How to Evaluate Your Mobile Project to Sell It by@zimad

How to Evaluate Your Mobile Project to Sell It

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Being able to sell a game is just as important as developing it. So what should you pay attention to sell a game? Here is step-by-step advice from the expert.
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ZiMAD is mobile games developer and publisher. We do projects that both we and players enjoy!

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When it comes to the consolidation of companies or assets, let's talk about M&A, which stands for mergers and acquisitions. It's often a lack of such experience by novice mobile developers getting their games off the ground that stands out the most.

M&A deals might be regarded as daylight robbery, with assets of little value put on sale.

But the fact is, no one needs worthless assets, so most products are supposed to be a bargain that gives you a new competitive edge, and they should diversify your portfolio. Simply put, it's a true benefit for both seller and buyer.

With the right approach and careful attention to legal aspects, M&A is a transparent partnership that increases profits and frees up additional resources.

The Best Metrics and Game Genres for Selling a Mobile Project

After observing the market for years, we have seen how trends emerge and how quickly they disappear (runners and "Squid games" are the best examples here).

Such projects won't enrich the portfolio of casual publishers, as they are quickly losing ground on the market, which is constantly in flux.

To figure out what has good potential, one should take a closer look at the merge genre, which is quite common but still interesting. Various casual 2D merges, with meta and hybrid merges, combined with other match mechanics that sprout out on the market.

We also see publishers experimenting with merge mechanisms by adding dice of different shapes and sizes, number blocks, and unusual meta. Not all of these experiments will hit the jackpot, but we're sure that new hits are coming in just a while.

Surprisingly, lots of companies are not ready to say "goodbye" to old-school classic mechanics like Tetris and crosswords. There is still some space for really successful projects.

What a Potential Buyer Expects to Find In a Project

Here, in ZiMAD, we study every single game that the developers offer us. As a rule, we weigh over twenty parameters and compile a scoring table regarding the genre and metrics, we closely monitor the market, and we:

  • Research possible audience overlap (geo, age, gaming motivation, psychological profile)
  • Analyze how often people play games; what is the average time spent playing?
  • Evaluate the marketability (opportunities to buy quality traffic for a relevant price in social and play networks)
  • Focus our attention on monetization (estimate potential advertising revenue and in-game purchases, as well as RPD).
  • Our ASO department studies the landing page and evaluates how we can increase the number of organic installs by applying our marketing expertise. We also assess store position and keywords used, size tech features — code maintainability, architecture, ads, and analytics modules integration. Sometimes, a product is created on an engine that is not widely used, so you have to hire a team of unique specialists to handle it.

Unobvious Reasons Why Your Sale Can Fail

Remember that a studio looking to buy considers both your benefits and possible risks. Try to look at your project through the eyes of a prospective buyer, and note the red flags that might keep them from purchasing your project. Here are some cases we've come across:

  • A project uses misleading ads to gain traction, showing content that has nothing to do with actual gameplay. For instance, Solitaire might be advertised as if it's a block puzzle.
  • A project shows impressive first-day metrics and has stunning graphics but few levels. Turns out that it takes a whole month for a team of highly-skilled artists to create a new location, while enthusiastic players only need a couple of days to complete it.
  • At the same time, this game is monetized with ads. This business model just doesn't work out: the costs of creating content (polished but dramatically sparse) are rocketing up, but the average revenue does not cover the development and operating expenses.
  • One should be wary of "honeymoon" traps; it's when a platform provides a few tens of thousands of quality users at a low price and promises high rates of return. It might seem that you've struck gold, but only a month later, algorithms won't be able to select the required number of such players anymore, and prices will rise while the metrics drop. This will result in 10-20 thousand installs per month with no opportunity to scale up.

Domino Online: A Case of Successfully Selling a Game

When we first encountered Domino Online, its metrics were mediocre at best. We focused on the main goal of our cooperation: increasing the revenue. The main driver of M&A deals is the synergistic effect that results in improved game metrics and profit growth.

First, we made some in-game changes to improve the metrics: we developed and visualized a clear tutorial for players and updated UI (thorough redesign of the lobby, level-complete animations, enhanced pop-up designs). We also added new sound effects and expanded localization options.

Changes in marketing campaigns also made a difference: we upscaled UA campaigns and organic growth, extended geo, and applied new ad networks.

The result was more than rewarding, with the app acquiring traffic growth. It also ranked #2 (by installs and IAPs) on iOS global and even #1 in particular regions (RU, EG, SA). Comprehensive efforts in ASO led to better game visibility in stores.

After the improvements, Domino Online got 2 million more users, its number of players tripled, and its advertising revenue on iOS and Android increased fivefold.

What Are the Results?

There's always a place for a high-quality project in our domain. As we've seen so many times before, puzzles with the simplest mechanics and 2D graphics created by a tiny team or even an individual can easily make it to the top (ranked by ad impressions, for example).

And yes, they can hold their leadership for years, surpassing globally renowned market leaders like Angry Birds, in terms of revenue.

It's always more profitable to build businesses together: by selling a game to the right partner, you can increase the efficiency of your business, gain new expertise, and amplify the performance of your company.

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by ZiMAD @zimad.ZiMAD is mobile games developer and publisher. We do projects that both we and players enjoy!
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