can make sure the players enjoy the experience.
It is interesting, we rarely hear about small western European or North American based studios doing much in the region so that is clearly an opportunity for us. But all the big guys are there, which is good validation, and it is really cool to see local guys like Peak Games do well.
Have you spoken to your Turkish player base about specific changes they'd like to see?
Our community manager and some of our developers are very active in communicating with our players. We try to keep a good dialogue with them and good ideas are brought forward constantly.
Making a game accessible from the start ensures that it also travels well.Johan Eile
It was essentially our players that asked for the game to be available in Turkish and we continue to get good feedback from them.
The challenge sometimes with player feedback is how to take good ideas and make them into good game design.
I think part of the focus on making the game accessible from the start ensures that it also travels well in a lot of countries so we use a translated version as a beachhead and then we plan to go further.
Geo-specific content is part of our 2016 road map, and we have received many awesome ideas.
What makes Turkey a unique/enticing proposition for you?
At PG Connects London in January, a big topic is the "Appocalypse". In this context, adding another country is a very enticing proposition for us.
We are still learning a lot and the team is improving the game every day so with a really crowded market place, anything you can do to stick out in a good way should be considered.
We have a great balance between engineering and art so with a game that scales well, finding pockets of players in new geos can sometimes be a much better option then spend a ton of money on UA in established markets.
We are very much aware that we need to drive both downloads and revenue so even if conversion to paying goes down slightly, we are still really excited to see people enjoy the game.
Is your move "off the beaten track" symptomatic of a game that's struggled to find its audience elsewhere?
Quite the opposite - the game is performing really well in North America and Western Europe.
We are gearing up for a more aggressive marketing campaign but learning how to run a game profitably needs to be a key focus before one starts spending big money on marketing.
Our primary publishing vehicle is the ability to quickly develop for new platforms and new markets and we learn a lot in that process.
So, when we do turn on the jets we are not only doing it in the US on one or two platforms but we can target new players globally, and across devices.
We think this will be a huge advantage compared to someone who is just focusing on, for example, mobile in North America.
As gaining traction in the western market becomes increasingly tough, what other less considered territories would you consider moving into?
Finding pockets of engaged players is a challenge today for sure. I mean, this is a really good time if you like to play games, so many great game to chose from.
Western markets still dominate in terms of revenues but with the technology gap getting smaller, we are starting to see really cool player bases in places like Vietnam and Thailand for example.
In a way, these less developed countries are forcing us to build our games smarter as bandwidth and processing power is still limited.
I think the cat is already out of the bag on this one but we are really excited about Singapore, and I can't wait for India to really take off as well.