Industry News

Industry News

Machine zone logo 2 swords and shield with MZ on top

In a recent news release, Machine Zone, developer of Game of War and Mobile Strike announced that they are rebranding as MZ and will launch a cloud platform to allow other game developer to leverage the infrastructure they have built to support their massive scale.

My analysis is that the cloud platform move is a mistake. Here are 3 reasons:

Content is King and Middleware is the Peasent

When we started SOOMLA, one of the gaming gurus I consulted with advised me: “In Gaming, content is king, there are no successful Middleware companies”. This was 100% true 4 years ago and it is 99% true today with one exception – Unity. As a startup company you are in a position to bet your life and believe you will succeed where others failed before. An established company however, with an ability to create content hits should avoid such risky moves.

NIH is Strong in Gaming

If anyone should know this it’s MZ. About 90% of the revenue in the mobile gaming space is now concentrated in the top 50 companies. Almost all these companies suffer from NIH mentality. NIH stands for Not Invented Here and is mostly refering to companies with a strong bias against outsourcing. The game backend is considered core by most companies so the chances of outsourcing is low.

Game Publishers Protect Their Data

For MZ to be successful with their B2B business, other game publishers will have to trust them with their data. I know very few companies who are willing to share their data with 3rd parties. Even fewer will be willing to share their data with their competitor. The only companies who might be comfortable with their data being at the hands of MZ are the small companies and they typically don’t have the money to pay.

The fact is that many companies try to provide cloud services to game developers and none of them was successful in building a significant business. No reason to believe MZ found the secret sauce here.

 

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Industry News

Zynga ship is landing in tel-aviv and looking for Israeli companies to onboard

It was recently published in some of the Israeli tech publications that Zynga intends to buy a studio in Tel-Aviv. Mark Pincus himself was quoted as saying that the gaming giant is interested in tapping in to the local talent. As a local Tel-Aviv resident and a gaming industry insider I decided to make Mark’s life a bit easier and offer a short list of companies Zynga should be looking at.

Luckyfish – social games company

Luckyfish specializes in social casino games such as casual slots games. The team’s background is from gaming company 888.com which was one of the innovators in the online casino space. The company received an investment from Carmel Ventures in 2014 but didn’t require additional investments due to cash flow from the games themselves. Luckyfish is the biggest social casino company in Israel yet to be acquired.

Jelly Button – maker of Pirate Kings

Jelly button started as a studio for super successful Playtika. They have since developed their own successful games and mostly known for their mega hit – Pirate Kings – which combines innovative game play with extremely high levels of virality.

Plarium – the Israeli response to Machine Zone

Plarium was one of the first companies to introduce the hard core genre to Facebook games and have since shifted their focus to mobile games. Their biggest hit is Total Domination but in the mobile space they are known for their medieval themed hard core game – Vikings.

TabTale – counting towards 1 billion downloads

When you go to the TabTale website you can’t ignore the counter showing the total number of downloads. The company has dominated the top free charts in the last few years and has shifted their focus from kids games to other casual genres by leveraging their massive platform for both in-house development as well as publishing partnerships. The company received investments from Magma Venture Partners and Qualcomm Ventures.

Tacticsoft – the hidden gem

This studio is the smallest of the bunch. Tacticsoft started as a maker of PC games and have hit the jackpot with BattleDawn – a hard core world domination game. They have since shifted their focus to mobile and are now in alpha version of their new strategy title. The company has raised angel investments in the past but mostly relied on their game cash flows to fund the new projects.

Hope this list helps Zynga and their post. The local industry would surely benefit if Zynga sets up an office in Tel-Aviv. If you have any thoughts or comments about this list feel free to respond below or tweet me @y_nizan.

 

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Industry Forecasts, Industry News

My Learnings from China Joy

Last week I attended a huge conference in Shanghai called China Joy. It was fascinating and awesome and like everything in China it was really, really big, but I’m not here to talk to you about that.Your Ad Here Icon

One of the things that took me by surprise was that games in China don’t have ads in them. I mean, that’s almost embarrassing to admit. How did I not know such a thing about an industry I live and breath? And…if I missed something like this, what else did I miss about China?

Where are the Mobile Ads?

You might think that Chinese users are less receptive to ads, so game designers choose not to include them in favor of superior user experience. However, the reality is a bit different. It is not the game publishers choice not to include ads, but actually the App Stores in China that object to ads. There are roughly 300 App Stores in China, so users can install apps from multiple stores. This creates quite a competitive atmosphere between the various App Stores, so they do everything in their power to prevent users from downloading games from other stores. They want to own the user exclusively and that can’t be done with the way ads are managed today.

Mobile game advertising in China could be a huge thing. Mobile game advertising is already worth about $5B in thChinese Appstorese US. Think about how big it could be in China. Maybe it would be smaller, but we are looking at a billion dollar opportunity at the very least. In addition, unlike in other parts of the world, the biggest advertising company, Facebook, doesn’t exist. While this could potentially be a huge opportunity for ad networks, there are some pretty big challenges to get there.

What the Future Will Hold

My estimation is that by the end of 2016, there will be ads in mobile games in China. The more innovative ad networks, will find a way to work with the App Stores to offer ads inside games while respecting the needs of such App Stores. One way this could happen is via white labeling. Basically, the stores will take the part of the ad network by leveraging advertising technology from ad-networks outside of China. For the App Stores it seems like the best move. They will make additional revenue while keeping their game publishers happy. However, there is one problem, ad networks tend to be better when they are bigger. There are advantages to scale for both sides of the network. For advertisers, bigger networks means they have to deal with less interfaces and get more reach for their ads. For publishers, scale means better fill rates and more ad diversity.

Therefore, I’m anticipating that soon after, the App Stores will grow their own networks. Therefore, three types of services will evolve:

  • DSPs focusing on aggregating all the App Stores into a single interface for advertisers.
  • Network-to-network marketplace between the App Stores.
  • Publisher side dashboards allowing publishers to monitor and manage their ad monetization across different App Stores while still respecting the boundaries.

These are, of course, my opinions and estimations. I’ll be monitoring this market closely to see if I was right. If you have other thoughts about how this market will evolve, feel free to share.

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Industry News

During the last decade, one of the biggest trends in the startup world has been lean startup and the push to release an MVP to the market early. In the gaming space, however, I have seen many companies shy awayLean Startup? from this approach. Obviously, a game success is greatly dependent on the quality of the art work and how lovable the characters are. Well, maybe it’s time to revisit that assumption.

At a recent event I attended, MGF Asia in Hong Kong, I sat-in on two sessions that discussed a very similar concept. Can a studio release an MVP and if so, what does it look like? Roy, the CEO of Forgame, argued that you can actually. He asked the crowd, “would candy crush be engaging with squares, rectangles, circles and triangles?” He then rhetorically answered that from their experience you can optimize the core loop without the graphics. He challenged the crowd to think about the production quality of Flappy Bird and had them ask themselves if a game could be enjoyable regardless of the art level. Roy explained that his studio is practicing the concept of a Minimal Playable Product and puts the focus on making the core game loop extremely engaging by iterating with a rather sketchy level of art.

In a subsequent session, Chris Natsume, of Boomzap, explained how investing in art at an early stage can lead you down a bad path.  If you invest in art in the early stages then it can sway your decisions, probably for the worse, to justify your earlier decisions since you’re already heavily invested. “Those littles cute monsters are now sitting on your back and making you less agile.” According to Chris, their approach is to “build dirty and change big” and never be afraid to kill a game if its not good. He explained, “you have to pretend you are the publisher and ask yourself, would I invest the marketing dollars.”

While the video from MGF might not be available for a while, I did come across a lecture on the same topic from Gabby Dizon, CEO of Altitude Games and a past employee of Boomzap. The same concepts are conveyed in this lecture.

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Events, Industry News, Research

e3Gaming and technology conferences are a great place for consumers and enthusiasts to come and get a sneak peak on what’s cooking in the near future. It’s also an instrument for developers and companies alike to showcase the results of hard work and get the much needed media exposure.

Just like everyone else, these technology conferences also live off sponsorship deals, often agreed with various game and software development studios. But just how big are the marketing budgets of such companies? How much are they willing to spend on a conference that promotes not only them, but also everyone else participating, including their competitors?

Getting the big picture

We tried to get a general image on the sponsorship deals, as well as who are the biggest spenders in the gaming and technology industry. We looked not only at some past conferences around the globe, but at future ones too, trying to understand who supports which conference, over a one year period (from late 2014 until late 2015) and to what extent.

As the results started coming in, we found that Unity, AdColony, and StartApp were the biggest spenders.

Unity was the only company with more than $100,000 spent, where both AdColony and StartApp spent more than $60,000 on various conferences. Even though there are events that haven’t disclosed the pricing of sponsorship deals, using only publicly available data, Unity spent a total of $135,000 over a one year period. With five conferences supported, Unity was also the most frequent sponsor, where AppsFlyer, StartApp and AdColony supported four.

Biggest events

The popularity of conferences can also be measured by the number of high paying sponsors willing to participate.

With such statistics, it’s plain to see that Casual Connect’s Amsterdam event (4-6 February 2015) was the biggest conference so far, attracting dozens of companies and having the biggest number of platinum sponsors (seven), out of 20 companies observed. Casual Connect’s San Francisco conference, planned for August 2015, comes as second best, with five companies willing to support the venue with platinum sponsorship deals.

Below is the table of top ten spenders in terms of marketing budget and the number of conferences attended. It’s important to notice that not all events share the prices for sponsorships, which is why these numbers are a (close) estimate.

Company Name Conferences Attended Estimated Minimum Conference Budget
 Unity Logo Unity 5 $132,500
 AdColony_Logo AdColony 4 $62,000
 StartApp_Logo StartApp 4 $60,000
 Admob_Logo AdMob 2 $50,000
 Supersonic_Logo Supersonic Ads 2 $34,000
 Appsflyer_Logo AppsFlyer 4 $33,000
 Tune_Logo TUNE 2 $27,000
 NativeX_Logo NativeX 2 $24,000
 PaymentWall_Logo PaymentWall 2 $22,000
 Mopub_Logo MoPub 2 $22,000

Getting the data

In order to get the bigger picture on the spending in this industry, we had a look at some of the biggest, as well as smaller conferences all around the world. We looked at how many sponsors they had, how the sponsorship tiers have been established, and how much each tier costs.

Most of these events have a pdf price list file with different sponsorship tiers and prices for each tier, available for download at their website. So, for starters, we looked at five Casual Connect events.

Even though every conference has the same pricing method (Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsorship deals), every conference has a different pricing.

The Belgrade event, which took place in November 2014, had a four-tier system: Platinum ($15,000), Gold ($6,000), Silver ($3,500), and Bronze ($2,000). The Amsterdam event was more expensive: Platinum was €20,000, Gold €10,000, Silver €3,500, and Bronze was €2,500.

Next one up will be in Singapore in May, and its prices match Belgrade ($15K, $6K, $3.5K, $2K). The Casual Connect event in San Francisco will take place in August, and in order to become a Platinum sponsor, each company must pay $30,000. Gold is $12,000, Silver is $5,000, and Bronze $3,000.

The Tel Aviv event, planned for fall of 2015, has no data yet.

The PGConnects conference in London, which took place in January 2015, had a three-tier system: Platinum ($40,000), Gold ($16,000), and Silver ($8,000).

The Winter Nights mobile game conference, taking place in February 2015 in St. Petersburg, Russia, is one of the most expensive conferences. It is organised on four tiers: Diamond ($50,000), Platinum ($15,000), Gold (10,000), and Silver ($5,000).

Aside from these conferences, we also analyzed the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco and Cologne, the GlobalMGF (Mobile Games Forum) events in Asia (Hong Kong), and Europe (London), all of which decided not to publicly display the prices of their sponsorship deals.

The Global Mobile Internet Conferences in the Silicon Valley, Bangalore and Beijing had very little or none information about their sponsors on their respective websites, and when reached out to, decided not to reply.

The biggest gaming show, The Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, has a list of sponsors, but no prices.

Crunching the numbers

We looked at a total of ten conferences, spanning from November 2014 to November 2015, and every one of them has tens, some twenty and more sponsors.

We tried not to get lost in the forest of sponsors, so we focused on 20 companies we thought were the most relevant and / or most present in the monetization landscape of the mobile gaming industry.  So we paid special attention to Chartboost, Appsflyer, StartApp, TUNE, AdMob, NativeX, Vungle, RevMob, HeyZap, Flurry, AdColony, Unity, Playhaven, TapJoy, Supersonic Ads, SponsorPay, NextPeer, MoPub, PaymentWall, Inneractive and Fortumo.

Unlike Unity, AdColony and StartApp, which are fairly present in the world of conferences, companies like Inneractive, Playhaven, Flurry, or HeyZap have not been seen as sponsors at any of the examined conferences.  It’s very important to stress that these numbers might not represent the exact budgets of the companies involved, nor the exact prices of different sponsorship deals.  The numbers and data presented here are based on publicly available information and represent non-confirmed, estimation-only budgets.

The source data we collected is available in this Google Spreadsheet.

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In App Purchase Tips, Industry News

Google recently announced that they are considering adding In-App Purchase price ranges to the Play Store. This comes on the heels of Google’s loss in court that forced them to pay $19M in IAP refunds as well as the fire Google and Apple have been receiving for the poor control users have over their IAP payments especially when it comes to children. Apple also faced the same problems and were forced to add more controls and more transparency and today it’s Google’s turn. in app purchase price ranges to be added to google play store

Password requirement and price ranges

Google already made one change earlier this year. They improved the control users have over In-App Purchases by adding more configuration options regarding the password requirement. This week Google also hinted that they are going to display the price range of virtual goods offered in any app in the store.

What developers should know?

One impact of this change on developers is that these moves by Apple and Google potentially increase users’ trust in their stores. Developers that considered alternative stores should check to see where the wind is blowing with regards to store download volumes.
The more important change is how the new change might impact users’ decision to download the game or not. Parents might not allow their kids to download games with IAP items that reach $99 so savvy developers might limit the items in their in game store to $19.99 or $29.99. The change unintentionally gives advantage to games that focus on selling consumables. Even when the biggest item in the store is $9.99, payments can accumulate quickly if the game allows the user to purchase them over and over again. I expect to see more developers adopting a virtual economy model that includes single use items, resources and other consumables such as: lives, shots and fuel.
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Store-Windows-Phone-04Good news for the SOOMLA developer community: Windows Phone is supported by SOOMLA Store.

Windows Phone need is now satisfied

We’ve been hearing a lot of developers asking for Windows Phone integration as part of their attempt to release games to more app stores and we just couldn’t stay indifferent to all the requests. We were looking for ways to get Windows Phone support to the community and it was with a lot of luck that we found Guillaume and Fabrice and the rest of the guys from Shinypix, a great indie studio from France, who were already doing it and agreed to polish it and release it to the SOOMLA community. We LOVE contributors! Thank you guys.

wp-store is actually a pretty big thing for us. We wanted to support Microsoft’s great mobile platform for a long time now and we’re very happy it’s here now. It won’t take long until we get it connected to Unity and Cocos2dx (as we do with all native platforms we support).

Same conventions through all Store modules

When you’ll look into the code of wp-store, you’ll see that the features are identical to all SOOMLA Store modules. It includes all the main classes you already know like StoreInventory and StoreInfo as well as the the storage and connections to IAP. We will soon also add detailed docs and articles about wp-store into the new knowledgebase at http://know.soom.la.

Contribution is key for success

We encourage everyone from the SOOMLA community to contribute. Contribution is the key for the success of any open-source community and at the end, you’ll be the ones benefiting from that. It can be more platforms, solving technical issues and answering others on forums. Whatever you can do to get the community forward will bring you respect and will drive technology forward.

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Recently I had the pleasure to explain a few basic game publishing concepts to a several investors who didn’t have a lot of game industry experience but were eager to learn. I thought this knowledge could serve other new comers as well.

Q: What is game publishing and how it evolved? 

Game publishing history starts in the days where the only way to distribute a game was through retail chains. Very much like book publishing or the music industry the gaming industry started with an offline distribution model. In the days, the core functions that game publishers fulfilled were funding the risk and getting the game to users. In the days of online games, users started downloading games and playing online rather than buying them at stores but the role of publishers still revolved around bringing the users and funding the game production. The big change started in the the days of facebook games and mobile games.
 
the historic role of publisher is to fund the risk in game development as well as distribute games to retail stores. Call of duty for xBox was burned to CDs, put in boxes and sent to stores.

Q: What led to the change in the role of game publishers?

The emergence of Facebook gaming and mobile gaming changed the way people discover and find games and centralized it. In this world the game distribution channels are accessible directly to the developers and the function of bringing the users to the games is now provided by Apple, Google and Facebook. In a sense, they are providing a big part of publishers’ historic role. Another big change is that developing games became a lot easier and cheaper than it used to be in the past. With more and more game productions being self funded, publishers started waiting for the games to be finished before deciding to allocate funding. In other words, publishers stopped funding the risky part of game development.

Q: What is the publisher role today?

With the two core functions gone, publishers needed to re-invent themselves. Their role evolved into a mix of:
  • Production guidance based on best practices and experience
  • Improving App Store placement and ASO
  • Funding a test budget for user acquisition
  • Tracking game performance and benchmarking
  • Providing monetization tools
The main difference is that these functions are not as exclusive as they once used to be.

Q: What does IP mean in the gaming industry?

Unlike other technology industry where IP (Intellectual Property) usually means a proprietary piece of technology that would normally be patented. In the gaming industry IP normally means a set of characters, art work, gameplay and trademarks that users developed strong emotional bond with. In a recent example, Rovio developed a great piece of IP around Angry Birds and was able to transfer it to physical merchandise and sequels.

Q: What is 2nd party publishing?

To understand that, let’s first answer understand what is 1st party publishing. 1st party publishing is when a company is publishing their own game. This is the model used by Zynga, King.com and Supercell with their games. 2nd party publishing is when a publisher designs a game around newly generated IP or existing IP. The contracted studio is mainly in charge of programming the game. One area where 2nd party publishing deals are common is game porting. In game porting, the publisher already developed the game for one platform and is now taking it to new ones by outsourcing the development.

Q: What is 3rd party publishing?

In 3rd party publishing deals a studio comes up with a unique set of IP: great art work, innovative gameplay and lovable characters. The publisher’s role is smaller in this type of deals and is a mix of the things mentioned above (tools, funding, production advice, …). There are two types of deals in this model. Co-development and publishing only. In co-development, the publisher is committing to the project in advance and is funding it through it’s riskiest phases. In addition, the publisher helps with the game production and guides the development. In a publishing only deal, the publisher would usually take a fully developed game and will make a test to see how the game performs. In other words, the publisher will cross-promote the game or put some budget for user acquisition but only the minimal amount required to determine if the game is a hit or not. Some publishers will do this in bulk and will perform this kind of testing with dozens of games to find one that will show good results and then promote it aggressively. The co-development model is considered a much better model for game studios, however, they are more rare and usually requires good relationships with publishers as well as track record of game development. Many young studios engage in a 3rd party publishing deals to start building those assets so they can later on win co-development projects and 2nd party engagements.
 
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Birthday-botSOOMLA is 2 years young. It might sound like a long time but we felt it just went by in a 2 seconds.

We started 2 years ago with a mission to create valuable solutions for developers. When we looked at different kinds of developers we found that game developers have some areas where we can step in and create some interesting tools that will improve their productivity. We are developers ourselves. The kind of developers who appreciate open-source, community and culture. We always looked up to companies like Parse, Kinvey or Github because they always strive for perfection and want to provide cutting edge technologies to developers without compromising on quality or coolness.

So… Why In App Purchases?!

Try to go 2 years back. Try to remember how mobile games were making money that time. Do you remember those times where you had to pay 1$ to download a game from the App Store? Around the time when we started SOOMLA we found a trend that was emerging. It was (and still is) called Free To Play (F2P). In this model you download a game for free and you can play (try) it for free. The “problem” is that you only get a taste of the game and if you really want to succeed (or sometimes even to continue play) in it you’ll need to buy something. This is In-App Purchases and it was proven to be the better way to monetize a mobile game. We weren’t the only ones who realized that though. Apparently, a handful of gaming studios realized that and started creating games that operate in the F2P model. From “Candy Crush” to “Make It Rain”, from “Clash of Clans” to “Cut The Rope” (that has both paid and IAP versions), Tens of Thousands of games were converted to F2P or created as F2P.

As I said before, we’re developers for developers. So we thought what we can do for developers that’s related to F2P. How we can make game developers’ lives easier when they build their virtual economies or integrate with the on-device stores for IAP. This is how our first open-source project android-store was born. Not long after that, his brother ios-store came along and because we always have game developers in mind we had to create the native game-engine plugins unity3d-store and cocos2dx-store. Those plugins were the building blocks for the “SOOMLA Framework”.

The In-Game Store came and left …

So the SOOMLA open-srouce Framework was underway. The attention it got was increasing exponentially month after month and we started thinking “what’s next?”. We thought about an interesting concept that came naturally after we had a whole technology revolving around virtual economies: “In-Game Store”. It was a smart store that every developer could customize to his \ her needs and easily plug into a game. When the game was published, that store would send information related to the game economy to a server so developers could see analytics and analyze the performance of their virtual economy. We synchronized all virtual economy related assets such as: store images, coin balances, events and more.

As great as this solution was, we couldn’t fulfill the requirements of each and every single studio. After a while, we understood that the product that we planned to be dynamic and applicable for many games was only useful to a handful and we decided to “kill” it. Although it wasn’t easy to close the In-Game Store (we still think it’s a great product), we found something better that game developers can greatly benefit from.

Back to the future

The SOOMLA open-source Framework has became the de-facto way of creating game economies. Thousands of games that are played by hundreds of millions of users have SOOMLA inside. We looked back to the framework and realized that there’s something in this open-source solution that brings the value we want to bring. We know that we need to concentrate on that and make it better and richer. SOOMLA is going to provide more and more open-source solutions under the umbrella of the SOOMLA Framework.

The Store modules was the first one in SOOMLA. We’re on the verge of releasing 2 new modules: Profile and LevelUp. These modules concentrate on making the game design creation process simpler in addition to improving the way you socially engage users to your game. Like Store, these modules are developed to the major mobile platforms and game engines. We showed the new modules to studios that use SOOMLA and the reaction we got was amazing. Game developers really need these tools and we’re happy to provide them.

We’re not stopping there… SOOMLA is preparing more goodies. From Windows Phone integrations to a brand new game analysis services. All fro free, and open source. All for game developers.

2 years and counting…

We’re proud to be doing what we do. Every day in SOOMLA we’re fulfilling this company’s mission. Our products stands for themselves, we provide great value and we do it with flare and enthusiasm. This is what we’re going to continue be doing in the years to come.

We’ve just launched new websites to better explain what we do, what we plan to do and how we’re going to do it. Check them out:

 

Congratulation SOOMLA on your 2 years birthday 🙂

 

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Industry News

About a week ago Apple announced that they will start rejecting Apps that use different virtual rewards to lure users into sharing on Facebook or watching video ads.

Apple’s history with incentivized advertising

Why is apple rejecting incentivized video ads and who is this good forApple views incentivized advertising as a very bad thing and have been fighting it for a few years now in various ways. Back in the days, the excuse was that incentivized downloads mess up the top charts and Apple’s top charts should reflect real user interest in the app as many users treat top apps as better than others. Well, that sort of makes sense if we ignore Apple patronizing their users and treating them as kids who can’t tell a good app from a bad app on their own.

Why is the story with videos so different

Rejecting apps with incentivized videos is a totally different story. If you look at the history of advertising it’s hard to find a situation in which users watched ads simply because they like the ad content. Ads are almost always a step you have to go through to unlock the content you really want. Let’s see some examples:

  • In TV – you watch ads so you can see the rest of the show
  • Online – you see ads when you want to read an interesting article, more and more websites are now showing the ads between pages and using the next page as a reward
  • On YouTube – users watch pre-roll ads in order to unlock the real clip they wanted
  • In games with levels – players can watch a video to get to the next level
  • In games with no levels – players watch a video to get 200 game coins
From some reason, Apple thinks that the last example is very different than the others. Well – it’s not. Incentivizing users to watch ads is the nature of advertising and is totally different than incentivizing them to take actions like subscribing to Netflix or downloading other apps.

Incentivized video is the preferred form of ads by users

If you do a survey, users will tell you that ads suck. No one likes banner ads. Interstitials are annoying and popping a 15 seconds video between two levels is the worst. Ask them about incentivized videos and they will tell you they love it. Really? Love ads? Yes! This form of advertising that lets users choose if they want to see it or not – it’s opt-in so by definition users choose to see it. Unlike every other form of advertising – the ads are not forced on them. The concept of opt-in and how NimbleBit are using it with their users is explained by David Marsh in this post

So why is apple cracking down on rewarded videos

No one really knows why Apple do what they do. Some people say that it’s just a demonstration of Apple’s ignorance of online advertising but I find that a bit hard to believe. Between owning an ad network and the acquisition of Bursly, there are enough people there that know what they are doing. Here is one line of thinking that might explain some of this madness. In the entire advertising ecosystem, there is only one party that is really unhappy with incentivized ad watches – Brand Advertisers. Their approach is that people are more impacted by brand ads when they are subconsciously viewing them. In the brand ads world, incentivized ad watches are a bad thing. Now, because big brands have big ad budgets, some organizations want to be labeled as “incent free” so brands will be more than likely to advertise in them. It’s very possible that Apple is trying to attract brand advertisers into mobile advertising. Is it good news for content apps – maybe. Is it good news for mobile game developers – probably not.
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SOOMLA - An In-app Purchase Store and Virtual Goods Economy Solution for Mobile Game Developers of Free to Play Games