Stockholm Roadshow: MAG Interactive?s Hasselberg talks Indie Marketing & Monetization


June 23, 2015


min read

Chartboost broke out the lutefisk and celebrating Midsummer the Swedish indie way: by putting back the lutefisk*, grabbing a drink and talking indie mobile game marketing, monetization, and design.On hand was renowned CEO from MAG Interactive, Daniel Hasselberg. MAG Interactive?s game, Ruzzle, rocketed out of relative obscurity due to an evergreen genre, highly tuned mechanics, and extreme virality. After the initial eight weeks of development and three years of refinement, Ruzzle has been downloaded over 60 Million times. Daniel has been a guest on our panels before, so it was a pleasure to reconnect with him in his home country. illuminating fireside chat highlighted the challenges facing indie developers but also offered some unusual solutions:On Competition:?I asked Daniel how developers should interpret the relative stasis of games at the very top of the Charts. There have been a handful of names we?ve seen repeated over the years, and even ?newcomers? often have the backing of nearly two decades of brand building.Daniel was extremely optimistic, citing that the revenue garnered from the top 100 US grossing position in the iTunes charts today is five times more than it was two years ago. The pie is still growing rapidly, and more players are becoming accustomed to paying for entertainment.When it comes to ?cheat? apps that spring up in the wake of your success (particularly popular for word games), Daniel was unfazed. They point to the popularity of your game and can help certain segments remain engaged. Egregious cheaters, he noted, can be banned anyway.

Cheat games

On Indie Mobile Game Marketing:?When you?re bootstrapping your new game, finding money for marketing is a significant obstacle to overcome before your launch. Fortunately, Daniel had some suggestions on where to look and how much to spend.Outside of the typical routes like ad networks, he suggested that indies leverage fledging social networks. Twitter was an essential part of Ruzzle?s success in gaining popularity first in a small Louisiana College town, propagating thru social media, then exploding across the world. Few apps were using Twitter at the time, so it helped him stand out. Likewise, he recommends exploring newer networks like WhatsApp, Line, or Periscope.In terms of budgeting, Daniel recommends a minimum of 500 new installs per day during the soft launch period (whatever price that may be at the time) in order to obtain statistically significant data. Since many folks in attended are curious about the current price, you can see a heat map on our insights page.On Building a Great Team:?I often ask speakers ?what mistake do you commonly see others make?? Daniel surprised us by opening up about one of his own mistakes. When Ruzzle was growing, he thought it prudent to build a typical game team with typical structure (producers, executive producers, etc.).Ultimately, he found the hierarchy to be counter-productive. The bureaucracy slowed things down and lead to disinterested developers. So, he scrapped it entirely and instead has his company divided into small, democratic, and collaborative teams. While it took some getting used to, this lead to much more success in the working environment.[caption id="attachment_9082" align="alignnone" width="900"]


We were fortunate to have the event hosted at the amazing SUP46![/caption]There were myriad other awesome developers in attendance. One in particular I want to call out is Colin Lane, a Swedish game development student originally from Scotland. Colin is a great representation of success despite doubters in our industry.While in school, Colin was told that mobile game development was a dead end. He persevered and his debut game, Wheelie Legend did great, hitting #1 in Finland. He followed it up with Golf is Hard, which was featured as ?Best New Game,? hitting #1 in six countries. Bravo![caption id="attachment_9083" align="alignnone" width="900"]


Colin and Nate re-enacting ?Wrassling,? Colin?s third game and the national sport of Slamdovia.[/caption]Congrats to Daniel, Colin, and all the awesome indie game developers we met in Stockholm. See you next time!Vi ses senare!Nate*Fun fact, Lutefisk can be smelly enough that special parties are designated as ?Pickled Fish Parties? so that people can prepare themselves in advance.