Case Studies > Voodoo

How Voodoo identifies hundreds of hit titles with GameAnalytics

Learn how GameAnalytics helps Voodoo get predictive insights about early-phase games and gather crucial feedback based on data.

Voodoo

Challenge

Taking a game from an initial idea, through prototyping and on to a successful launch is a difficult task for even the most talented of game developers. Arguably, this is even truer in the hyper-casual space, particularly when you consider the short lifespans of these types of games. For publishers like Voodoo, using programmatic data to identify titles with the best potential is key to their continued success.

Solution

Voodoo uses the GameAnalytics Metrics API to easily track and analyze KPIs across thousands of soft launch titles. With the Metrics API we make all of their partner data quickly available in their own internal systems, so they can shortlist the most promising new titles from hundreds of different games pitched to them each month. They’ll usually evaluate by reviewing core success indicators, such as D1 and D7 retention.

Interesting facts

About Voodoo

If you’ve paid any attention to the mobile gaming landscape over the past few years, you’ll have noticed some interesting shifts in the market. One of the most talked-about is the emergence of the “hyper-casual” genre, a category of free to play mobile games which are typically quick to produce, played in short sessions with simple core loops, and primarily monetized with ads.

In just a few short years, Voodoo has released a string of hyper-casual hits. Since 2016, they’ve published more than 15 games which have reached the top 20 in the App Store charts. In fact, they’ve had such a meteoric rise to success that the name ‘Voodoo’ has almost become synonymous with the hyper-casual genre itself. Clearly, their efficient, data-driven strategy is working and fueling their success.

Just a few of Voodoo's highlights

 Paper.io

Paper.io

60+ million downloads
Released: Dec 2016

Snake VS Block

Snake VS Block

177+ million downloads
Released: May 2017

Dune!

Dune!

55+ million downloads
Released: Oct 2017

Rolly Vortex

Rolly Vortex

55+ million downloads
Released: Aug 2017

Helix Jump

Helix Jump

452+ million downloads
Released: Feb 2018

Hole.io

Hole.io

177+ million downloads
Released: May 2018

Topping the charts

Speaking at Casual Connect Europe in London, CEO Alexandre Yazdi said that Voodoo was on track to reach 1 billion downloads for its games in 2018. In fact, as of 2020, Voodoo games have now been downloaded more than 4 billion times. Yazdi commented that “the Voodoo process is less of a secret and more of a mindset… a way of working.” Here’s a look at how this has translated to some of the publisher’s most popular titles.

Where it all began

Voodoo started as a small team developing and releasing their own games. They weren’t immediately successful, and what originally began as a failed attempt to bring their titles Bool and Quiz Run to market set in motion their journey of honing mobile games UA and publishing. After optimizing their approach to UA and monetization, Voodoo developed and published the chart-topper Paper.io, which became their first major hit in 2016.

Developers should focus on building games that people around the globe want to play, not just what appeals to them personally.

Speaking on the topic of breaking into games publishing, Hugo Peyron, Publishing Expert at Voodoo, says “it was a case of developing and fine-tuning their knowledge of user acquisition to get the most value from their players, simply in order to survive”. You can find out more about the early days of Voodoo in this interview from 2017.

These first few releases taught Voodoo two things. Firstly, the most successful publishers need practical experience in many areas of game marketing. Secondly, if they really wanted to make the most of their knowledge of user acquisition and monetization, they would have to apply this to more titles than just their own.

A shift to publishing

Voodoo decided to shift their efforts and apply what they’d learned to the wider market, leveraging their skill set to launch several games at any given time. In order to scale quickly, they wrote a script to scrape the Google Play store, allowing them to quickly compile the details of thousands of studios for outreach campaigns.

This efficient approach, combined with data collection and analysis using GameAnalytics, helped Voodoo to identify a new game called Fight List (based largely on its promising D1 and D7 KPIs). It quickly became a hit on the App Stores, reaching #1 position in more than 40 countries. The key takeaway here: Voodoo’s publishing strategy streamlines the development and review process, while minimizing the commercial risk of launching several titles.

Identifying core potential

When it comes to predicting the success of a title, simply playing the game is rarely enough. Data is key for recognizing the games with the greatest potential, and Voodoo reviews this data with user-level access to multiple studios at any given time via GameAnalytics. They work with very flexible KPIs, looking at D1/D7 retention, playtime and CPI.

For us, a key benefit GameAnalytics offers is insights into the retention of studio partners. We look for the highest numbers possible. If a game has low retention, we will kill it.

Voodoo has now become a world leader at finding and refining diamonds in the rough, using GameAnalytics to see critical KPIs (and even game error logs).

Tracking an entire portfolio

Once a game has been released, GameAnalytics still plays a role in ongoing optimizations and tracking performance for pretty much all Voodoo titles. With the Metrics API, Voodoo is able to track all important health metrics across their entire portfolio.

At the same time, product managers, game designers, and even partner developers work together, using GameAnalytics as a way to regularly monitor and optimize the lifecycle of each and every game they have chosen to publish.

A word from Voodoo

“At Voodoo, we review a lot of prototypes and games each month. Thanks to the data collected with GameAnalytics, we’re able to help our partners with upcoming trends, clear creation guidelines, features to increase retention, and a unique ideation process.”

“One of the great perks of working as a publisher is seeing how the titles of enthusiastic developers can be optimized to make a huge impact on their success. With the many different GameAnalytics SDKs and the Metrics API, we can synchronize insights and feedback with our partners and streamline the consultancy process. Using data to make judgments and informed decisions have proved critical to our success.”

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