"Our target audience has changed to producers and game designers," Pavel Ignatov from Balance

We continue to summarize the results of last year. This time we are publishing an interview with Pavel Ignatov, CEO at Balance, a company specializing in gaming LiveOps.

What was the year like for you personally?

Personally, it was a very difficult year for me. In mid-February, the person most dear to me had a complicated heart operation, and fortunately everything went well. On February 24, at five in the morning, I was just going to visit him in the hospital, and when I returned home and found out what happened in Ukraine, I could not sleep for several days.

Nevertheless, during this year I was able not to fall into depression, save the company, withdraw employees from Russia and even make a big leap forward in product development. However, personal problems are not all solved yet.

It’s been a difficult year for everyone, but I’m glad it’s coming to an end.

What was the year like for the company? What have you done, implemented, and what in general would I like to highlight in terms of achievements?

In January, Balance was officially registered in Delaware, before that we worked underground in the garage. Balance has experienced a lot of upheavals this year. We started very cheerfully, having found a need for LiveOps tools from developers, and in February we already had several offers from investors on hand, which burned down on the 24th.

It was very hard to work, many contracts were suspended in an incomprehensible state, but we did not give up. As a result, we closed the pre-sowing round, moved to Cyprus, doubled the team and found some amazing clients and partners. I hope that for someone reading the note, it will be an inspiration or an impetus to action, regardless of the circumstances.

How has the LiveOps market changed over the year?

The biggest shift for the LiveOps market is the awareness of their importance by an increasing number of studios. Previously, only very large studios could afford LiveOps, but today even small teams simply need to initially put such tools into their projects.

This is largely due to the inevitable growth of CPI, which forces developers to look for new ways to increase LTV. We also see that the purchasing power of users is decreasing due to the recession, and eCPM is falling in parallel. Like it or not, we come back to the idea of LiveOps for LTV growth: we need to connect the personalization of offers, hold events, work on the involvement of players so that the project remains profitable.

My prediction: in the new year, much more attention will be paid to the tactics of retaining and converting a loyal audience. The times of unrestrained buying of traffic at any price are passing.

Has the practice of working with gaming companies changed? In what and how exactly?

Our experience with gaming companies has changed radically, because a year ago, Balance did not have a focus on LiveOps. The basic version of the tool helped to operate with game data without inconvenient JSON/spreadsheets, and its value was to optimize and accelerate development. As practice has shown, this idea was very difficult to sell. Our “champions” in most studios were a hundred. However, it was difficult to get to know them, and sometimes they even became our opponents, who punched themselves in the chest and shouted that they could do the same themselves.

After finalizing the functionality for operating LiveOps, our target audience changed to producers and game designers. It is much easier to get acquainted with them at the same conferences and find a common language. But the most important thing is that the value of our product now lies in increasing LTV, which is much more catchy.

What are the main trends in operating gaming products would you highlight at the moment?

Dynamic Store and Limited-Time-Offers (LTO) are two of the most popular destinations among our customers.

Dynamic store allows you to change the content of stores depending on game events, solvency or player progress. If everything is set up correctly, then you can systematically increase the average check.

LTO has almost unlimited potential and is the best way to convert a player into a payer. The task is to guess the segment of players and the moment in the game when they need to offer a certain offer.

If we talk about LiveOps trends on a more ideological level, then we can again return to the challenges facing marketers. They will have to interact more closely with the product team, focus not on the amount of traffic, but the quality of its retention, create custom FTUE (first-time user experience) for players from different campaigns.

What are the company’s plans for next year?

By the end of this January, we plan to open a new round for investment, strengthen the team and continue to help our clients grow rapidly.

As a rule, we develop the functionality that our customers ask for. It’s definitely worth waiting for a system to work with game localizations, adding formulas and graphs to our tables, basic analytics and insights, tools for creating a custom first-time user experience.

We will also create a command center through which developers will be able to quickly get all the necessary information about the game and easily operate their project. Convenience and safety first of all.

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