Mobile gaming magic: an interview with Roee Raz, CEO of OVIVO

M51 Editorial

M51 Editorial


If the name OVIVO Games sounds familiar, it should for two reasons. One is that we’ve recently mentioned the company on our blog as THE company that won our $1 million competition for the next big/awesome mobile game. The other reason, and arguably more important one, is that OVIVO is a really interesting group of talented and skillful experts in hyper-casual mobile gaming. 

How do we know that? Because we work closely with Roee Raz, the man behind OVIVO Games, and the rest of the bunch. We sat down with Roee to discuss his passion project and mobile gaming industry in general. 

Because OVIVO Games is both a mobile game developer and publisher, the first thing that interested us was this: which types of games the company works with and if there are any filters in that regard. 

First off, the game must be from the hyper-casual genre simply because that is where our expertise comes from. What do we mean by hyper-casual? That the mechanics of the game are very simple, addictive, and easy to understand, based on a simple tap on the screen; the gameplay sessions are short with lots of replays, and the design is minimalistic, altogether making for one lightweight game.

Roee Raz, CEO and mastermind of OVIVO Games

We operate globally so we’re not concentrating on one particular market – our doors are open to everyone. As a sort of initial filtering, we typically only take a finished product and thoroughly review it. Then, we offer the developer our feedback about publishing and scaling of the game and do our thing. 

Occasionally, we take on games that are not 100% ready, usually games in the early stages of the development process we feel have a high probability of success. This is largely based on our impression of the developer, as well as his reputation and other games they previously developed. It is a more complex operation, where we work closely with a developer during the development process to offer live feedback about the gameplay, economy and other certain aspects of the game that are related to the product and are monetization-oriented.

For me, this is a winning model because a lot of developers out there know how to make a great game but have little to no knowledge about the other side of the business: how to monetize, how to acquire users, how to market the game, and such. In other words, how to convert a great and addictive game into a profitable one with ARPU higher than the CPI. 

This is where OVIVO steps in and takes things to a whole new level. We take a very different approach from most of our competitors, where we base our entire business on data-driven decisions. Our unique testing techniques allow us to test lots of different games and gain insight into which ones have strong sufficient KPIs so we can eliminate the ones below our threshold and invest in the games above.

App icon for Igloo Rush by OVIVO Games

Tell us more about the process: how long does it take and what exactly does it cover?

In order to start the test phase, the developer first needs to implement our SDK in their game. The integration is pretty fast and simple as it takes about two hours. Once the toolkit is integrated, the test phase begins. Our strategy for testing new games is very unique as we have the knowledge and technology to achieve it in scale. It takes about two weeks where we get insight if the game in question meets our KPIs: retention, marketability, and return on ad spend. 

We are experts in scalable user acquisition and monetization which is the essence of our business and how we get to expand our activity, user base and actually be profitable. We invest in acquiring users in tier-1 markets, mainly the US, for the first two weeks. Retention is the main KPI we are looking for: day 1 50%, day 3 23%, and day 7 13%. If we get to see these numbers, we know we can make the game amazing. 

Another benefit OVIVO Games brings from the publishing side is our in-house bank of features that contains different types of retention engines (we call it a ‘retention machine’). I’ll refrain from going into detail about how we do it. All I can say is that by using our retention machine, we can convert a game that shows “OK” retention into “great” that satisfies our retention and engagement KPIs.

What happens when the numbers don’t add up?

As a rule of thumb, if the game failed to meet our KPIs at the initial test phase, we simply ignore our gut feeling and move to the next game to publish. There are some edge cases where the results were very close to our KPI goals in the first test phase. These are cases where we managed to learn from the data gathered from the first test about what actions we should take to improve the game’s performance.

Then, we invest another 2-4 weeks for tweaks and improvements, and make another test to see if the tweaks worked. If the needle didn’t move at all and there wasn’t any improvement, we move on to the next publishing project. 

How do you come up with ideas for your own games?

By keeping a close eye on industry trends and sticking to them. We look for successful games on Google Play and App Store and brainstorm on what makes them great and addictive. Another thing we do is try to innovate and invent new mechanics by looking up to old arcade games. 

That’s interesting.

To me, hyper-casual games are the modern version of arcade games we used to play in the 80s and 90s. We often use them as a reference, analyze them and try to convert them to mobile games as there are a lot of similarities. 

Tricky Holes by OVIVO Games

What’s it like working with M51?

To have someone like M51 to invest is a big compliment. It’s a huge benefit to be able to work with such active investors – people who put time and effort into helping us make great mobile games, be it through necessary technology, knowledge, skills, or budget.

Finally, what’s next for OVIVO Games?

Our mission is to be a major successful player within the mobile gaming industry. We are a young startup, agile and eager to succeed. Our focus is to build a strong infrastructure by the end of the year, both in terms of HR and technology to support our scaling publishing model. Naturally, that means we are hiring and looking to recruit talented and creative people. 

Right now, you can check us out on our website. We already have a number of super addictive and fun games live on Google Play and App Store – you can give those a try. Many more games are in the oven so stay tuned!

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