How Rollic hit 2B downloads for its hypercasual video games

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Rollic has crossed two billion lifetime downloads throughout its portfolio of hypercasual video games, or accessible titles which you could play in a minute or much less.

Whereas hypercasual video games have had a difficult time up to now yr, Istanbul-based Rollic was in a position to enhance its viewers and engagement with extra use of dwell operations, on-line leaderboards, seasonal occasions and customizable characters. Rollic has now launched 19 video games which have hit No. 1 or No. 2 within the U.S. App Retailer.

I talked with Rollic CEO Burak Vardal, who cofounded the corporate in 2018. Zynga acquired the corporate in October 2020 for $168 million, after which Zynga itself was acquired by Take-Two Interactive this yr.

Rollic started including dwell companies to its titles in 2021 with the launch of the first-ever dwell on-line leaderboard in Hair Problem, the rewarded advert “Undertake a Pet” function in Excessive Heels, and seasonal vacation occasions throughout six of its video games.

Thus far in 2022, Rollic has debuted 14 video games which have ranked within the top-10 most downloaded video games within the U.S. App Retailer, together with Automobile Lot Administration, Espresso Stack, Colours Runners, Hoard Grasp, Crowd Evolution, and Fill The Fridge.

Right here’s an edited transcript of our interview with Vardal.

rollic Burak Vardal CEORollic
Burak Vardal is CEO of Rollic.

GamesBeat: Inform me extra about your historical past at Rollic, and the historical past of Rollic as nicely.

Burak Vardal: We co-founded Rollic, two companions and I, again in December 2018. It’s fairly a younger firm. We began as a hypercasual recreation writer, and we’re nonetheless a hypercasual writer and developer. Because the starting we’ve launched greater than 200 titles in complete. The most recent information is Rollic passing 2 billion downloads worldwide in July. We’ve launched greater than 15 titles that reached first place in america app retailer and worldwide app retailer.

GamesBeat: How many individuals are on the staff now?

Vardal: Proper now we’re 165 individuals. The entire staff is in Istanbul. However after all we work with plenty of third get together builders as a writer. We’ve many product managers, recreation managers, who work on the ideation and manufacturing of video games. Then now we have builders, artists, and different conventional recreation firm divisions.

GamesBeat: How a lot of your portfolio is inside versus exterior growth?

Vardal: Our exterior growth community is big. Proper now about 90 % of our manufacturing is coming from our third get together developer companions.

GamesBeat: Did a terrific deal change for you after the Zynga acquisition? What’s completely different?

Vardal: Hypercasual is a very completely different world. Once we joined Zynga, they didn’t have a hypercasual division. We joined as a brand new sub-genre of cellular video games, which is mostly a bonus when becoming a member of an enormous like Zynga. However our imaginative and prescient for cellular gaming–the variations between sub-genres like informal and hypercasual within the present market are very small. Video games have gotten nearer to one another. We’re creating extra media round our video games, extra ranges, extra content material. Informal firms are looking for scalable ideas like hypercasual does.

Becoming a member of Zynga was an enormous benefit for us. We’ve the tradition of all the time producing one thing new in an ongoing manner. Zynga has this franchise tradition, which is immediately reverse, associated to managing dwell video games for a really very long time and constructing a lifetime of greater than 5 years for his or her titles. That was one thing we didn’t have. Our manner of conceptualizing video games and doing scale assessments was a brand new factor for Zynga. The mixing was an enormous win for each firms. Rollic’s scale is greater than 3 times larger now in comparison with once we joined Zynga. I can say that it’s all gone nicely.

rollic 2Billion post 2
Rollic has hit 2 billion downloads.

GamesBeat: Hypercasual — I hear individuals say some hyperbolic issues about it as of late. I bear in mind Frank Gibeau saying that one of many issues about Rollic that’s useful to Zynga is that it brings a special sort of consumer in entrance of them that they weren’t in any other case aware of. They weren’t reaching that sort of consumer. That turned essential at a time when there was much less visibility due to Apple’s IDFA adjustments. If you don’t know the place you’ll be capable of supply customers, having a terrific funnel for customers by way of hypercasual is essential. That helped shield the corporate. It appeared like that usually labored. However Zynga did face an influence that it talked about in a while from IDFA. Finally it bought to Take-Two, which assured a extra steady atmosphere wherein to function.

I’ve heard different individuals say that hypercasual can also be affected in some methods by IDFA, which to me didn’t all the time make sense. Some individuals say that hypercasual is dying due to IDFA. That reasoning doesn’t sound correct. However I assume the query is, what are a few of the macro traits affecting hypercasual? How have you ever seen this a part of the trade change?

Vardal: Being within the kitchen of these items, on our aspect issues look a bit completely different. I’d say completely reverse. To begin with, hypercasual as a style is the results of the consuming habits of the world proper now. Persons are consuming issues very quick. Their consideration span is decrease than at any time earlier than. Persons are searching for completely different, however enjoyable mechanics and leisure for 10-Quarter-hour a day, after which they wish to transfer on to a brand new factor. In case you analyze TikTok, that is what TikTok is, proper? You spend a number of seconds on a video, have enjoyable, and transfer on to a brand new one. You don’t spend 50 minutes on it.

That’s a very powerful level. For a recreation style to succeed on a mass scale, it ought to symbolize the consuming habits of the world. Subsequently, I believe hypercasual won’t ever die, as a result of these consuming habits received’t change. The second factor is, since hypercasual video games are being performed by actually everybody, the impact of audience-related focusing on measurements is far decrease on the hypercasual scale. We’re not searching for a particular viewers. We’re searching for everybody. Subsequently, in our world, we don’t have a lot depth to our viewers evaluation. When you may have 2 billion downloads, how particular can the viewers be? It’s everybody. You may’t phase that viewers. Our completely different video games entice completely different individuals, however within the complete funnel, hypercasual is a dwelling organism that’s nonetheless rising. The primary cause is that large scale primarily based on the consuming habits of the world.

GamesBeat: Is advert income in hypercasual being affected by any main traits?

Vardal: There are results, after all, however usually it’s primarily based on seasonality. The great thing about advert income in gaming, although, is that it’s all the time optimizable. In case you see a softness over a few days, it’s very simple to get out of that and create new techniques behind your recreation. It’s primarily based on CPMs. It’s primarily based on different firms paying for it, not people. The supply of advert income is coming from the advertising spend from different firms, whereas in-app purchases come from particular person spending. That’s the principle distinction. The development variations in advert income are a lot decrease than in different monetization techniques.

At Rollic we’re all advert income. We like it. Within the present common financial construction of the world, advert income could have extra benefits as a result of, once more, it’s in a roundabout way affected by what’s within the pockets of people. I believe advert income in gaming will proceed to develop sooner or later, each within the quick time period and long run.

Zynga is buying 80% of Rollic for $168 million.
Zynga purchased 80% of Rollic for $168 million.

GamesBeat: I’ve been taking part in this Idle Siege recreation from Gameloft obsessively for some time. It exhibits me advertisements every time I wish to do one thing – if I wish to velocity up gaining a stage, I can select to see the advert or spend in-game foreign money. I don’t know whether or not selecting the advert makes me a superb buyer or a horrible buyer. I haven’t spent any cash on the sport to date. However I’m all the time clicking the advertisements.

Vardal: I believe the query is for you. Would you prefer to spend 4 {dollars}, or would you want to observe an advert? Each consumer is completely different. The long run lies in giving customers the prospect to decide on. That’s beautiful, as a result of you’ll be able to both spend money or you’ll be able to watch advertisements. Some prefer to spend cash and a few prefer to spend time watching advertisements. Our job as recreation firms is to foretell which makes the larger LTV, predict that you simply’re a non-spender, and optimize the advertisements we serve you accordingly. That’s most likely what they’re doing, and it’s what we do. If the consumer is just not keen to purchase one thing, we perceive that in a short time, so we begin providing them advert alternatives to earn extra within the recreation. That’s a win-win for each events.

GamesBeat: You don’t thoughts creating wealth by some means.

Vardal: In fact. It’s higher than not monetizing you in any respect. With the present CPMs, we’re seeing a constructive development after IDFA. Advert income LTVs have gotten a lot greater. I think that in some unspecified time in the future they’ll be competing immediately with in-app buy LTVs, which is nice. There are some customers watching greater than 500 advertisements in our video games monthly. They like it. The entire LTV may be very near an in-app spender. It’s all about monetizing correctly with out having a destructive influence on the consumer expertise. It’s finest to provide the consumer the prospect to decide on.

GamesBeat: Are there predictions you may make going ahead, whether or not for the remainder of the yr or in 2023? What do you see taking place with hypercasual at an trade stage?

Vardal: On the highest stage, plenty of consolidation is occurring. Take-Two, Zynga. You may see this occurring within the gaming world. However different large firms that aren’t in hypercasual but are nonetheless making an attempt to know it. In the meantime, firms like Zynga that have already got a hypercasual division, they’ve the benefit by way of scale. The key phrase for the long run in hypercasual, it’s nonetheless rising. I can see an inexpensive proportion development in hypercasual companies. However the trick behind that development alternative is hypercasual recreation firms turning into higher recreation designers and creating higher video games.

That is nonetheless gaming. When it’s not console or large informal titles or MMORPGs, I believe typically individuals go away apart the significance of making a greater recreation. But it surely’s the identical for hypercasual. In order for you development, you want to make higher updates, extra options, larger daring beats, extra scalable ideas with higher long-term retention. Within the present world, for Rollic, with the quantity of ideas we check and analyze each month, I believe now we have the largest benefit in creating higher video games in comparison with different firms. That’s the largest issue proper now. We’ve an enormous quantity of expertise to know what to supply subsequent. That’s plenty of leverage that solely hypercasual firms have proper now.

The expansion, particularly in cellular gaming, lies in how shortly and efficiently we will use our knowledge and our expertise to create higher video games. We are able to’t do it with the video games we produced three years in the past. We have to enhance ourselves yearly. The long run lies in merging the tradition of latest in hypercasual with the tradition of dwell to make higher video games. That’s how I see the way forward for cellular video games on my aspect.

Rollic is ringing in the holidays with custom events.
Rollic updates its video games within the holidays with customized occasions.

GamesBeat: Did you ever make use of any Zynga IP? Do you assume it’s doable that you could possibly make use of Take-Two IP going ahead?

Vardal: For the hypercasual enterprise, it’s not essentially related. We’re doing plenty of very fast prototyping and fast testing with new ideas each month. Within the short-term future for Rollic and hypercasual, IP mergers aren’t wanting very related to our enterprise. However in complete with Zynga and Take-Two, it makes plenty of sense.

GamesBeat: What’s Turkey like in terms of the studio group there? Is there nonetheless a lot of startup exercise?

Vardal: Rollic was one of many predominant freewheels of the Turkish gaming startup ecosystem. Once we began as a recreation writer in 2018, early 2019, there have been a number of studios in Turkey making video games. They had been making an attempt to publish their video games with world publishers, and their success charge at that was very low. Earlier than Rollic, there have been solely two video games launched by a Turkish studio by way of a worldwide writer. We launched greater than 200 titles with greater than 80 completely different Turkish studios within the final three years.

In fact, with out expertise it’s not possible, however I believe the gaming tradition in Turkey is an ideal match for founding gaming startups. Nearly all of Rollic’s present manufacturing is in Turkey. We’re nonetheless transferring ahead with our Turkish studio companions, who we’ve recognized since their foundations and labored with very intently. A few of them are laptop engineers. A few of them come from PC recreation firms. A few of them come from world console recreation firms. However they’ve all come to create a brand new Turkish recreation firm, on the extent of a startup with 5 – 6 individuals, and that’s sufficient for hypercasual. I really feel like hypercasual offers the muse of the Turkish gaming ecosystem, after which we’ve seen plenty of profitable recreation firms developing with extra funding. The Turkish gaming ecosystem will proceed to develop sooner or later.

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