In this installment of Developing Minds Want to Know, we chat with Eyal Rabinovich, the VP of Marketing and Co-founder of MoMinis. He discusses what inspired him to get into the app world, how the company harnesses innovation, how they drive downloads and he offers some great advice to new app developers.
Key Company Facts
Name and Title: Eyal Rabinovich, VP Marketing and Co-Founder
Location: Israel, Tel Aviv.
Size (Revenue and/or Employees): 35 employees
Primary Apps/Platforms: Android: PlayScape, Ninja Chicken, Jelly Jump and many more games
APPOLICIOUS: What inspired you to become an app creator?
EYAL RABINOVICH: Since we are publishing games, I believe a quote from Jane McGonigal’s “Reality Is Broken” book is appropriate: “A game is an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism, at something we’re good at (or getting better at) and enjoy. In other words, gameplay is the direct emotional opposite of depression.”
We really believe at MoMinis that by exposing more people to simple, casual and enjoyable games we are enriching their lives. I’m not sure if the “reality is broken” as McGonigal claims, but if it is, games could fix that.
APPO: How long have you been developing apps, and what is the most significant difference between now and when you began?
ER: MoMinis was founded in 2008, but the founders began working together even before the first iPhone was released. To put things into perspective, when we started to work in the mobile space our friends frequently asked us whether people were playing games on mobile at all. So, I would say that the biggest difference between then and now is that the technological platforms, distribution channels and the games and applications themselves have become more mainstream and much more casual.
APPO: What apps (outside of those that you develop) inspire you the most and why?
ER: I would say I’m mostly impressed by games which focus on innovating one thing and do it perfectly. A great example for that is Cut the Rope that introduces an entirely new gameplay perfectly tailored to mobile devices.
APPO: Where do you see the most innovation in the app sector?
ER: If I have to judge by the amount of new applications that constantly stream into the market, I would say games definitely. But perhaps I am a bit biased since it’s also my area of expertise and line of business.
APPO: How do you harness that innovation in your own titles?
ER: Very simply – we crowdsource our innovation; MoMinis performs as an innovation hub by working with independent developers and games studios, streaming our accumulated knowledge from one partner to the other. By doing that, we manage to preserve our knowledgebase while constantly adding new developers and fresh ideas.
APPO: In such a crowded space, explain how you generate awareness and drive downloads to your applications.
ER: We promote our games via our mega-game platform, PlayScape, which includes a portfolio of 50+ games and provides gamified cross-promotion. As one big cross-promotional gaming platform, players can move around seamlessly from one game to another while earning experience points and virtual currency, and completing missions. Not only do they get exposed to all of the games on the platform, but the experience is non-disruptive – users with PlayScape play longer, in a higher frequency and rate higher than all of the games it promotes (4.7 in Google Play).
The idea here is to promote the games in organic ways. Instead of intruding on the gamers’ experience, the promotions can become a part of the experience. This not only greatly enhances the chances of getting a game discovered, but creates deeper engagement between the player and the game brand.
APPO: What are the biggest technical constraints that exist today in the app sector?
ER: The industry presents us with a very fragmented and diversified landscape. From the different operating systems and device specifications to the various game genres, target demographics, geographies and business models, there is no standardization.
It’s not only a technical constraint – from a business standpoint the app stores are also fragmented and constantly flooded with an endless stream of free games. The result is a risk-free gaming experience for the players who are constantly on the lookout for the latest “shiny new toy.” The lifetime of the user is shorter, the circulation of content is faster and turnover is constant in this marketplace.
As risk is constantly shrinking for the players, the developers carry the weight of developing and distributing the more than 1.2 million apps out there.
APPO: How do you (or will you) make money from your application?
ER: All of our games are in a freemium model, like the majority of the apps that exist in Google Play today. According to SuperData Research, this year the freemium business model accounted for 55 percent of all mobile game revenues. The way we make money from our games is from in app purchasing, ads and alternative payments.
APPO: What advice do you have to those working on their first applications?
ER: When working on your first game, or any game for that matter, you should keep in mind the following:
1. The core gameplay is the skeleton of your game. Choose it wisely.
2. Give your users a great out of the box experience. You would be amazed how little patient they have.
3. Always try to evoke emotion – look for those happy moments your game can create.
4. Nothing can replace high-quality graphics.
5. All of the above will get the attention of the player. To keep them playing think about progression, progression, progression.
APPO: Where do you see the app sector one year from now? Five years from now?
ER: We are already witnessing a large-scale motion that will shape the future of the industry; Big companies are restructuring, diversifying their business models and revenue streams, and new companies are being born. I believe that in a fragmented market that is constantly (and unpredictably) changing the companies who will prevail are the ones who will be agile enough to stay one step ahead of the “game.”