Mini Golf MatchUp Interview With Scopely's Andy Kleinman
Some of the coolest smartphone and tablet games take the world by surprise. Such was the case with Mini Golf MatchUp for iOS and Android. Scopely's addictive title didn't have a well-known license attached to it, and despite that fact, thousands of players helped make it the number one free game on the App Store for over a week. There were issues, namely lag and too many ads, but as we soon learned from Chief Business Officer Andy Kleinman, the studio will do whatever it takes to improve this enjoyable asynchronous multiplayer game.
Mini Golf MatchUp shot up the iOS charts rather quickly. How do you explain this high level of success?
We have a network of several million active users who are avid fans of our games, and our targeted cross-promotional campaign was very effective.
Asynchronous games have grown in popularity on mobile the past several months. Is this the preferred way to go, over real-time multiplayer?
We are interested in all types of social mobile experiences, but we do believe that asynchronous games are extremely well suited to mobile devices. To that end, the Scopely platform is currently optimized for asynchronous social experiences. Not only do we have the technology and server-side infrastructure to support asynchronous games, but we also have great expertise with regards to distributing and monetizing these types of games. We see the value in real-time multiplayer games as well, and are developing tools and technology to support these kinds of apps in the future.
We noticed an achievement that asks players to review the game on the App Store. Don't you think this is a bit unethical? Wouldn't users be more inclined to award the game a perfect score if there's virtual currency attached?
This is a fairly common practice for mobile games and we don't reward users with more or less virtual currency based on how they rate the game. To the contrary, we encourage user feedback and want to hear both positive and negative feedback so that we can continue to improve the experience. We feel that incentivizing our users to give us their honest criticism is the best way for us to understand how to improve our games and keep making apps that people love.
What are the downloadable content plans, especially with the game being so popular?
We will be releasing additional content for Mini Golf MatchUp in the coming weeks. For example, we have some very exciting new courses being designed, and we think that these content updates will help to keep the game fresh for existing users.
Is your team equipped to deal with a game that is so huge right now? What hurdles do you face moving forward?
We're absolutely equipped to deal with a game that is seeing such incredible success, and our plan was always to achieve this kind of success with our third-party games. We have worked over the last year to ensure that our technology resources were scalable and capable of handling a major launch. All of Scopely's games have made it to the Top five on the iOS Store, and each launch has been more successful in proving the value of the Scopely network.
Like many startups, we want to continue to hire the best engineers, artists, product managers and data scientists in the world, but consider this more an opportunity to bring in great talents versus a hurdle. We feel that our team is amongst the most talented in the mobile gaming space, and we are committed to maintaining the high bar of excellence that we have set.
We noticed some issues, namely intrusive ads and lag. How do you plan to address this in future updates?
We've received some very helpful user feedback regarding ads and lag times. We are currently making improvements to the way that our ads are served and overall gameplay. The beauty of creating a mobile game is that we can constantly improve the experience, and our team is busy making sure that the game is as smooth as possible.
How important was it to do a simultaneous launch across iOS and Android? Is that the key to mobile success these days?
We don't think this is the only route to success, but releasing on iOS and Android certainly helped us reach the most customers at launch. Having Mini Golf MatchUp available on both platforms allowed for maximum exposure. The experience is identical, users can play each other across devices and it allowed our network to grow at a much more rapid pace than it would have if we had only released the game on one device at a time.
Are people making in-app purchases? How soon until you turn a profit?
People are making an overwhelming amount of in-app purchases and we are beginning to climb the top grossing charts. We don't disclose revenue as we are a private company, but we can say that Mini Golf MatchUp is already a profitable game.