How Azur Video games grew its hypercasual video games to one.5B downloads

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Azur Video games is a type of corporations that has quietly grow to be some of the peak ten sport publishers on this planet with greater than 1.five billion downloads. It did so via pivoting into the rising hypercasual video games on cellular gadgets.

Now the corporate has greater than 300 workers in Cyprus and Japanese Europe, mentioned Dmitry Yaminsky, CEO of Azur Video games, in an interview with GamesBeat. And within the first quarter, Azur’s Stack Ball and Hit Grasp three-D video games have been a few of the top-20 maximum downloaded video games international, in step with size company Sensor Tower.

Right through this a hit run, Yaminsky discovered that whilst many hypercasual video games stay giant hits for approximately a month, they temporarily fall off after that. However the downloads don’t cross to 0. Moderately, they fall to possibly 10% or 20% of the early numbers. After which they keep at that degree of in all probability 100,000 downloads a month for a very long time, giving the video games an extended existence and a extra predictable earnings circulation. And with such a lot of video games within the library and upcoming pipeline, Azur Video games has an attractive just right industry that may maintain the worker base, Yaminsky mentioned. Stack Ball is the most important hit, with greater than 300 million downloads, whilst has greater than 200 million downloads.

However the pageant isn’t simple. There are competitors like Voodoo Video games, SayGames, Rollic, and others.


Above: Trendy Strike was once the primary hit via Azur Video games.

Symbol Credit score: Azur Video games

Yaminsky up to now labored within the promoting trade, however determined to transport into video games after a downturn struck in 2014 and 2015.

Yaminsky officially began the sport writer in 2016 in Moscow to put up midcore video games, or the ones with hardcore topics however can also be performed in brief cycles on cellular gadgets. The corporate discovered a studio that was once running on a name known as Trendy Strike On-line, a cellular tackle Counter-Strike. And so they helped them with the release with advertising and marketing in the beginning.

That sport turned into an enormous hit with greater than 70 million downloads, and Azur Video games bought part of the improvement studio.

“It was once very a hit. And with the release of the sport, I determined to paintings on different video games. And so after the corporate began as a cellular writer, after which we began our personal building,” he mentioned.

In 2017, hypercasual video games — which take in all probability a minute to play — began starting off, due to new sport corporations like Voodoo Video games. He moved the headquarters to Cyprus.

“We didn’t actually know the way to method consumer acquisition for the brand new marketplace on the time, so we determined to fund and behavior an experiment — two other people from the group made a hypercasual sport that turned into a success,” Yaminsky mentioned. “It became out that two or 3 other people can create a mission with higher metrics than a group of 60 within the midcore phase. That was once our pivot.”

Within the first experiment, one individual labored on programming and every other on artwork. It took a couple of month to complete the sport. On its first day, the sport generated $1,000 in promoting earnings. On the second one day, it was once $2,000.

“Then we began obtaining customers,” he mentioned. “Again then it was once simply really easy. There have been so few competition. A large number of other people mentioned it was once not possible. I mentioned it was once my cash. Let me waste it. Actually, the primary sport I introduced was once an actual luck.”

Rising the industry

Azur Games' employees in Cyprus.

Above: A few of Azur Video games’ workers in Cyprus.

Symbol Credit score: Azur Video games

Some corporations began churning out video games like factories. It was once fairly simple to develop in hypercasual at the moment for the reason that marketplace was once small and the builders have been very presenting their video games.

That’s once we knew we wanted to stick out from the opposite publishers and attempted to peer the groups for his or her doable, refine the prototypes, and acquire experience inside the corporate,” Yaminsky mentioned. “This was once a breath of unpolluted air for the trade, since maximum publishers at the moment simply appeared on the first metrics — in the event that they have been just right, then they took the mission, if no longer, they despatched it again to the developer.”

Azur Video games began to construct an ecosystem that may be comfy for the builders and develop initiatives inside of it. It shared its revel in and actively helped budding studios and solo builders to go into the marketplace. In consequence, the selling budgets grew, the studios realized to agree with Azur Video games, and the corporate started attracting a large number of new builders.

Whilst the headquarters is in Cyprus, the group is unfold out, with again workplaces in Dubai and Moscow. Most people paintings remotely, which is helping the corporate develop temporarily. About 50 other people paintings in advertising and marketing and analytics, whilst a group of 30 movement designers paintings on ingenious advertisements that assist the video games unfold. About 200 other people paintings on midcore initiatives, which will have upper margins.

Above: Azur Video games has a lot of hypercasual titles.

Symbol Credit score: Azur Video games

“We’re looking to pave our personal approach,” Yaminsky mentioned. “Many corporations available on the market are nonetheless looking forward to completed initiatives with just right metrics. However we at Azur Video games imagine in groups and give a boost to the initiatives ourselves.”

Whilst hypercasual video games nonetheless supplies many of the downloads, Azur Video games has different into the informal sport and midcore sport segments. The ones video games will get started popping out within the coming months and years.

The hypercasual division is composed of a number of mini-teams, which come with a manufacturer, two or 3 product assistants, and two or 3 sport designers. Every mini-team works with a restricted selection of studios.

“We prototype about 200 video games a month, and once we check them, we release about one or two video games monthly,” Yaminsky mentioned. “In different phrases, to get a large number of downloads, you want to do a large number of paintings, which isn’t all the time visual from the out of doors.”

Staying forward of competition


Above: is one among Azur’s video games.

Symbol Credit score: Azur Video games

Now that hypercasual is a large marketplace, corporations like Zynga have bought hypercasual companies like Rollic, and the marketplace is crowded.

“You’ll win as an organization provided that you proportion your experience with builders greater than the others, run exams quicker, use your individual analytics, and make investments your abilities and revel in in building,” Yaminsky mentioned. “We put the emphasis on communique and offering the important sources: as an example, if the group doesn’t have movement designers, sport designers or artists, we contain them as wanted.”

In different phrases, the present technique is to provide favorable stipulations and building infrastructure inside of its ecosystem. Because of this the corporate is keen to proportion anything else that would assist the builders make the proper resolution, trend-tracking knowledge being one instance. On the identical time, the corporate by no means reworks the video games for the studios and it solely suggests the path.

That suggests the corporate has to seek out the proper groups to construct long-term, mutually advisable relationships. It has invested greater than $10 million in builders to this point. Lots of the builders are in Japanese Europe, the place corporations have realized to transport temporarily and successfully with out operating up top prices, Yaminsky mentioned. There also are a large number of trained programmers within the area.

“At the start, we all the time assess the possible. If it’s there, we’re in a position to take a position our personal efforts and considerable quantities of cash,” Yaminsky mentioned. “As an example, if there’s a studio with annual earnings of as much as $five million, we’re in a position to take a position as much as $10 million for a 20% to 30% stake, much more in some circumstances. In the meantime, the studio remains in regulate of the mission, and we solely assist to develop it in all instructions, together with advertising and marketing.”

Above: Azur Video games prototypes 200 video games a month.

Symbol Credit score: Azur Video games

By means of 2019, the marketplace were given much more aggressive, and now it’s much more heated. Within the month of Would possibly, the corporate spent greater than $15 million in advertising and marketing. The corporate additionally tries to provide the builders extra favorable phrases than others do, like paying neatly for every prototype. This lets them duvet building prices, so they are able to really feel comfy and check out extra issues than they’d in a unique atmosphere, Yaminsky mentioned.

“With regards to the product technique, we goal at expanding lifetime price of customers and paying extra consideration to in-app monetization,” he mentioned. “This implies we’re planning on doing deeper initiatives, however we all the time take the studio sources into consideration — if the developer doesn’t have a large number of revel in, they paintings on easy mechanics.”

A success sport can get 300,000 to 500,000 downloads an afternoon, however Yaminsky believes that the long-term issues so much. Within the lengthy tail for a success, a sport can generate $100,000 to $400,000 a month. With 10 to 30 such hits, the lengthy tail generates a constant earnings this is within the thousands and thousands of bucks a month.

Now the corporate is in search of extra sport studios to put money into to stay producing extra hits.

“The selection of competition helps to keep rising, and we need to keep aggressive,” Yaminsky mentioned.


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