Remember Tiny Tower? After huge breakout success at launch in 2011, over the years developer Nimblebit started to shift resources away from the game, and it went into ‘autopilot’. It was even removed from Google Play for a while.
Well, now Tiny Tower is back, and it’s making decent money again. It is now run by SuperScale, a game management agency. CEO and founder Ivan Trancik tells us that before his team took control of the game, it was far from fulfilling its potential.
“The game had a very loyal and stable existing user base, but was also attracting a lot of new players,” he says. “We looked at the game holistically as a business – at how much we think the game should be earning, and how much it was earning. This is where we discovered that actually this game has been absolutely undervalued – it’s a great game with a great community, it’s got longevity…”
So Trancik’s team got to work on Nimblebit’s behalf, and after tweaking some of its monetisation and retention design, boosted monthly revenue from around $50k per month to over three times that by the end of 2022, according to Appmagic data (above).
It’s a trick that Trancik believes he can repeat on countless other legacy titles. “We see a lot of undervalued assets in this business,” he continues. “If somebody takes a good look at a publisher’s existing portfolio, cancelled or even soft launched titles…suddenly you discover this whole universe of growth that does not rely on UA. Obviously not every game is a good fit for this, but many of them are.”
Liberating these high potential games from within larger publishers was once proving difficult though, says Trancik. Most publishers just don’t want to invest in their catalogue titles. So SuperScale started offering its own money to manage the game, giving publishers a share of the growth that comes from that.
It seems to have worked – SuperScale is currently managing 10-20 legacy titles for several publishers, and also helps launch and soft launch games for other clients. Trancik says he also hopes to announce two or three more publishing partners later this year, and the company raised a $5.4m Series A back in June. The firm now has around 70 staff, and offices in Bratislava, Gdansk, London and San Francisco.
“It’s the nature of the business that developers and publishers move onto new games and publishers end up with these massive catalogues,” adds Trancik. “They obviously cannot fully support each and every one so they have to pick their battles, but don’t want to sell it or they want to keep the IP…we see a lot of value there.”