Riz Virk and Mitch Liu have been through pretty much every wave of the shift to free-to-play mobile and social gaming.
They had an early mobile gaming hit called Tap Fish (which even had its own silly moment on The Daily Show). They sold their company Gameview Studios to Japanese gaming giant DeNA. Virk was also an early investor in Tapjoy, which became one of the better-known players in app distribution.
Now they’re back at it again with Midverse Studios, a new company focused on acquiring and engaging users in Android apps. Virk calls this company the “next evolution” in app marketing and user retention.
What Midverse is doing is reminiscent of “offer walls” that were popular a couple years back on iOS where users would download apps in exchange for virtual currency.
But this is a more sophisticated solution.
In Midverse’s new network, Virk and Liu are focused on a metric called “Cost Per Quality Engagement.” Users get more game rewards if they successfully finish a number of tasks across games in the network.
That incentivizes them to keep playing beyond the download. Virk says games in the network have seen their average earnings per user per day increase by 25 percent on Google Play and the Amazon app stores.
“I was frustrated with the high cost of getting users and I wasn’t great users,” Virk said. “They would probably not come back on Day 2.”
So he tried to create something that would get players coming back to games several days after the initial download.
Midverse is competing with a whole range of app marketing networks including video-based ones like AdColony, Vungle and Applifier. Then there are the giants like Facebook, which has built its own formidable app install advertising network.
The company has raised $6.5 million from firms including IDG Capital Partners, Signia Ventures and IDG-Accel China.