Rovio’s publishing program Rovio Stars still exists, but the company is being very fussy about which games it chooses to back.
The company’s thirdparty publishing initiative’s last game was Fathom Interactive’s endless racing title Sky Punks in April 2015.
Since then there has been little news on the program.
Speaking at the White Nights 2016 conference in St. Petersburg, Russia, Rovio director of business development Matthew Wilson said the company is still very much looking for partners.
But it needs to see strong metrics.
Data is king
Wilson explained that Rovio decides which games to support based on soft launch data.
He claimed that Rovio knows every game in soft launch, and pulls in revenue and download estimates for each title, as well as the typical CPI for that genre.
With such a focus on data, Rovio has changed tack on how it finds games to publish. It seems it’s now more likely to come to you.
“Once we find games we think could resonate with our user base we make contact with the developer to see if they are interested in a publishing partner and validate their data,” he said.
He added: “We no longer go to conferences for titles, it’s about data from your soft launch.
“We can only pick up a small amount of titles that have the best LTVs. Once we find a game we think will resonate best with our user base we make contact with the developers and see if they’re interested in publishing partners.
"Then we’ll start doing due diligence on their data.”
Rovio has high demands for any title it works with. Expected minimum retention metrics it expects from a puzzle game, for example, are:
- Day 1: 40 percent
- Day 7: 20 percent
- Day 30: 10 percent
“If you can’t get these, then we can’t make business out of your game and it just wouldn’t make sense for you or for us to publish,” he said.
If a game doesn’t have great metrics then it doesn’t make sense for Rovio to send users to that title.Matthew Wilson
“We’re trying to find things with great metrics, and if doesn’t have great metrics then it doesn’t make sense for Rovio to send users to that title.
"Nothing’s worse than sending users to a title with poor retention where the bucket has a hole in it. Then we lose not only the users from that game, but also the users from the Rovio Network.
“So we haven’t signed anything in a while. We're still looking for games, but it has to be the right one that we know we can make two, three, four years’ solid business out of it.”
Wilson added that while he feels the company hasn’t missed much in terms of successes in the market, it’s difficult to find enough of them.
“The saddest part is, there should be a lot of great content out there,” he said.
“But developers need to get better at focusing on good solid retention, monetisation and optimising soft-launch, not putting out half-finished free-to-play games."