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In conversation with Homa Games: Hyper-casual game publishing

Founded in Paris less than a year ago, Homa Games originally formed out of their sister company, BidMotion - a company that specializes in user acquisition technologies. The company decided to use their knowledge and expertise in UA and monetization to help hyper-casual game developers monetize and grow their games. Since then, Homa Games has published seven hyper-casual games (with no sign of stopping) that have reached the top of the charts on both the App and Google Play Store.

We spoke with the team from Homa Games to get some insights into why they got into hyper-casual publishing and what they look for when looking to publish new game titles.

How did Homa Games get into publishing?

To successfully publish a mobile game, it takes expertise in UA and monetization, data analysis, game design, and most importantly, having a passion for playing mobile games. At BidMotion, we had already developed UA and monetization technologies, had great data analysts on the team, and a passion for games, so we decided to hire the top game designers and jump straight into the world of publishing.

Why did Homa Games choose hyper-casual publishing specifically?

Hyper-casual games are an obvious choice for us as they require the native skills we already had from BidMotion, as well as fast execution and precise data analysis. What makes a hyper-casual game successful, more often than not, is the work leading up to the launch of the game, rather than the game itself.

At Homa Games, we measure and A/B test everything. We make sure to calculate the right price for each user, and then buy as many users as possible for the right price. You could say that we entered the world of hyper-casual because it was a natural fit for our in-house strengths.

Tell us about the company structure at Homa Games.

We’re extremely proud to have a dynamic and well-rounded team - made up of a a number of team members in varying roles. Originally, we started out focussing heavily on our monetization and UA team, however today that team makes up less than a third of the company. Since we’ve created our own technology that automates the majority of the optimization process, there is no need for an army of analysts.

We also now have an in-house creative studio that produces video ads and playable ads at scale, as well as a team of game designers that provide the essential input to enhance the games we publish. Our game design experts adjust the balancing, improve the design of individual levels, and suggest changes in the meta of the game.

For example, when we were working to publish Tiny Cars, our game design worked closely with Studio Rouleau (the developer of the game) to change the level as well as the meta of the game. These small iterations ended up doubling the time users spent in the game which resulted in the game making it to the top of the charts.

What do publishers look for in hyper-casual game developers?

We are always on the lookout for game developers who are creative, professional, and serious about having their games published.

When working with developers, communication is key. Part of this communication is the ability to receive feedback and carry out the changes that we’ve recommended. It is crucial that the suggestions we make are executed as fast as possible as the hyper-casual industry moves at a fast-pace.

Obviously, we are looking to work with developers who posses quality coding skills as well as knowledge of the hyper-casual market. But it’s not only about the developer’s ability to perform on the technical side of games. We also looking to work with developers who are able to put themselves in the shoes of users and imagine just exactly what goes through a users’ mind while they’re playing the game. We want to see the same ambition in them that our team has in wanting to see their game reach a #1 position in the charts.

To successfully publish a mobile game, it takes expertise in UA and monetization, data analysis, game design, and most importantly, having a passion for playing mobile games.

What helps a developer stand out in the crowd?

It’s not always the case that developers come to us with a complete game, so  we are always impressed when game developers pitch a game that’s completely finished. It makes it easier for us to analyze and understand where and how we can offer our expertise and make the necessary improvements in the most efficient manner.

At what stage in a game’s lifecycle does Homa Games normally connect with a developer?

We don’t have one answer to this question as we connect with developers at a number of different stages within their game’s lifecycle. More often than not, the majority of games that are submitted to us for review have their concept complete, they just lack the data insights or techniques needed to enhance the game to its full potential.

We also connect with game developers when they’re in the game conception stage. On two occasions we actually approached developers with original concepts for them to create for us, enabling us to be there from the very beginning and helping them create the end product. This was actually the case for two of our games that became hit titles: Tiny Cars and Balls vs Lasers.  

Wrapping up

Hyper-casual game publishing is an interesting topic to explore and we’re happy we had the chance to discuss it with Homa Games.

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