In the dynamic world of gaming, innovation often arises from the fusion of unexpected passions and expertise. SuperScale exemplifies this convergence, blending data analytics and gaming to unlock untapped potential within games. In an exclusive interview, we had the privilege of speaking with the founder of SuperScale, Ivan Trancik, who shed light on the company’s origins, mission, and its distinctive approach to driving success in the gaming realm.
Can you tell us about yourself? Your expertise and what urged you to found SuperScale?
I have always had two passions in life, data, and gaming. I’ve spent my whole life working in big data, computer science, and analytics and always hoped I could somehow bring gaming into the picture.
After my studies, I co-founded a company called Exponea which helped e-commerce businesses build revenue through data and analytics. Once I got the chance to work with a gaming company, I saw there was a lot of opportunity in combining my two biggest passions. Applying the same goal of ‘‘finding untapped potential’ to games, I founded SuperScale in 2015. I haven’t looked back since.
Can you tell us what SuperScale does? Which market and what part of that market it focuses on?
SuperScale is the only platform that helps gaming companies not only identify untapped revenue but also unlock it. We have a saying here “Good games never die” – there’s always potential if the core game is strong. This is why we commit to helping our partners identify, quantify and then realize that potential. We can do this for any type of game, whether it’s mobile, web2/web3, PC, or console, although we specialize in Games-as-a-Service.
This means that no matter what the challenge is, we have the technology, expertise, and experience to ensure good games keep making money, regardless of where they are in the product lifecycle. This could be through analytics, UA, monetization, LiveOps, or a combination of them all – whatever it takes.
Please tell us a bit about your flagship products.
Over the past 7 years, we’ve built a robust analytics platform that underpins everything we do and is available as a SaaS offering for external clients as well. It connects all the important sources of data and helps us uncover the hidden potential in games.
Building on that, we have a complete suite of in-house publishing capabilities that you can use interchangeably within our flexible credits system to unlock the identified potential which makes us an ideal alternative to publishers, as we do not require transfer of game or IP.
Our newest and fastest growing product for us is our Legacy Game Management offering, where we take older games and fully manage them without transferring IP. Our partners pay us a share of the uplift we generate, so it’s completely risk-free for them as we’re investing our time, tech, and capital into games that otherwise would fade into the background.
Your focus is on mobile and Web3 games, which also involve blockchain games. Are there any differences between the two? Do you collect and interpret the data or plan the service processes any differently between them?
At SuperScale, our current primary focus is traditional mobile games, but we have also worked with web3 games and see the huge potential of blockchain, crypto, and NFT technologies integrations within games. Of course, they have their differences, but there are most definitely similarities, and further down the line, we see them combining. Lots of Web2 games have started to use innovative Web3 technologies, for example, adding a Web3 layer like NFTs. Quite simply, though, if the game is already bad, adding a Web3 layer won’t make it good, unfortunately.
When it comes to data, the business models certainly fall into the Games-as-a-Service category. But there are some key differences. The first is the new and different data connectors you need for Web3 games that aren’t applicable to, say, mobile.
The second and perhaps most notable difference is a more diverse audience with different goals in mind. With Web2 mobile games, you have players who love to play, interact or spend time in a game, and you can segment players based on this. With Web3, the market also contains crypto enthusiasts, investors, or P2E players who are only playing for cash. So for us, it’s more data, in more places, that are more complex to analyze and optimize than traditional games.
Since data is a major part of your business, do you use artificial intelligence in any of your products or services? If so, can you elaborate on how you use AI?
Since our inception in 2015, AI has always played a part in our business. We use it in different ways, not least in driving the accuracy of our prediction models. For example, predicting the performance of UA campaigns, whether or not a player will interact with an ad or suggest the most suitable in-game item, or more recently, generate a perfect special offer personalized for individual player’s needs. These are some of the main ways we use AI.
It’s definitely changed a lot in recent years, but the ultimate goal has remained the same, helping us be more efficient and precise, which means we deliver a better service to our partners. With new generative AI, we see even more potential to gain a deeper insight into our players and further accelerate the uplift we deliver for our partners.
You offer creative and data-oriented services. How do you blend these to offer added value to your clients?
Great question! If you had asked me about creative services when I first started SuperScale, I’d have said that wasn’t really our focus. However, a couple of years in, I soon realized it made a huge profit-generating opportunity combining creative production with predictive insights at different stages of the player journey, from the first interaction with an ad creative up to in-game offer, thus becoming a staple of our publishing capabilities.
What makes SuperScale different is that we provide a full suite of publishing capabilities to drive performance backed by our analytics platform. Our creatives are optimized for business performance based on data, thus delivering more value than others by finding new winning creative sooner – one of the reasons we work with top-grossing games for years.
Data collection and analysis is usually intimidating for smaller businesses because of the infrastructure, labor power, and expertise it requires. Therefore it’s understandable that such companies require third parties to provide these. But why do you think larger companies work with third parties in this regard? What is your value proposition for such large companies?
That is exactly what I thought when starting SuperScale, but I was completely wrong. We soon discovered that big companies can become a victim of their own success, with their best 2 or 3 games making up most of their revenue, so that’s where they put their focus and resources, while smaller titles not getting the same level of support.
Not only this, but they also end up making a lot of games or buying out other companies and inheriting a huge portfolio, with games at all different stages of the life cycle. And no matter what publishing capabilities and platforms they have, it’s usually not transferable across all their portfolio, or it doesn’t seem cost-effective to that.
This means that smaller games within large gaming groups end up in a similar situation to smaller studios, where their needs outpace their resource, and they see huge advantages from the kind of service we provide. The flexibility we offer is essential – from an analytics platform developed to meet the needs of a wide variety of games, to publishing capabilities offered through our credit-based system, to our upside-only partnerships. This means we can meet companies where they are, even if their portfolio is quite complex. It’s how we have worked with EA, Big Fish Games, and others, as well as continuing to support smaller publishers.
Please tell us your opinions on Web3 gaming and what your predictions are for its future.
Yes, we’ve had the big boom and bust cycle of crypto, but I think Web3 brought through some amazing industry innovations. Especially around in-game economies and digital collectibles through NFTs. In all honesty, I think we’re still in the early stages of how we integrate Web3 with traditional games and gaming experiences. It definitely highlighted that Web3 games still need to be good games if they are to cater to the masses. Many titles didn’t quite get there.
I think in the future; we’ll almost certainly see more features for some genres, like collectible games. But in order to shake off the stigma that comes with the crypto space, companies might market them differently and not as an NFT, even though, in essence, it’s the same thing.
Overall though, I think the future is bright for Web3 games, and it’s exciting to see how they’re going to integrate more with existing games in the Web2 space.
Can you tell us about SuperScale’s future plans and strategy?
Our ambition is to be the partner of choice for all game companies who want to boost their self-publishing capacity and optimize their businesses to their maximum potential. We founded SuperScale with this in mind, and our recent series A funding round gets us closer to this goal. We’re continuing to grow on all fronts, finding new ways to make good games even more successful.
A big part of this is a true partnership model for the companies we work with – and this is key, which is why I’ve mentioned it a couple of times in this interview. We have created and managed bespoke collaboration models with our partners where, depending on the service, we don’t ask for a fee, require an IP transfer and only take a share of revenue uplift. This has supercharged our growth in recent years, and we’d like to continue to build success in this way for game companies of all sizes.