Agave Games: Strengthening the studio-publisher relationship

Publishers are devoting valuable UA & BI resources to the most promising studios, devoiding studios with lower initial test KPIs of a chance at developing hit games, which in turn are losing motivation and interest. The top publishing houses have clear key performance indicators for publishing a game — and they’re mainly focused on games with significant potential to scale, leading to a graveyard of shelved promising games that could’ve achieved the right metrics with a tad bit more focus on marketability at the earliest stage possible.

Agave’s publishing framework gives a leg up to studios

Agave aims to provide a more tailored and boutique development & marketability coaching to a select number of studios aiming to shorten the development funnel and generate more profit per resource employed. Agave’s end-to-end coaching process includes sharing all of the insights with studios so they are armed better to develop the next iteration. Below are the key pillars of Agave’s framework:

Agave leverages a delicate mix of outside partner studios and in-house development, UA & BI teams developing innovative tools to scale games. Agave aims to go beyond comprehensive BI and UA automation to develop AI-based game parameter design. This will enable Agave to create more addictive game loops and pillars.

Stellar team with connections to hire the top talent and identify the best studios

Agave is led by two co-founders with complementary prior experience in project management and hypercasual development & publishing.

Oğuzhan brings product management, game design expertise in hypercasual development & publishing owing to extensive experience as a growth and product manager at Good Job Games (leading hyper-casual publisher with over 2 billion installs). He previously published and led the development of top hypercasual games such as Run Race 3D (250M+ installs) and Paint Pop 3D (100M+ installs). Alper brings expertise in big data analytics, business intelligence analytics and ETL pipelines garnered over his time at Beghou Consulting in the US, a Data & Strategy Consulting Company.

The team was smart to pull in two other investors, the industry veteran Akin Babayigit and seasoned investment professional Orkun Kilic. Akin will be guiding the team along the development funnel and assisting the co-founders in key decisions. You can listen to my podcast episode with Akin Babayigit here.

Hypercasual games are the driving force behind the global growth in gaming

Mobile gaming is already bigger than the movie and music industries combined. In 4 years, the ad spend in the industry alone will exceed today’s combined market for movies and music. Hypercasual games are best positioned to benefit from the rise in gaming and mobile ads.

Hypercasual game installs have exhibited 37.5% CAGR, vs. 5.3% in overall mobile gaming, in the past 3 years. These games represent about 50% of all ad inventory and about 28% of all 2.5 B mobile gamers play hypercasual games, while 79% of these also play other genres, making it a great source for advertising and cross-promotion.

Staggering growth rates prompted incumbents like Rovio, Ubisoft, and Zynga to acquire their way into the burgeoning category.

Clear need for a rehaul of the studio-publisher relationship

Agave saw a gap in the market that they could fill. Studios work very hard to create games, but the studio-publisher relationship is a black-box model. Game studios do not have the visibility into how their games are performing, or how their KPIs might be changing based on in-game tweaks or creative updates, and not sure what the publisher is doing to reach those numbers. As a result, the developer is not armed with the insights to improve its product.

Agave modeled a better, transparent, and trust-based relationship between the publisher and developers owing to understanding the dynamics in these relationships and coming from a strong background in the business side of gaming.

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