What did you watch last night? “League of Legends”? “Hearthstone”? “VainGlory”? More and more people are now turning to their screens – tablets, phones, or laptops – to watch other people play video games.
Gaming video content – video of game personalities playing different games – is big business. According to SuperData Research, in 2015 that content is expected to be worth nearly $4 billion worldwide; about 500 million people will tune in to game walkthroughs, trailers, and live streams, and about half of them will make a decision to buy the game or make in-app purchases.
Last year, the top 10 viewed game franchises on YouTube earned close to $5 billion through advertising and sponsorhips; last weekend, popular “Let’s Play” vlogger PewDiePie became the first YouTube personality to surpass 10 billion views.
No wonder companies like Google and Amazon continue to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into video game streaming platforms like YouTube Gaming and Twitch while VCs are backing startups like Kamcord and MobCrush.
Boston-based startup Roostr is making its own play with a new marketplace that simplifies how mobile game publishers connect and collaborate with gaming video content creators to promote titles, acquire users, drive product installs, and engage player communities – all with the goal of generating big dollars.
“User acquisition costs on mobile are more expensive than ever,” said Marco Mereu, Roostr CEO and founder. “Most promotional campaigns rely heavily on Facebook which is more saturated than ever. That’s where we come in.” In essence, gaming video offers a huge audience of new players to help offset rising mobile ad campaign costs by shifting discovery from more costly channels.
“Roostr is the easiest way to drive installations of mobile games through YouTube and Twitch videos,” he said.
Mereu, a game industry veteran and MassChallenge alumnus, said Roostr can acquire gamers through native video content at nearly 10 times the conversion rate of an average Facebook mobile ad campaign. In fact, Roostr recently completed a campaign for Rovio’s “Angry Birds 2” which achieved just that.
Roostr is an open marketplace where game publishers can post ad campaign offers for their mobile titles. The marketplace then connects publishers with registered video content creators who bid on the campaign offers. After a deal is struck and the videos are produced, the campaign is launched and publishers can track every install of their game and how often the views translate into purchases.
“Acquiring users on mobile is very challenging and always evolving,” said Seth Sivak, CEO of Boston-based Proletariat, Inc., “Gaming video content is something we believe strongly in. We gave Roostr a try and were more than pleased with the results.”
The company, Mereu said, has doubled in size to four employees in less than three months while generating revenue ahead of plan. Roostr is focused currently on expanding its relationships with leading mobile game publishers like Kabam, Wargaming, and Zynga as well as top content creators.
“We are thrilled to serve as the conduit for game publishers and content creators to work together in this exciting new area for gaming,” Mereu said.
Timothy Loew is the executive director of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) based at Becker College in Worcester.
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