Season 3, Episode 4
This is a transcript of one episode of the Samsung Developers Podcast, hosted by and produced by Tony Morelan. A listing of all podcast transcripts can be found here.
Senior Developer Evangelist, Samsung Developers
Chris Benjaminsen, FRVR
Games, Galaxy Store
Chris Benjaminsen, founder of FRVR, the super successful game publisher with over 70 titles on Samsung services. Not only do we chat about monetization and game revenue strategies, but how the FRVR platform has allowed them to scale their global reach.
All music from today's show is from FRVR games, composed by Rasmus Hartvig.
- Publishing on Galaxy Store
- Generating Revenue
- In-App Purchase (IAP)
- In-App Advertising (IAA)
- Interstitial Ads
- Galaxy Badge
- Best of Galaxy Store Awards
- Acquiring Games/Studios
- Diversity and Inclusion
FRVR - frvr.com
FRVR Careers - careers.frvr.com
FRVR LinkedIn - linkedin.com/company/frvr
FRVR YouTube - youtube.com/c/Frvrgames
Galaxy Store (Gold Digger FRVR) - galaxy.store/digger1
Gold Train FRVR - goldtrain.frvr.com
Chris Benjaminsen LinkedIn - linkedin.com/in/chrisbenjaminsen/
Chris Benjaminsen Twitter - twitter.com/benjaminsen
Galaxy Badges - developer.samsung.com/galaxy-store/gsb-promotion
Samsung IAP - developer.samsung.com/iap
Samsung Developer Program Homepage - developer.samsung.com
Samsung Developer Program Newsletter - developer.samsung.com/newsletter
Samsung Developer Program Blog - developer.samsung.com/blog
Samsung Developer Program News - developer.samsung.com/news
Samsung Developer Program Facebook - facebook.com/samsungdev
Samsung Developer Program Instagram - instagram.com/samsung_dev
Samsung Developer Program Twitter - twitter.com/samsung_dev
Samsung Developer Program YouTube - youtube.com/samsungdevelopers
Samsung Developer Program LinkedIn - linkedin.com/company/samsungdevelopers
NOTE: Transcripts are provided by an automated service and reviewed by the Samsung Developers web team. Inaccuracies from the transcription process do occur, so please refer to the audio if you are in doubt about the transcript.
Tony Morelan 00:01
Hey, I'm Tony Morelan. And this is the Samsung Developers podcast, where we chat with innovators using Samsung technologies, award winning app developers and designers, as well as insiders working on the latest Samsung tools. Welcome to season three, Episode Four. On today's show, I'm joined by Chris Benjaminsen, founder of FRVR, the super successful game publisher with over 70 titles on Samsung services. Not only do we chat about monetization and game revenue strategies, but how the FRVR platform has allowed them to scale their global reach. And the music from today's show is from FRVR games, all composed by Rasmus Hartvig, enjoy. Hey, Chris, welcome to the podcast.
Chris Benjaminsen 00:50
Hey, Tony. Thanks for having me. Yeah, so
Tony Morelan 00:52
so I'm excited to chat with you. Because, you know, we've had game developers on the podcast, but never a game publisher. Let me first ask you though, who is Chris Benjaminsen?
Chris Benjaminsen 01:02
Like? That's a good question. Like, if I were to define myself, I think there's like two defining characteristics, like one is I must make things. And the second one is, I detest repetition. So if you come to my place, it's not unlikely I will cook. But it's very unlikely I'm cooking something I made before. So you know, it might be good might not be good, right? But you know, that, that drives and making things like it, it can be origami, it can be computer games that can be like, doesn't really matter, as long as I'm sort of producing something, and then I really don't like doing things twice. Right. You know, like, anything that's routine is just boring.
Tony Morelan 01:41
So you're an explorer, then?
Chris Benjaminsen 01:43
I guess. So. I guess so. Yeah.
Tony Morelan 01:47
So you're with FRVR? What exactly is your role? And what is FRVR?
Chris Benjaminsen 01:53
Like, like, I'm the I'm the original founder, the company, right? You know, and my role today is mostly around working together with massive companies such as Samsung, I lead a team at FRVR that does that. And if you're, if you were to describe FRVR, as a company, we're a platform and a publisher. Okay, so we have a platform that allows game developers to make fantastic games and with all the services that they need to do to do so basically, anything in between a, a game developer and a consumer, and then we also the publisher, we actually make sure that the games get in front of the right user, and they have an opportunity to play those games.
Tony Morelan 02:29
Okay, what does FRVR stand for? It's an acronym, does it have a deep meaning?
Chris Benjaminsen 02:35
No, it's not like, like, a lot of people are sort of asking us if we have French VR company, which we're not. Yeah, but, but like, like, if RBIs is technically forever, without the vowels. Okay, you can trademark FRVR You can trademark forever, at least, not unless you have Apple liberal money, right? So. So if we say if I'm Yeah, because if you could locally use you sort of the full pronunciation you can actually use the trademark. So there's a bunch of stupid rules there.
Tony Morelan 03:07
Interesting. Interesting. So before we dive into FRVR, tell me about your journey. What led you into the mobile gaming area, and then specifically into creating FRVR,
Chris Benjaminsen 03:17
Tony Morelan 03:48
Oh, that's great. It definitely plays into you know, when you first started, you had said that, you know, you're not going to repeat much. So you said seven companies that you've started,
Chris Benjaminsen 03:58
you had all very different companies, and some of them were like, like, like, very small and, and never got successful, anything like that. Right? It's just like the companies apparently gets bigger and bigger every time I try. Yeah, there might be there might be new startups in the future as well. But for now, if RBIs is a very exciting company to work at, and definitely want to want to spend my time.
Tony Morelan 04:20
So I know one of those companies you had started you actually, it was a pretty successful company that you ended up selling. But you came away with that from with a lot of lessons learned, I would say is that correct?
Chris Benjaminsen 04:33
Yeah. So like, like, in a previous life, build a platform company that did infrastructure for cash or mobile, social. And in that company, there was a lot of people building games on top of our infrastructure and 1000s of developers right and, and there was there's a few significant learnings from that. So one was that Building a company that just charges other people for services is not a particularly good business, a lot of money was made by the developers on top of our platform where we are not making quite a lot of money. So you know, make sure that that you actually participate where, where the value is if you want to be a publisher. And then the second learning was that the successful developers were not the ones who had the best at making games, right? So there's, there's not a strong connection between sort of making games that are fun to play and the economic success that those developers were able to see. So if you want to be successful in the game space, and this is particularly true in the in the mobile game space, you need to be good at a lot of other things that has nothing to do with game development, such as a user acquisition, and revenue optimization, and data and all these things. And that, you know, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. But if you are somebody who really loves making kickass games, you're missing the 90% If you also want to be successful at that.
Tony Morelan 05:57
It's interesting you say that, you know, I had on the podcast a few weeks ago, Peter and Tobias from biodome games, they have their game gold digger, FRVR. Yeah. And it was Peter, who had a great quote, saying that he was chatting with one of his partners, who had said, you know, for once, can you stop trying to be so artistic in your games and just build a game that can be successful? And, you know, we all had a good laugh at that.
Chris Benjaminsen 06:23
Yeah. And, you know, I think all industries are like that, right. You know, you probably have to be good at a multitude of different disciplines to be successful. But, but the games industry, being one of the most valuable entertainment industry, two worlds is, of course, also one of the most competitive and that competitive landscape. It's a very, it's a very hard place for, for most people to compete. And, and the market sentiment is sort of dominated by survival. Bias. Yeah. Right. You know, like, like, the people who won the lottery. Yeah. You know, like, like an among us are like Flappy Birds. So like these, these small teams that had an outsized hit, right, but that's like winning the lottery. Good luck with that. Yeah. And
Tony Morelan 07:04
I think a great example of that right now is Wordle, in the phenomenon behind that.
Chris Benjaminsen 07:08
Absolutely. Fantastic game, right. You know, and I like these small puzzle games once in a while to come along. I was like, 2048, as well, which was also originally made, I think, by an Italian game developer, you know, just as a small example, fantastic, fantastic game as well. Yeah,
Tony Morelan 07:25
definitely, in kind of going back to, you know, what I mentioned, Peter, and Tobias, they said that for them, you know, the key to their success was partnering with someone like FRVR, so that they could just focus on creating the game and let everybody on your team handle everything that when it comes to publishing and marketing, so I think there's a huge value with where you guys are in this space.
Chris Benjaminsen 07:47
I hope so. Like, that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to allow developers focusing on making fantastic games. And then we took care of all the nitty gritty details of making those games available. And I think we published the 39 platforms. And then while also helping those developers make sure that the right users come into the games. Yeah, yeah. Because it's not it's not only just about the volume of people who play a game, it's more important to make sure that the right user plays the game. Sure, to get the kind of games that I like, it's not necessarily the kind of games that you like, right, for
Tony Morelan 08:17
sure. So let's talk a bit about the history. How long has FRVR been in existence?
Chris Benjaminsen 08:22
So I think I think technically, they were written, sort of in the integration of the company was founded in must be 2016. Okay. And their written version of FRB apps was decided to be the biggest, baddest lifestyle company you have ever heard of, and sort of sort of allowed me to go and travel the world without having to worry about expenses. And it did that it did that very well. Like, very successfully. However, like I'd had a corporate job in corporate America, I had moved to San Francisco at this point in my life after having sold a previous company and I sort of managed to convince myself that everything that was wrong with my life was working. It turned out everything that was wrong with my life was working for corporate America. And it took me it took me like three weeks and a whole bunch of success to realize that and decide, oh, wow, there's a big opportunity here in what inevitably came if IVR that exists today. Yeah, I teamed up with a guy called Brian Meidell. They joining co-founder came in and we started sort of getting serious about the company a few years after the original founding.
Tony Morelan 09:28
And it was Brian actually, who had told Peter, hey, for once, put artistic stuff aside and let's focus on you know, how to be successful here.
Chris Benjaminsen 09:36
Yeah. And like he's a fantastic executor. Right, you know, and that's, like, due to building big teams and sort of running productions. A lot of repetition stuff I don't like Right, yes. Really good at that.
Tony Morelan 09:48
That's great. So how many employees are at FRVR?
Chris Benjaminsen 09:52
Yeah, so I think we are 130 now. So as of today, but yeah, like we find ourselves in a situation right now, where we are onboarding around 11 new people a month, so you're growing? Yeah, every time you ask that question, the number would have changed?
Tony Morelan 10:08
No, are these people are you focused in one headquarters? Are you guys you know, all around the globe?
Chris Benjaminsen 10:13
we have most of our people in in Lisbon in Portugal. And that's predominantly where we are focusing on hiring okay, you know, post COVID, the world has changed. And, you know, we absolutely accept that some people want to be wherever it is they want to be. So we also we also have offices in Denmark, we have offices in United Kingdom and we have a small office in Malta as well, and a small office in Spain. So we have we have sort of different opportunities for people who wants to work in an office got it. And then the majority of people are now in in disband Portugal. And that's also where we are mostly doing a
Tony Morelan 10:50
hiring you yourself, though you are in the UK. Is that correct? Yeah, I'm
Chris Benjaminsen 10:53
in London, right? You know, I get to I get to be a special snowflake and decide where I want to live. So I live in.
Tony Morelan 11:01
Wonderful. Now under the FRVR brand. How many game studios do you guys have that you're working with?
Chris Benjaminsen 11:07
We are publisher. Right? You know, so? We I think presently we work with around 20. Okay, yeah. Other studios, right? So it's a non-insignificant amount. But we have high aspirations, we want to get to a place where we can work with hundreds, if not 1000s of developers sure to do fantastic things.
Tony Morelan 11:28
So how many monthly players? Do you get playing FRVR games on all channels?
Chris Benjaminsen 11:34
I get to it various, right. Like, like a lot of our success comes from viral traffic. Right. Okay. So active users can range from I got a really bad month, 50 million to get month where we were we peek into, like, like 100 plus million mark. Wow,
Tony Morelan 11:50
monthly active users. That's crazy. Yeah, it's
Chris Benjaminsen 11:53
a lot of people. So far, I think. Like, like it's a number we track. We think we've had around 1.6 billion absolute unique for the lifetime of the company.
Tony Morelan 12:03
Wow. And that is just in you know, you said the 2016 was the start of FRVR.
Chris Benjaminsen 12:09
Have you? I failed to remember it might have been 15. Right. But yeah, like plus minus a year. Sure.
Tony Morelan 12:16
So now let's talk about Samsung and Galaxy store with FRVR, what are some of the popular titles that you guys offer on Galaxy store?
Chris Benjaminsen 12:24
So particularly on the Galaxy store, like we have, I think we have like 12 games live, their most notice would be it's called Tigger, FRVR which, which is built by Peter and team. And then we have sort of our higher end games like a basketball and a hex. And however, we do work with Samsung in other ways, as well, they have this instance type product as well, where we are also present. And we have I don't know; I think we've done like seven or eight different integration with Samsung along the year. So we are sort of everywhere on a Samsung phone, including the Galaxy AppStore.
Tony Morelan 12:57
Okay, so not just the Galaxy App Store. But there's other different platforms that Samsung offers FRVR is involved in.
Chris Benjaminsen 13:04
Yeah, so we work with, we work with Samsung about building an experience in our first integration with what's in the product called Bixby minus one home screen. So when you swipe left on your on your phone, like we will be wearing, we had a cart where there was sort of quick links to our games, okay, we build an instant games type product together with Samsung, we work quite a lot of that together. And we have our games live there. We also have integrations with the with the browser. And like we exploring, basically, a big part of what FRVR is, rather than trying to drag the user to where we want them to be, say, a mobile app store, we try to take the model and turn it inside out and bring people great games wherever they have already decided to want to be because it's very costly to drag a user somewhere else, right.
Tony Morelan 13:50
I see. So if they're already there, you want to make your game available to them.
Chris Benjaminsen 13:54
Yeah, yeah. It's like, you know, if you're, if you're Starbucks, right, people won't care if you can only get it in the airport, you actually have to be on a street corner close to where people sort of walk around, otherwise nobody is ever going to drink their coffee.
Tony Morelan 14:05
Yeah, that's true. That's true. So how did this relationship with Samsung for start?
Chris Benjaminsen 14:10
We met Samsung at a at a conference. And they were like, can you give us games in like, four months? I think was the was the original question. And we got the games to them in two days. So Wow. So the answer was yes. Yeah.
Tony Morelan 14:24
That's a great way to start the relationship. Oh, yeah. So why would you say it's important to offer your game on Galaxy store?
Chris Benjaminsen 14:31
Like, again, you know, that those users there who love the Galaxy store, and we want to have our games available to those users in that space and Galaxy store is actually well performing? Right. You know, it's a Samsung product and Samsung phones are very high-end devices generally. It's very, not only is it it's great to meet a consumer where they are they are also very high value users when people are playing from the front of Samsung Galaxy App Store.
Tony Morelan 14:54
Yeah, in what ways would you say Galaxy store has helped you promote FRVR games
Chris Benjaminsen 14:59
for Is the organic installs a fairly competent product? And it has all the features you would expect as a game developer, right? You know, so, so great access to in app purchases, great access to notifications, great access to distribution, right. But we've also, we also really enjoyed working together with the Samsung Galaxy team. And we have, like, among other things, we have an FRVR category in the galaxy store that sort of exclusive to us. It's only our games. Oh, no, no. And we work together on seasonal featuring and to give feedbacks to us, you know, saying, hey, we think it would be fantastic if we could do some something around Easter, for instance. And then we go and work on that together and sort of find a, a process that works well together for both of us.
Tony Morelan 15:42
That's great. And I'm sure that banner promotions are part of that. Is that
Chris Benjaminsen 15:45
Yeah, Banner promotion, and I can promotions and like there's a lot of tools that Samsung has in the toolbox to help out. Right? Yeah. And then we also push on the Galaxy team to do more. Like we, we've sent a lot of feedback on the on the back-end tools and things like that. And fantastically, it has impact, like we get better product. Right. So for us, that's a fantastic partnership.
Tony Morelan 16:09
Yeah. And that's one of the things that actually pulled me into working for Samsung was how open they were to feedback in wanting to improve their platform. Fantastic. You know, you'd mentioned gold digger, FRVR. Those are the guys they won our 2021 Best of Galaxy store Award for Best instant play game. Awesome game. Awesome. Guys, we were so happy to give that award. Tell me what it did mean for FRVR to have one of your games win a best of Galaxy store award?
Chris Benjaminsen 16:37
It's a privilege, right? You know, and the credit goes to the game developer, they made that game? Yeah. Right. You know, we supported them along the way. And, and of course, came with a lot of feedback and help them with technical issues and things like that. But at the end of the day, you know, we have to be honest about the fact that the great games are made by the great developers, right, and also, as a platform publisher, provide the tools to make that a possibility. But games are fundamentally a creative endeavor. And you need massively traded people to make to make those games. Sure. I'm, I'm a game developer myself as well, right. You know, and I'm almost more proud of some of the games I've built. And, you know, the very successful company that and if RBIs, right, you know, because, you know, so it's sort of like an expression of something where you sat down and said, here's the thing I want to create, and now I've gotten it out. Right. And I think to be as impede completely deserves getting that, that recognition from galaxy.
Tony Morelan 17:35
Yeah. Success for a game definitely revolves around revenue. Tell me as far as FRVR, what has been your strategy for generating revenue?
Chris Benjaminsen 17:46
Like so. So from a, from a technical side, right, you know, we try to we try to make all avenues of generating revenue available in our platform, right. So that means interstitial-based advertisement, it means reward the best advertisement? It means in app purchases, it means subscriptions. It actually does not mean, banner advertisement, we don't do that. Because I don't like it. No, really. But you know, yeah, other than that, like, like, we sort of have all the technical capabilities, and then what we find and what we try to optimize for, it's not revenue, we try to optimize for engagement. Okay. And there's a multitude of reasons for that, like so. So like, one is the fact that I can't remember the specific number, but it's more than 90% of all value that is captured in the game is made by people who play the game more than once. Yeah, right. You really want to have these long engagements with people, right. And another fairly simple reason is it's a lot easier to take a game that has huge engagement, and turn it into a good business than it is to take a game with a with a strong monetization model and turn it into a great game. Right? So fundamentally, everything we focus on all our KPIs, all our visions, and missions are around building experiences that people want to engage with for a long time. And then revenue is something that happens as a result, they're off, rather than being sort of a driving factor. And because we are good at distribution it because we, we are not sort of participating in the race to the bottom that is cost positive user acquisition on App Stores, we can take the privilege that it is to be less aggressively monetizing than some of our competitors.
Tony Morelan 19:22
Yeah, yeah. So let's talk about some of the specifics here, when it comes to, you know, different ways to generate revenue. You know, there's developers out there that may just be getting started in this space. And so I want to help explain what some of those are. So IP is in app purchase, kind of explain, like what is in app purchase.
Chris Benjaminsen 19:39
So new in app purchases, if you can somehow convince a user to pay for something in the game, right, you know, and, and how they pay. It's actually quite different across the world. So Northern Europe or USA, right? America has a distributor for a credit card, okay. But if you're talking about a consumer in India, it's typically through a gift card or something like that. Why? They've gone into install and sort of funded a wallet, right. But the fact of the matter is, what essentially ends up happening is you have you have an experience in your game that the user feels is worth the value of paying for. And again, you know, like, like, like talking about engagement in games, right? Why would a user be willing to, to sort of exchange money for something in a game? And that's typically related to the user's expectation of also playing this game two weeks from now? Right? Yes, they're investing. Yeah, you're investing in your future experience in this game? Right? You know, so. So it's another place where this this long-term engagement becomes very important, right? But a lot of times what people are buying are like, simple things, like more lives, or an item, or whatever it is that sort of, and in some of our games that are multiplayer, we even have people playing for things that are purely sort of cosmetic, buying a different hat, because then other people can see the hat that hat, but the hat, the hat has no function, right? Sure.
Tony Morelan 20:57
So it's just being able to create their own identity, you know, within that game,
Chris Benjaminsen 21:02
it's no different than people buying clothes in the real world, you know?
Tony Morelan 21:05
Sure, sure. So how do you look at your player demographics for getting the best returns on IAP?
Chris Benjaminsen 21:10
I? Well, first of all, that's a per game thing. Right? You know, we have, we have games that appeal to 50 plus women. And we have games that appeal to like, like, a young male audience. Right. So that's, that's very individualized per game. Fundamentally, though, there are some there are some core mechanics that always worked really well, if you can Proposition A user to, to exchange money for time. Yeah. So something where they can progress faster if they if they put money in is typically a very strong mechanic, regardless of who the consumer is. And then, like we do the thing that successful game developers, do, we spend a lot of time looking at data and looking at, you know, what are the flows that leads to a conversion? So somebody's actually putting money into the system? How do we how do we balance those metrics such that we sort of get the most statistical value of, and we use, we use tools such as ad split testing, okay, where you run, run two versions of the game at the same time, and then you measure which one performs better? And then you make that diversion that everybody plays?
Tony Morelan 22:16
Yeah, yeah, no, that's great. I've heard that that is a pretty important aspect, not just in the gaming industry, but just with, you know, ads and marketing to do a B testing.
Chris Benjaminsen 22:26
Yeah, we even do something. It's called multi variant testing, right. And we should not go into the details, but it becomes very complex very quickly.
Tony Morelan 22:33
Sure, sure. So what other mobile game monetization models do you consider like, you know, premium paid apps or paid user acquisitions, you had mentioned that
Chris Benjaminsen 22:43
we did experiment a little bit with premium paid apps, but it's a very, it's a very tough market. And, and it's not, it's not something where we found a lot of a lot of success, like we generally see more successful, and we can just sort of allow anyone to play the games, and not without having that limitation, right. And we do both interstitial based advertisement, which is unprompted and then rewarded video type advertisement, where the user gets a reward for watching an advertisement. But when a user sort of opts to watch an ad, right, you know, so you could imagine that, so this
Tony Morelan 23:14
is during gameplay, there would be a moment where then a video would play, and they would watch that.
Chris Benjaminsen 23:18
Yeah. So a simple example could be you know, that you have just died. Yeah. And you can revive by watching an advertisement and not paying a coin. Okay. Right. So giving the user the choice between, say, watching an advertisement and spending a bit of time versus spending a bit of their money, right, you know, so. And it's a very high value format. Because the user has elected to watch an advertisement. So you know, the users there, yes, you know, they're engaged. And they're just sitting there waiting, right? So advertisements are typically willing to pay a high price for that type of advertising.
Tony Morelan 23:54
And you'd mentioned interstitial ads. So explain what that is for someone who's new to game development?
Chris Benjaminsen 24:00
Yeah. So it's a bit like to have to get on television. So something is happening on your screen, and then suddenly does an advertisement and something else is happening, right? You know, so it's an ad that is that is shown to the user, like interstitial technically means an advertisement that runs before something starts, right. But it's used interchangeably in the games industry to mean like an ad before something starts on ad in the middle of something on that after something happened. Okay, we try to be cautious of using those type of advertisements sort of out of order. Like we don't want to interrupt a user while they're playing. Yeah. So we will typically only put those in. So like, for whatever reason, your game session has ended, and you have just elected to press play again. And that's where we would put in those type of advertisements. You do have games out there, which are you can imagine you're playing a solitaire game and then put an ad pops up in the middle of it right and you have to sit down wait till you can continue your game and we try to stay away from that.
Tony Morelan 24:55
I see. I see. What about subscriptions. Have you guys read any subscription models on your games? So, yeah, we've
Chris Benjaminsen 25:00
run a, we run a few experiments here. And it's a relatively new area of monetization for us. But we have run experiments where our games have been sort of presented as a games club. So rather than having advertisement or having, you know, purchases in the game, you can just play them completely for free if you had a subscription through a third party, right. And some of our debug games to the kind of stuff we're building now definitely lends itself well towards being able to support subscriptions. Subscriptions to free to play games these days, mostly expresses themselves as Season Passes. So you like buy a season pass subscription, and then you get like, extra rewards while you play for a period of time. And then that time period is up. And then you know, you can buy the next season pass as well, or continue your subscription or whatever it is, right. You know, that's, that's the model of like, a, like a fortnight or those type of games.
Tony Morelan 25:52
Got it. So we've talked about in app purchase, AAP, you know, there's another category to monetization called IA, which is in app advertising. And I think, under that falls, the, you know, the rewarded videos, these interstitial ads have also heard of something called offer walls. Can you explain what is an offer wall?
Chris Benjaminsen 26:11
Yeah, we actually don't think we have any games library or footballs anywhere. But it's, it's basically, you know, you can get a reward in your game for doing another action. Right? So again, it's user opt in the use of one something and find alpha wallets typically, like extra coins, or whatever in the game. And to get a get sort of a list of different options for things they could be doing right now to have some level of value. And that can go all the way from, you know, signing up to a website, all the way up to you know, committing yourself to four years of Sirius XM radio in the US, oh, really, you know, or whatever. Right? You know, and as there's different types of reward levels of that, right. So but they can be significant, right. So like that. It's, it's sort of a way for other companies to interact with that consumer and get them to do something that has value to them and date and pay you for that service. So it's a bit sort of a direct affiliate program or something like Okay, okay. Yeah. Okay.
Tony Morelan 27:11
Interesting. So, you know, a lot of what we talked about now have been in game, you know, advertising for monetization. So what about paid user acquisition? So actually going out there and advertising for your game? So you guys are active in that area?
Chris Benjaminsen 27:23
Not particularly, it's something we are exploring, and it is something that I believe it's going to be very important for the future of FRP. Yeah. But historically, it's not something that we done to a huge extent. However, it is an area where we actually partner with the Samsung Galaxy appstore team, where we were looking at what is the best path for somebody who is publishing on the Samsung Galaxy app store to find sort of pockets of uses that can be that can be purchased. Right?
Tony Morelan 27:51
Okay. Okay. So of all these different ways that we've talked about when it comes to monetization, what would you say is the most effective way in why?
Chris Benjaminsen 28:00
And so there's many answers to that what has been the most successful for FRVR suffice advertisement, that has mostly down to the kind of games that we have been building historically. And the kind of games we've been building historically has mostly been the result of the capabilities for the platforms, our games has been available on, which, by and large, have not supported in app purchases. However, if you were to look at where is the most potential value, it's most definitely in the in-app purchase space, right? Like the potential value that you can derive from a single user is larger in app purchases than any other way you can monetize that user, even with subscriptions, right? Make some simple math, you know, rewarded video is considered valuable, right. But if you have a player, sort of watching 1000 ads a month, that might sort of in the United States be worth $20, or thereabouts, where $20 is not an uncommon average transactions for a central user to spending in app purchases, right. And people typically buy more than once sort of the opportunity to create a great business around in app purchases is much higher, and opportunity to create a great business purely from advertisement.
Tony Morelan 29:08
Got it? What would you say would be some advice that you can give for a developer looking to integrate IAP?
Chris Benjaminsen 29:15
like, like, it goes back to what we talked about earlier. Right? You know, build deep experiences, right? Sure. For like engagements, yeah, long engagements, and then then allow people to buy something that they, you know, feel like they're going to get value from a long period of time. Right. And I think an important thing there is you must be trustworthy as a developer. Yeah. Right. You know, like, like, like, the player must trust you to not to screw them over. So if you have all kinds of other stuff into games, where they feel cheated, they're not going to give you their money. Or if you cheat them, they're only going to do it once. Right? Yeah. You know, so you actually have to provide something that brings real value to the user. Otherwise, they're, they're not going to engage with that thing. Right. Like they're not, they're not stupid. They are very clever.
Tony Morelan 29:57
Yeah. So let's talk about a How you guys go about acquiring games for FRVR? What do you look for?
Chris Benjaminsen 30:03
like we look for, for great teams. And I think it's important here that we are publisher, right? So we work with developers who take a fair amount of that total risk of building a game. Sometimes you find the games, right. but predominantly, we work with great teams that is passionate about the game that they're working on. And that's, that's mostly what we look for. Okay. And then we help though, those developers to go and, and build fantastic games, right. But due to the nature of our platform, at least how its structured right? Now, you must basically build the game from scratch on top of stuff. So. So we're not a publisher that can sort of accept a game that somebody's already built, and say, yeah, we'll publish that it's more sort of a cool collaborative co development process, where we work together with developers to create fantastic things that work on top of our platform.
Tony Morelan 30:51
You know, I heard somewhere that between 50 to 1000 games are added to the App Store's every day. So I know it's a huge competition when it comes to games. What's your strategy for discoverability?
Chris Benjaminsen 31:03
I like as we talked about, go to the user where they are, rather than trying to drag them to the App Store where it's very competitive, right. And, like we use, we use all the tricks including branding, like we now have significant volume of people just searching for our games every day, both in app stores and on Google, right. And I truly did that basic strategy of saying let's bring our games to where the users are, has been very, very successful for us, and allowed us to sort of get in front of all of these consumers without diving deep into cost positive user acquisition and things like that. And dental labs though, say they're hyper competitive, it gets very, very hard to get your game there, right. And people talk about all of these things like influencer, marketing, and whatever. And they don't call it user acquisition, but that's just what it is. Right? You know, it's just a different way of doing it. Right. You know, it's all of these hacks to try to get in front of the user.
Tony Morelan 31:54
So are you using tools like creating promotional trailer videos and posting them on YouTube?
Chris Benjaminsen 32:00
We do we do that for some of our debug games, like a game like Wells FRVR. Yeah. There's like there's a content team that creates content for social media. That being you know; YouTube and Facebook and I think we even have posts on Tik Tok. Okay,
Tony Morelan 32:14
so you guys have a ton of experience. Now, when it when it comes to publishing games? I'm sure you faced a few challenges. Can you share some stories and how you overcame those challenges?
Chris Benjaminsen 32:24
A lot of our challenges is around scale. Right? You know, so we have 70 games on 39 platforms. Right. Wow. And that didn't That in itself is a big number, right? To sort of, sort of manage this, like, that's more than 2000 combinations, almost 3000 combinations, right? We also have all of those games in 20 languages. So when you when you sort of factor in those combinations, that's 50,000 combinations, right? And if you want localize screenshots, yeah, that's no way you could do that with humans, right. And a lot of ways we try to solve with technology, right? That's what the what the FRVR platform does, okay, encapsulate just the complexity of trying to do all of these things into sort of a unified platform. And that goes for what is a good experience on the Samsung Galaxy AppStore, like the Samsung Galaxy appstore has specific capabilities and specific API's and specific sort of things that work particularly well on a platform. And if every developer had to consider that for all the platforms we were on, they would be spending none of their time making great games. So we encapsulate that complexity into our platform. And that's sort of the recipe that makes FRVR work. That's sort of removing humans from the equation, basically,
Tony Morelan 33:42
that's interesting. I mean, I can totally see how you guys are able to scale your reach with having so many games, but you've got quite a team behind. So it's not all automated, you still do need to have those employees to support that.
Chris Benjaminsen 33:56
Yeah, but like, 95% of those people work on the platform, right? To build the to build the infrastructure, right. And FRVR is also a company that's been growing quite a lot, I think, okay, two years ago, we were we were fewer than 20 people right? So a lot of the people who actually worked at FRVR Now people who joined us in the last year
Tony Morelan 34:15
so what are some of the trends that you've seen in the in the gaming industry
Chris Benjaminsen 34:19
or hotels that there's a lot of them right you know, there's a like I think the status trend I see is when you have say and among us or a fall guys or a Flappy Birds come out and be successful, like, like older people who try to get success by just following that recipe. Right? Not realizing that the reasons those game were successful originally were sort of a bit of luck and timing. And typically some external factors, like among us grew with discord and discord grew it among us. Yeah, right. And that was sort of sort of the game to play on that platform, right and all the other games in that in that category. By and large failed because it was just like it and not again. But that right and, and a thing I think a lot of people have forgotten is that the game industry is cyclical, right? So you get a new channel it comes out. It's very cheap and easy to get users on it initially. And then that's the value of that platform goes up, it just becomes more and more expensive, right. And people have sort of forgotten. That's how the games industry used to work because mobile came along. Yeah. And stuck around for a very long time to do to sort of these stores that were tied to specific devices. Right. Which, which is something you didn't really have on a on a PC, where there was more open competition on who could sort of have an app store.
Tony Morelan 35:40
Yeah, yeah, for sure. So tell me what is in the future for FRVR.
Chris Benjaminsen 35:45
A lot more high-quality games? Like that's basically our focus right now. We are very fortunate, we just closed out a round funding. Wonderful. Yeah, thank you. And like, the entire theme of that funding is we need, we need games of a completely different quality, right? So we are we are looking for fantastic studios who can come in and build games with sort of that depth that can support in app purchases. That's the thing that we really want to focus on. We want to want to have games that can have people play for years, not just once, right?
Tony Morelan 36:18
Yeah. So as far VR is seeing this growth, what are you guys doing related to diversity and inclusion?
Chris Benjaminsen 36:26
And we do a lot of things, right, like diversity and inclusion is something that we try to sort of have both across our games and across our company culture, right? So it can be everything from I personally created the hex FRVR game. So yeah, I got a nice email from somebody said, I love this game, but it can they call us I can see the different things, right. So making sure that you're aware of the different kinds of colorblind people can be sure, sure. And it also it also means a lot for hiring, like, like, what's the best candidate for the job is not necessarily the person that fits the checklist, the best that you see that you put on your Yeah, other requirements. Yeah, in like diverse teams perform better. So diversity is a is a virtue in the hiring process. And it can be advantageous to hire the more diverse candidate if you have an opportunity to hire too, and like, but it means a lot. Like you have to be mindful of it everywhere. Those like natural biases, right. Now, a simple example of that is that the more bullet points you put on a on a job post about specific requirements, the less likely it is that females would, will apply for a job interesting, like a male candidate would sort of look at a long bullet point and see two things that good and go, Yeah, I could totally do this, right? Where if FEMA will see a long list and sort of say, I can only do two of these things I shouldn't apply for this. Right. So you have to be mindful of those things all the way.
Tony Morelan 37:52
Interesting. Yeah, I think giving someone the opportunity to really talk about their personality, and their value is probably the best way to go about finding that that good candidate.
Chris Benjaminsen 38:02
Yeah. And it's a big part of our it's a big part of our sort of, sort of, sort of hiring flow is the values. Right? You know, we also a, a company in Portugal, that doesn't behave like a Portuguese company, this particular company, company structure in particular is very hierarchical, right. You know, some people might call it a bit old fashioned. That's not the company we are, that's not the company we want to be. So we want people that resonates with sort of a more flat structure, modern ways of working
Tony Morelan 38:34
Wonderful. So if someone is interested, either in working for FRVR, or their A game studio that want to bring their games to you, what's the best way for them to reach out to FRVR?
Chris Benjaminsen 38:45
Like, like, send me an email first, right? You know, and, you know, I'll redirect you to the right person, my email is chris@FRVR.com. So it's fairly straightforward, right? Like, always happy to chat with people who do fantastic things.
Tony Morelan 38:57
Yeah, that's great. And we'll include links in the show notes too much about what we talked about today and into FRVR websites. So Chris, I got to say, it was great to have you on the podcast. I love learning all about FRVR and what you guys are doing but let me ask when you're not working for FRP or what is it that you'd like to do for fun?
Chris Benjaminsen 39:15
I find most of my spare time is taken up by you know, walking the dog, or, you know, cooking food if it's some like I'm probably not good at cooking food in the winter but you know, like I like to grill outdoors and whatever right you know, and I actually try to keep a fairly strict work life balance Wonderful. So you know I am one of the people who like go into the office but mostly yes a way to not work while I'm at home.
Tony Morelan 39:40
That's great. Well hey, we're just about to hit the springtime of the year and soon will come summer so I'm sure you're going to enjoy lots of outdoor grilling when the when the season comes.
Chris Benjaminsen 39:49
Hopefully, you never know where they're somewhere in London. Right? You know, that might be like two days where it's impossible. That's
Tony Morelan 39:56
awesome. Hey, Chris, really appreciate you coming on the podcast today.
Chris Benjaminsen 39:59
No, thank do so much for having me.
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Tony Morelan 40:17
The Samsung Developers podcast is hosted by Tony Morelan and produced by Jeanne Hsu.