You develop, Homa publish.
“Homa Games is an independent mobile game studio specializing in the publishing, user acquisition and monetization of mobile games. Serving both IOS and Android users, our existing games have been top ranked in their categories and have also appeared in ‘featured apps’ categories.”
I was very lucky and honoured to be able to sit down with Olivier Le Bas, co-founder of Homa games and chat about all things mobile game publishing and what goes into creating hit hyper casual mobile games.
Founded in late 2017 by Olivier along with co-founders Daniel Nathan and JuanJose Mostazo, Homa games have fast become one of the Top Mobile Games Publishers. Working out of their offices in Paris, what is now regarded a Mecca for Hyper Casual Games Publishers, they’ve released 18 Hit titles and amassed millions of downloads.
We asked Academy members to provide the questions they wanted answers to the most and after merging them all , ended up with around 20 or so.
Whilst I didn’t quite get to ask them all specifically, although we covered a ton of them and many others, Olivier was overly generous with his time and the whole session lasted around an hour and a half!
What’s more, and perhaps for those who really want to get into the specifics, listed below are the questions and answers to ensure we didn’t skip anything.
Be sure to head over and thank Olivier for taking the time a join us and being so candid and transparent and being a driving force for good in the industry.
Questions From Developers Gathered from the RisingHigh Academy
Do you do CTR testing? What are your KPI goals when testing? What kind of deals do devs get when their game meets the KPIs?
Yes, we created a product called FMV. It includes fast market validation, CTR testing, and many other components that further evaluate an app’s potential. We believe that the ratio of clicks to impressions on Facebook isn’t the only way to judge the potential of a new app. Our more detailed measures give you greater visibility into how well your app is performing.
Goals depend on where the app has been tested but, if we are explicitly talking about a Facebook testing campaign on iOS, we’ll consider a CTR at 4% interesting, while a CTR higher than 7% is a must go. Again, this is one of the several KPIs we test to evaluate an app’s potential. There are many others, such as session time, CPI, retention, and so on.
We believe that CTR is likely to be a good metric of what we call a “toy”, which is a game mechanic in Hyper-Casual.
Our deals vary depending on the partnership and the studio’s needs. In most cases, we are helping studios cover their development costs. Our expertise is structured around different services such as Game Design, UA & Monetization, Creative knowledge, Advanced Technology, and Market Trends.
We’re always looking for diamonds in the rough but, like any jewel dealer, we pay more for diamonds that only need to be cut. We’re continually and thoroughly exploring diamond mines; as you can imagine, this can become quite expensive. Therefore, we need a high return on investment to make it work.
How do you see the current state of the market with hypercasual suffering from non-game games that are mostly not profitable but take a good part of the marketing space?
We are very optimistic about the hyper casual market and its sub-genre, including ultracasual games. The Hyper Casual market is as unbelievable as encouraging; it provides ways to innovate and bring new experiences to our users. Hyper-Casual has disrupted two things:
- Content creation: from 6 months prototyping to 1 week
- Strong UA/Monetization: from LTV to IPM.
How do you see the current state of the industry with 2 heavy monopolies, Applovin with Lion Studios & IronSource with SuperSonic Studios?
How do you think to compete within this situation as a smaller company without the market advantages they have and with the small margins Hyper Casual games have in general?
We see every app content provider in this industry, whether they are TikTok, Applovin, or Google, as a competitor. Applovin & IronSource are part of them and we believe that our internal technologies on cross networks buying & monetizing is definitely one of the most innovative in the market (Last year, Mopub stated that our company, along with Tenjin, were the first ones to have impression level data.
It should be remembered that we are in an industry where creativity is key and no company, large or small, has a monopoly on creativity. I don’t know if you remember the launch of Flappy Bird, which took the app stores by storm, but it was a one-person show from a garage in Vietnam.
Are you a company that is interested in growth or profitability? If both, how do you manage the conflict of interest between developers (who are in for profitability) and your own company goals?
Homa has been well known in the industry to only focus on profitability. We have an excellent understanding of the volume/chart impact on our games and how much extra revenue and profit we can generate depending on the different thresholds of installs we are getting. We are following this methodology.
Without mentioning the game or the developers (out of privacy and NDA contracts) but can you name a clear number of what developers have earned with your published titles (best case and worst case)? I ask this because there are so many developers who never saw any money even though they had the number one titles in the charts with apparently successful games.
We can’t mention clear numbers as they are confidential, but I can tell you that our goal is to make sure that every developer working with us is earning a minimum of 6 digits per title. We have a long term strategy, we want our developers to make money more than just hitting top charts.
Can you tell us about a negative story of game publishing? A game that had the KPIs but didn’t scale well for example?
I ask this because I would like to know about how your company handles failures and disappointments which happen more often than the successes.
We work in an industry that builds on the idea of making quick money and the dream of getting rich, nonetheless, the reality is for 99% the exact opposite?
The most important factor is the transparency we have with our partners. We do believe that as long as everything, including the expectations, are clearly stated right from the beginning, we are limiting future problems. We always take failures as learnings. We do have a writing and post mortem culture. We don’t make any mistakes twice.
Regarding disappointments, we are in an industry that doesn’t tolerate many of them. Either the developer and ourselves make a bad prototype or a bad launch, or we are learning to make the next hit. From our experience, the best developers are the ones who are never “disappointed” because they learn every time, and they know the learning process is tough. At Homa, we act with the same professionalism.
What’s the hit to testing prototype ratio (to set realistic expectations )?
Our target is a minimum of 8%. This number is considered huge in the industry, but when you have the right team working with our tech products and resources, this number is achievable.
Do you accept games built with Buildbox 3 for release?
Yes, Buildbox has shown some great progress with their new version.
Do you have a general process to improve D7 retention?
We are extremely focused on reading data along the whole user journey and D7 is definitely one of the most challenging thresholds. Our different analytics tool alongside our data analyst and game designer are putting a strong focus on taking the right actions in order to optimize the user journey as well as the revenue generated per user.
Why should I publish my Game with you and not someone else?
Technology & having a data-driven approach makes the relationship with our developers extremely healthy and transparent on the decision we take.
Care & knowledge is demonstrated by sharing information throughout the squad and the developer with a disruptive approach with IPs & super casual games.
If the game doesn’t meet the metrics, how long before we can pitch the game to someone else or self publish?
The developer can take back his game straightaway.
Do you provide help for game development? Do you provide art or other asset assistance for your developers?
We provide a bank of assets, art/UX direction, SDKs integration with our tool Homa Belly, publishing the game on our hidden accounts, etc.
Do you have technical(programming) support for your developers with Q&A?
Yes, our internal team based in our HQ take care of you.
What is the revenue split with developers? Is this negotiable?
We are quite flexible because it’s all about the risk/reward ratio & the work we put in. We are doing up to 50% profit sharing without a cap. It will vary if we fund the developer, work on the game from the ideation, make the iterations, add a potential IP to it. We always want to make a fair deal, we are here for the long run, and we want to publish multiple hits per year with each studio that we work closely with.
How do you report Ad Revenue? Do developers have access even in a read-only form to ad providers?
Yes, it’s included in our contract. Our partners should have access to the ad revenue & spend data.
What are the methods of communication and what can be expected in terms of response time?
Care & knowledge sharing is what we consider the most critical component of success between a publishing manager & a studio. All our squads have a limited number of studios they take care of to provide the best quality of service (maximum eight studios). It lets us work and reply to our partner, like colleagues, under a few hours. At the same time, we are providing several tools to make our partner autonomous via our HomaLab dashboard, our HomaBelly product, and detailed documentation.