Live events are essential to keeping a mobile game popular and extending its life. They keep players engaged and give them a reason to come back.
There’s a new engine called Fuel Ignite that makes it possible for small game developers to hold the same kind of live events that are normally the domain of big developers, who hold an increasingly large part of the $30 billion mobile game industry.
Fuel Ignite is a new tool that makes it easy for any developers to manage live events. Managing live events such as tournaments or in-app purchase specials is a time-consuming hassle for a lot of developers. Big game companies such as Kabam and Machine Zone can do these live events with in-house teams on their own. But Fuel Ignite is supposed to level the playing field for the rest of the developers.
“You can create missions, quests, and leaderboards in real time without a development team, once integration has happened,” said Mikhael Naayem, CEO of Fuel in San Francisco, in an exclusive interview with GamesBeat. “It takes just minutes to do.”
San Francisco-based Fuel has created an engine that makes it easy for developers to create real-time events in games so developers can engage with developers in an affordable and effective way. Fuel Ignite eliminates the need to submit updates to app stores, which is a costly and time-consuming process.
Marketers and producers can control the events without engineering support. The Fuel Ignite engine has a lot of features, but it is built to be used by a single game operator.
Game operators can define custom variables in order to create, deploy, and tune missions and quests for their players. The tool enables developers to create cohorts and segments for custom challenges directed at specific players — without the need to write a single line of code, Naayem said.
Updates take effect instantly over the air, without the need to push an update to an app store. And because it’s real-time, game makers get a chance to learn and iterate much faster.
Spry Fox, a Fuel partner, will be integrating Fuel Ignite into its flagship puzzle game Triple Town in order to boost engagement and retention with the addition of live event gameplay. The developer will be able to create thousands of different versions of live events and target them at specific users.
As an example, a game analyst may notice that his or her VIP’s in Japan are creating 50 percent fewer sessions than before. He or she could immediately create an event where players need to beat three specific levels with the latest character to win an exclusive virtual good. And he or she could run an A/B test at first to see if it delivers the required results or to test which levels or which virtual goods are the optimal ones. This can be done in minutes.
Fuel Ignite is a new addition to Fuel’s existing business of helping developers extend their lifetime revenue for a game. It has created a asynchronous multiplayer solution, Fuel Compete. Developers using it have had more than 100 million registered users, and those developers have a daily active user base of 1.7 million.
Fuel customers include Bandai Namco and Codemasters. Customers for Fuel Ignite include Spry Fox, Jaddream, Animoca, and Greencod. The company has 18 employees, and it has raised more than $5 million to date. Rivals such as Google and Playfab are doing similar things, and the bottom line is that they will make life easier for smaller developers, Naayem said.
Naayem said some of his team members include former live operations employees from DeNA, a big Japanese mobile game company.
“We manage the engine through our portal,” Naayem said. “We allow smaller teams to operate games. Our goal is to have two or three people pull this off in real-time.”