Making the Move and Going Social with Nextpeer
We had the opportunity to sit down with Nextpeer’s CEO, Shai Magzimof, to discuss their newest social SDK.
1. Tell us a bit about yourselves, the team, the vision, the journey.
Nextpeer was founded in 2011 with a simple goal, to help developers add multiplayer to mobile games. We wanted to bring the fun and enjoyment of multiplayer games we had back on PCs to the mobile era. In 2014, our multiplayer SDK was integrated into more than 7,000 games and the gamer activity across the platform was staggering. We started to communicate directly with our gamers and to collect some very interesting feedback. We quickly realized that gamers want more than just multiplayer, they want to connect with the people they play with, communicate, share their experience and invite friends to the games they love. This led us to create the Nextpeer Social SDK – the most powerful social SDK for mobile game developers.
2. Tell us about your new product – what has radically changed in Nextpeer?
The Nextpeer Multiplayer SDK allowed any game developer to add a synchronous and asynchronous multiplayer tournaments into basically any mobile game. Our latest SDK offers much more than that. Once integrated into the game, you get a complete social network with all the functionalities you’d expect in such a network, including player relationships, messaging, a news feed and much more.
On top of the standard social network features, the multiplayer functionality has been further extended. Players can challenge friends for matches, show-off their moves with in-game snapshots and even meet new people by inviting a random player from anywhere around the world for a match.
3. What are the hardest problems you guys solve for developers?
The problems out there for mobile game devs are pretty well known, the top two being discovery and retention. The staggering amount of apps, and games in particular, available today in both the AppStore and Google Play Market makes it super difficult to move the needle for game developers.
When developers use our SDK, they are essentially connecting their game to a community of gamers who play other Nextpeer games. Those players are always looking for new, fun games to play. Discovery is done in a variety of ways, for example, players can check what other players are playing by looking at the stream. This is a revolutionary new channel that can help game developers attract new players to their game.
Another helpful tool the SDK offers is the friends invitation screen. Players can invite friends from various social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp to join them in the game.
“Come play Safari Party with me. Download the game from https://r.nextpeer.com/eyJnIjoiMTIzIiwidCI6M30 and search for my Nextpeer ID 1RP62 or my name Dror Hadadi.”
The SDK also includes a massive feature set to deal with the issue of player retention. As we all know, retaining players is super important in the monetization process for games. For instance, players can interact with others via challenges and messaging. Those generate push notifications and social triggers which can lure the player right back into the game. Research also shows that socially engaged players are more “sticky” and tend to use the game more often.
Even after those basic social features, the Social SDK, much like its predecessor, offers instant multiplayer features that can be integrated into any game. Multiplayer is an important aspect of any mobile that wants to remain relevant in today’s competitive app market. The latest version of the SDK offers even greater flexibility when it comes to multiplayer gaming (now offering three different multiplayer modes – synchronous, hybrid and asynchronous) and it’s now even easier and can be done in even less time. Eager developers can even create advanced multiplayer games where players can see each other and interact in real-time. This can help the game differentiate itself from the rest of the market and capture the value it needs.
4. Which platforms does Nextpeer support?
The Nextpeer SDK supports gameplay across both iOS and Android so that players can interact and play regardless of the device they’re using. Game engine plugins are available for Unity, Cocos2d-x (both versions 2 and 3), libGDX and UIKit. We even have complete open source sample games with multiplayer for cocos2d-x and Unity.
5. How much effort does your new SDK save developers who want to implement multiplayer and social?
Building your own servers, including maintenance and support for cross platform devices is very expensive and time consuming. If someone wants to build a game, the last thing they want to do is deal with databases, Facebook IDs or matchmaking algorithms. Nextpeer takes care of all of that, leaving developers to focus on the really important aspects of their game. It’s up to the developer to decide if they’d like a simple high score challenge or utilize the more advanced capabilities which allow for a fully interactive multiplayer game. The SDK definitely can save months of valuable time.
6. There are lots of social and multiplayer SDKs out there. How do you guys stand out?
Nextpeer is currently the only social layer that can connect a game into a thriving network of players. This allows us to basically guarantee discovery and exposure for games. In terms of multiplayer, Nextpeer doesn’t lock you into one device category or social network, Nextpeer allows players to play head to head regardless of the device they’re using. It doesn’t matter if your players are on Android or iOS, our SDK supports gameplay across both platforms.
7. What does Nextpeer offer to developers who’ve already incorporated a multiplayer solution?
Since the SDK offers way more than just multiplayer, games that currently have an existing multiplayer solution can just as easily utilize it. Our focus is about creating a community within the game so that the game can enjoy better discovery and retention.
8. What if I’m just a single indie developer? Is Nextpeer the right solution for me?
Integrating the SDK into your game shouldn’t take more than a few hours and the basic plan for Nextpeer is free. This makes this a perfect fit for indie developers or anyone that just wants to start out and explore its abilities.
One of our more famous success stories about a game that integrated Nextpeer is 2048 (by Guntis from Estoty Entertainment Lab). Guntis developed the leading 2048 game on Android and is one of the better examples of how a single indie developer can make it big. With very few resources he managed to reach the top of the Google Play Market, overtaking big studios with huge marketing budgets. With Nextpeer, Guntis was able to add amazing social features to his game, features that only a few years ago were only accessible for top level studios and companies.
Another great example of indie success is Muoyo Okome. He was an anonymous indie developer that toyed around with various casual game titles. The thing for him was that his games were all too similar to what was popular in the market. After integrating the Nextpeer SDK into one of his games and making it multiplayer the game soared to the top of the AppStore, netting Okome thousands of dollars a day. In this case, Nextpeer proved to be the game changer in the making of that AppStore hit.
9. Can you share some numbers? How many developers and end users has your platform attracted to date?
Nextpeer has already attracted 7,100 developers who have shipped more than 8,100 games to various app stores. The SDK itself is present in over 175M game downloads and players have already played enough multiplayer tournaments to fill up 10,000 years worth of time.
10. To wrap up, what message would you like to convey to all indie game developers out there?
Life is not easy for an indie developer. Game development is pretty hard by itself, not to mention the battle that ensues post development in the AppStore. Indies need to focus on breaking the “use it once or twice” usage habit that players habitually have.
When we created Nextpeer, we wanted to tackle those issues head on. The Nextpeer platform hosts a very large community of gamers, and by simply connecting your game to Nextpeer, developers can benefit from improved discovery almost instantly. Our social features can boost any game’s retention, and help turn those players into actual paying customers. Integration is super simple and our basic plan is free, there’s hardly any reason why developers shouldn’t at least try it and see how it performs for them.
A big thank you to Shai for sitting down with us and sharing Nextpeer’s latest additions. We can’t wait to see how the new SDK performs and make sure you check it out!