Two of the biggest and most daunting challenges in the games sector are enticing gamers to try new games and getting them to be highly engaged within the game (i.e. longer and more frequent game play). It goes without saying that, as a first step, the game itself must be fun and engaging, but this is often not enough to get them to play, let alone be an active gamer. In a world where there’s and endless amount of games, particularly online, social and mobile games, it’s increasingly difficult for game developers and publishers to get their games noticed. Enter Giftiz.
Giftiz, which is launching today on Android (Google Play), is an app which seeks to help game developers and publishers create and attract more active gamers through offering various incentives. Gifitiz is the first offering from recently launched French startup, Purple Brain,which was founded earlier this year by Jonathan Ferrebeuf, the former head of business development for Boostr – Acute Games, and Etienne Rugeri, previously responsible for the development of several of Air France’s apps. When developing Giftiz, one of the first key calls they had to make was deciding which platform to launch it on. Ultimately, they chose to focus first on Android/Google Play due to their belief that it’s more attractive from a competitive perspective, less restrictive, and offers a real opportunity to tackle head-on the monetization problem (particularly for freemium games on Android).
In order to encourage gamer engagement, they decided to structure Gifitiz around three main themes: Game discovery, Achievement (via completing ‘missions’), and Rewards/Incentives. The first theme, game discovery, focuses on exposing gamers to new, great games. In order to attract more gamers and transform them into active users, it is imperative that the games themselves be of high quality. Ferrebeuf, who is responsible for the business side of things, focused first and foremost on attracting these ‘great games’ to Giftiz’s platform via establishing partnerships with numerous game developers and publishers. Purple Brain has already started working with several solid French partners including Iopixel, Bulkypix, Boostr, Naoplay, The Pixelizers and G-Xo Game and are currently discussions with US game developers and publishers.
Once gamers join Gifitz and download partner games, the theme of achievement comes into play, as gamers are then incentivized to complete various in-game missions. It is through these missions in particular that Purple Brain wants to deepen users’ engagement with the game. However, designing an effective mission can also pose a challenge. Currently, it’s the partner game publisher, studio or developer who determine what the mission should be. However, overtime this may evolve as Purple Brain anticipates that as more missions are completed, they will gain valuable knowledge about gamer behavior that can be leveraged by partners to refine and improve the effectiveness of missions. Finally, once the gamer achieves the mission(s), he or she is then rewarded points which can be used to win real, physical gifts such as Amazon gift cards, iPods, Kindles, XBox 360, etc. Another way to earn points is by spending on virtual items within games. This offers game partners another attractive benefit as noted by Ferrebeuf “We (Purple Brain) want to send our partners gamers that play and pay in as many games as possible.” One logical challenge to this type of system is that does run the risk of confusing the user. To avoid this, they are doing quite a bit of work to make the app and interface simple, clear, and transparent for gamers.
Although Giftiz is a bit distinct in that is, as in the words of Ferrebeuf, “we are in-between a meta-game and ad-network”, there are, of course, other companies such as Tapjoy that are in the business of providing incentives to download various apps. However, most of these players apparently tend to focus more heavily on driving downloads rather than user engagement. A game is, obviously, of little use to game developers and publishers if it’s sitting on the gamer’s device an not being played. What Giftiz is offering, could go a long way in helping to tackle the on-going challenge of how to not only drive game downloads, but also achieve active user engagement.
If you are a game developer, publisher and/or a gamer, make sure to check on Giftiz on Google play here!