BoomHits is a brand new hypercasual publishing label from BoomBit, the company behind games including Make it Fly, Idle Inventor: Factory Tycoon and Hunt Royale.
To celebrate the launch and to help find new and innovative ideas in the hypercasual market, BoomHits has launched a game development competition with what it claims is the biggest prize fund in hypercasual history, with a total of $2 million up for grabs.
In such a competitive and rapidly-evolving marketplace, how will BoomHits stand out? PocketGamer.biz spoke to company CEO Jon Hook, about the company's approach to the hypercasual market, the way it works with developers and what we can expect to see from the label in the near future.
PocketGamer.biz: First of all, tell us about BoomHits.
Jon Hook: Hypercasual games are maturing rapidly. It's really exciting. There are more and more developers and indeed publishers moving into the hypercasual space.
Hypercasual gaming is now influencing other game genres such as merge and idle. So we started thinking about what BoomBit could bring to hypercasual and free-to-play (F2P) games.
When we look at our history, BoomBit has a rich heritage in the free-to-play games. Our first global hit Dancing Line, was published by Cheetah Mobile back in 2016, before 'hypercasual' existed as a label for these types of games.
To date the game has been downloaded over 120 million times. We have also assembled a very experienced development, design and user acquisition (UA) team which has created and published hit games across all genres, including idle, merge, casual, midcore and more recently titles for the Nintendo Switch.
After our initial public offering (IPO), we started experimenting with hypercasual games again, asking: what if we could create hypercasual games that were generating revenue/profit for 12-18months?
Could we also challenge the status quo that hypercasual games have to be purely ad-based?
Could we bring our art expertise from casual games into hypercasual to make more visually attractive games, that in turn deliver stronger lifetime value (LTV)? Could we also challenge the status quo that hypercasual games have to be purely ad-based, and see if we could achieve 10-15 per cent or more through in-app purchases (IAP)?
We set up a small team within BoomBit to start working with select external studios to see what we could achieve.
Fast forward to today. BoomBit has enjoyed global success with Ramp Car Jumping, Slingshot Stunt Driver & Sport that have both achieved 25 million downloads. More recently Make It Fly! published in partnership with TapNice, as a BoomBit Group joint venture, has been downloaded 10 Million times.
Then in April 2021 we broke cover with our latest hit game, Shoe Race, published with our partner Cappuccino LLC. This was BoomHits’ breakout game, hitting number one in free games for iOS in the USA and 10 other countries, as well as reaching the top 10 free games in 43 countries around the world.
Thanks to Covid, all of this was achieved by a team who have never met each other, spread across eight countries, speaking more than 10 languages and only three months after BoomHits was founded.
So now BoomHits is officially launched to the gaming community.
Tell us a little about the team behind BoomHits.
With hypercasual game development maturing and spawning into new genres and rewiring genres like idle and merge, we realised assembling a team of people to set up and run click-through rates (CTR) and cost per install (CPI) tests simply wouldn't work. We needed to build a team with more diverse skillsets and backgrounds.
Our team has experience across a wide range of free-to-play games genres and have together worked on multiple hit games from the likes of Coda, CrazyLabs, Gismart, GameGuru, Homa Games, MagicLabs, NetMarble and Zplay, which have amassed over one billion downloads
We have experts across publishing, user interface/experience (UI/UX), game design, monetisation, user acquisition (UA), creative, business intelligence (BI), quality assurance (QA), LiveOps, art and game development spread across Belarus, France, Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Turkey, Ukraine and the UK.
It's a testament to what we have achieved in such a short space of time that we are continuing to attract top talent from the industry to join our studios on this journey.
At BoomHits our goal is to take a developer-centric approach
How does BoomHits plan to stand out in the rapidly evolving global games market?
We believe that many studios are having to change the way they work in order to fit into publishers’ processes, tools and business models. At BoomHits our goal is to take a developer-centric approach and build our business around the developer/studio.
What do we mean by that?
Talking to games developers, there were several recurring themes about what they really wanted in a publishing partner:
- Transparency. As well as click-through rate (CTR), cost per install (CPI) and day one (D1) retention data from their games, developers want access to monetisation data and more specifically average revenue per users (ARPU) and profit. Many feel very much in the dark in terms of how much profit their games had earned versus just chart position or game revenue.
- An experienced team that responds quickly and shares ideas/insights, versus a dashboard to process tests
- Investment - outside of publishing deals, a partner to help scale their development team and support for self-publishing
So BoomHits decided to bring a new approach to hypercasual partnerships and investment models - it's not about having the BoomBit or BoomHits name on each studio or Hub.
For example, our joint venture model is built around building value in the studios. We are publishing games under their accounts, building the studio's brand with the goal of achieving an initial public offering (IPO) and/or further equity investment.
Of course, this is not going to be a model for every studio. The existing hypercasual business model serves a great purpose and indeed lifeline for many studios. Our goal is to partner with developers who share the same vision as us and help them build the leading mobile games studios in their country/region. We also want to help them use our team, tools and technology to enable them to make a wide range of free-to-play (F2P) mobile games, not just hypercasual titles.
On that note, we look forward to introducing a couple of our latest joint ventures to you in the very near future - but it won't come from our side. It'll be from the CEOs of these new games studios as they establish their own presence in the market.
Who is BoomHits aiming to work with?
For our boutique approach to publishing, we've built our business model around quality, not quantity. We always start working with studios on a few games to get to know each other, with a view to progressing to an exclusive relationship, if it makes sense.
We've built our business model around quality, not quantity.
We are always happy to work with the studio's ideas, but our publishing and game design teams can provide our partners with game ideas mapped to current trends. So really what we are looking for in that initial phase is speed and quality of execution. Most importantly we're also looking for openness to building a very strong relationship and collaboration with the BoomHits team.
We are currently working with a handful of carefully selected partners from all over the world who are out to build their studios and want to make profitable games.
As strange as it may sound, not everyone has the goal of making 'profitable games'. It depends on your business model. If you are pre-exit, your goal may be market share, chart position, or generating revenue to raise funds.
At BoomHits we enjoy seeing our games at the top of the charts, but not if it means spending ours or our partner's profits to achieve it. Our aim is to publish games where we see a nice balance of cost per install (CPI) and average revenue per user (ARPU) that enables us to scale and make profit.
For example, BoomHits would publish a game that makes $250,000 or $500,000 profit, whereas some other publishers might kill the same game, despite the profit, because it doesn't meet their CPI of retention metrics.
Some of our partner studios have already published games, but are now looking to break free of the traditional publishing model and have chosen BoomHits to start a joint venture with, as they move towards self-publishing.
Other studios are working towards their first hit with us, and have chosen BoomHits to help them achieve this.
Tell us about the hypercasual game competition?
To be honest we just felt a little left out with all the competitions going on in hypercasual!
Joking aside, now BoomHits has broken cover, we wanted to show the market how serious we are about empowering hypercasual game developers and studios. We also want to share our knowledge and help create new types and styles of hypercasual games.
We're delighted – and grateful – to announce that some of the leaders in the hypercasual games arena, including Luna Labs, MoPub and Snap have all joined with us to put together the biggest ever hypercasual competition prize fund of $2 million. Yes $2 million - that's not a typo.
There are three top prizes of $250,000 each, four second prizes of $200,000 each and three third prizes of $150,000 each. There will also be several other top prizes from our partners.
The competition starts today: June 22nd. It will run for six weeks, closing on August 3rd.
To be honest we just felt a little left out with all the competitions going on in hypercasual!
Who's eligible? How do companies get involved in the competition?
Any developer or studio can submit a game - whether it's your first attempt or if you have already published other hypercasual games.
The competition is open worldwide. We have a team speaking more than 10 languages who will be behind the scenes, ready to welcome all our participants and share our knowledge with you.
There are no restrictions on the type of hypercasual game - whether you have brilliant ideas for an arcade game, puzzle game, runner or something even more innovative, like a hybrid casual or hyper idle game that you are ready to test...
We are ready and waiting!
To enter please visit our website, where you can see further details, full T&Cs and of course submit your game!
And also join our community on Discord to chat live with your team and watch out for regular content dropping from ourselves, Luna Labs, MoPub and Snap.