When a game gets pitched to a publisher, there are a variety of attributes that the company will look for. While some firms may vary, the majority would agree on the fundamentals that make for an attractive pitch.
Kwalee head of publishing Simon Prytherch explained how the company found success as a publisher, and what lessons it had learned through Rocket Sky! And OverTake at Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #2.
"Rocket Sky Was our first major signing and our first big success," said Prytherch.
The game was developed by DP Space AG and was launched in the Summer of 2019
The compelling and straightforward gameplay was a key part in the success of the pitch; it also boasted polished content and plenty of it. Furthermore, it boasted a retention of 60 per cent, but the cost per install was considerably high.
Once accepted, Kwalee performed various tests on the game, including visuals, animations and a variety of ads. On top of this, it created advanced analytics, auto-bidding, header bidding, game settings, mediation and AB testing. Ultimately, the efforts cut the CPI cost in half.
The changes have resulted in more than 25 million downloads since launch, as well as topping the chart in 11 countries as the top free app.
"This game was probably the first truly hypercasual car game we had seen," said Prytherch
The game was released in February 2020, and "during that first month, we had over two million downloads." It was launched within two weeks of the publishing deal being signed and went to the top of the charts upon release.
It had a low CPI of the bat, which was an attractive detail to Kwalee. The core mechanic proved to be simple and satisfying, and Overtake also translated well into ads which is a core part of hypercasual titles.
It took the top spot in the UK, Australia and more, and was also the No.1 title in the racing game category across 33 countries.
"When we start working with a developer we will work closely with them in terms of prototypes from an early stage and encourage developers to send us videos," Prytherch.
When it came to Rocket Sky and OverTake, Kwalee and the developers shared similar methodologies and believed in testing ideas on the players. On top of this, "Both devs are mature."
Also, communication and trust between developers and the publisher helped to produce the chart-topping games.
"We are not looking for perfection," said Prytherch
Publishers do not seek perfection; rather, the company was seeking potential, which is what ultimately grabbed their attention. On top of this, Kwalee realised both games could be evolved in a variety of ways with great core gameplay mechanics.
The final lesson that Kwalee has learned is to "evolve over time."
PG Connects Digital #2 is the best of our Pocket Gamer Connects conference in an online form, with an entire week of talks, meetings, and pitch events taking place from June 8th to the 12th. You can read up on all the tracks taking place through the week here.