Skillz Blog

The Newest Skillz SDK Is Here and Armed With Features To Drive Game Revenue

It’s been a revolutionary year for eSports: Epic Games announced that “Fortnite” Battle Royale will receive a whopping $100 million to fund competition prize pools, eSports made its debut at the Asian Games (the second largest multisports event behind the Olympics), and Goldman Sachs projected that eSports revenue will exceed $3 billion by 2022. Concurrently, the mobile gaming market is exploding. With more than 134 million mobile gamers demanding fresh content across every genre, mobile gaming has the highest revenue share and growth rate of any platform, out-performing both console and PC.

In light of the ever-increasing player demand for content, Skillz has internally nicknamed 2018 the “Year of the Game Developer,” which is why this year we’ve released a fully General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant SDK, extensively expanded our Customer Advocacy team, launched a game developer forum, and hired a new SVP of Developer Success and Content. To top it all off, as we enter into the final quarter of 2018, Skillz is thrilled to release our latest SDK 21.0.0, also known as Mercury.

Since its founding in 2012, Skillz has perfected the out-of-game experience, which establishes a fair, regulated, and competitive ecosystem for players to compete for virtual currency and real-life prizes. As 18 million Skillz players average 63 minutes of gameplay per day, Skillz internally touts that we’ve developed an “algorithm for fun.”

How does this high-quality player experience translate into game developer satisfaction? Well, the easy-to-integrate Skillz SDK empowers game developers to leverage a competitive tournament infrastructure, providing an alternative monetization method that is less disruptive to gameplay and generates higher average ARPDAU than in-app purchases or advertising. There is a whole heap of features and benefits that the Skillz SDK delivers to game developers, but the essence of what Skillz brings to the table is exemplified in the early results of the new Mercury SDK.

Over the past few months, Skillz has been testing out the SDK and as of October 16th, we’ve seen:

  • Higher Player Engagement
  • Better Player Retention
  • Improved Monetization and Conversion
    While we’re happy with the results of our initial test games, we’re particularly elated about the initial results of our Mercury Beta Partners. Analysis is still ongoing, but stay tuned for additional data in the near future!

    So without further ado, let’s get into the features that comprise the Mercury SDK:

    Player Levels

    The Mercury SDK introduces experience points and the concept of “Leveling Up” to Skillz-powered games. Similar to many popular gaming titles, Skillz-powered games now provide players the ability to gain experience points (XP) based on the volume of games entered and win rate. Players can Level Up after surpassing XP milestones, which unlock various trophies and awards. As players earn more awards and bragging rights associated with their level, game developers experience higher engagement and retention rates.

    But that’s not all; since roughly a quarter of Skillz daily active users compete in more than one Skillz-powered game, the Mercury SDK also includes system-wide Skillz levels. This not only increases overall retention system-wide but is also an engagement and cross-promotion strategy for Skillz-powered games. So in addition to receiving access to the 18 million players competing on the Skillz platform, game developers now have a new tool for engaging and retaining players at a higher rate.

    Push Notification Optimizations

    Push notifications are highly effective for driving new player engagement and retention. Additionally, push notifications are a great method for ensuring top players continuously re-engage with a game and are prompted to enter tournaments with higher entry fees.

    For years, Skillz partner developers have leveraged push notifications to drive new and seasoned players back into a game. But the Mercury SDK has enhanced push token collection of its new players, which is up anywhere from 50-100%. The compounding effect of collecting has yielded incredible initial results for driving early player engagement and retention rates.

    A New Leagues Experience

    The Leagues screen is highly important for game monetization. In pro leagues, players are competing to attain medals, which are directly tied to winnings. Leagues start and finish every 1-7 days and offer players the ability to rank on leaderboards with the reward of receiving monetary payouts. Top players in cash-enabled, high-DAU games particularly love this feature as they can rake in some serious awards!

    Due to the positive correlation of leagues to game revenue generation, Skillz gave the entire screen a makeover. With a redesigned and more intuitive user interface, new players can quickly understand how leagues work and determine whether they have the skills to compete. Additionally, there is now a precise countdown clock, which encourages VIP players to get their last games in before the buzzer. The result? More game revenue!

    Additional Great Features

    Mercury has three other great features that are coming soon to Skillz-powered games. These are:

  • Open To Play Screen – Empowers user retention teams to send players to the play screen via push notifications.
  • Play Screen Optimizations – Provides new users a clearer understanding of the basic mechanics of the Skillz SDK.
  • Tech Improvements – Powers a number of tech improvements including support for iOS 12 and Android API 27.
    How To Download or Upgrade To The Mercury SDK

    The tried-and-true experience of going live with a Skillz-powered game has just been augmented with the Mercury SDK. With higher engagement and retention rates, as well as enhanced monetization features, the Mercury SDK is available for free in the easy-to-use Developer Console.

    If you would like to hear more about the Mercury SDK and the implementation process, register for our October 30th webinar with Sam Baker, SDK Product Manager and TJ Fallon, SDK Lead Engineer.