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Every week, literally thousands of mobile games are added to the App Store. How does your studio make sure your game stands out in the crowded mobile marketplace?

These days, it’s no longer enough to just make a great game. You’ve got to make sure that your potential customers can see the game, and that you can also remain profitable as you continue to develop it. That’s why many game developers end up partnering with mobile game publishers.

With how easy it has become to self-publish an app or game, it may seem a little overkill to work with a publisher. After all, mobile games don’t need physical boxes or storefronts. But a mobile game publisher does more than just help you get your game listed and promoted.

What the mobile game publisher offers

Mobile game publishers typically have a wealth of experience in the games industry. Some may even have published their own highly successful first-party games. Beyond the app store listing are a ton of considerations and KPIs, like monetization, engagement rates, liveops roadmaps, user acquisition and creative to support that, and more. These publishers also occasionally have their own proprietary data analytics or user acquisition software, or growth strategies that have been tried and tested on previous games. Some may come with existing platforms and valuable industry relationships built over years of partnership.

In today’s highly competitive market, having a great game and great live operations is, sadly, only the beginning. The difference between success and failure, even for a successful game, pretty much boils down to having a finely-tuned, ever-adapting UA strategy, and then having substantial financing to then scale the game using that strategy.

Thus armed, mobile game publishers can then help their partners to scale games.

Scaling with superpowers

As a small developer, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds of game design and not focus enough on the big picture, which is to scale profitably. By partnering with a mobile game publisher, a development team will have the benefit of a growth team that helps them make the right decisions about the game.

On top of everything mentioned above, mobile game publishers can provide production and marketing expertise as well as define launch and live operations strategies and services. Yes, it’s not just UA that a publisher can help with. Most publishers are also able to provide cross-promotion between their games, optimization on in-game special offers, engineering and tech assistance, and even game design and balance.

In short, a development team benefits greatly with a mobile game publisher behind it. With someone else worrying about and dedicating their entire day to figuring out monetization, user acquisition, and more, the dev team can focus on making a great game.

Opening doors

Depending on the terms negotiated, a mobile game publisher usually is able to provide advice (and therefore access) to markets that the team may not be familiar with. Having local industry knowledge and contacts is important when venturing into foreign markets. What may be fun and engaging in the United States could be highly insulting in Thailand.

And of course, scaling a user base to profitable heights is also very capital intensive. User acquisition costs are the single biggest operations expense for mobile games, dwarfing salaries, live ops costs, office space rental, et al, not to mention they have to run all the time. Successful games can spend tens of millions each year on constant marketing. The amounts that are invested upfront in this area are not always affordable to smaller teams, but they are accessible through mobile game publishers.

When you consider that mobile games can take up to 6 months or even a year to start recouping any return on their initial investment into user acquisition, having financial support gets more important than ever.

Scaling with NSP

At N3TWORK, we were able to take the data and technologies from publishing and scaling our own first-party game, Legendary: Game of Heroes, to fuel NSP — the N3TWORK Scale Platform. NSP isn’t just about surfacing data for scaling games, it’s also about partnership. That’s why we’re offering a $10,000 UA ad test to help us connect with potential partners.

Come try NSP today at