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It’s all about retention. That’s why Opera Mediaworks announced this week that its had acquired Yvolver.

Headed by game veteran Steve Nix, the Dallas-based Yvolver created a marketing engagement platform that bears resemblance to airline frequent flyer loyalty programs. It created a way to reward gamers for playing games and staying loyal across a whole suite of apps. The idea is to make players feel like VIPs, and it fits well with Opera Mediaworks’  AdColony video ad platform.

Yvolver’s marketing automation platform represents a significant diversification, but the idea is to give game developers another way to reach users. Yvolver’s tools let developers maximize their monetization from advertising, in-app purchases, cross-promotion, and premium offerings.

“This is an opportunity to add more features, beyond an ad platform,” said Nix in an interview with GamesBeat.

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Nix said that the Yvolver offering will be integrated into the software development kits (SDKs) for Opera Mediaworks and AdColony. The product is expected to be live in the fourth quarter with select partners.

“The big trend we are seeing among ad developers is a focus on retention,” said AdColony head Will Kassoy in an interview with GamesBeat. “Beyond just acquiring users and having them walk away, we see a need to figure out how to make users stay longer and have games stay in the top ten longer. They need a lot more engagement. We decided to expand our platform to focus not just on engagement but to focus on long-term value for the users.”

VIP systems are especially important to high-end players, known as whales, and particularly in China.

“We built a best-in-class VIP system that is portable across games and can talk across different games,” Nix said. “You can take into account the player’s behavior in retention and monetization across different games. None of the stand-alone products that developers build themselves can do that.”

The combined offering for game developers will now include fully-integrated analytics, A/B testing, player segmentation, digital and physical rewards with a proprietary real-time overlay system providing dynamic user interfaces, and messaging that looks and feels completely native to the end user.

“There’s SDK fatigue among developers, but we’ll be able to get all of these features into one SDK,” Nix said.

Nix said the team of a dozen people will stay in Dallas. Yvolver was integrated into a number of apps, and it was prepared to sign with a number of customers, Nix said.

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