Push notifications, or those little pop-ups or messages you get from games while you’re not actively playing them, are an important tool that studios use to keep their players engaged long after they’ve initially installed the game. They’re sometime egregiously used by studios that want to keep their players coming back to water virtual crops or defend from attacks. But when used in a targeted way, they can be quite powerful.
Playhaven says its messaging service lets developers target their users on about 11 different parameters from the time they last played the game to how much they’ve spent to their location and type of device.
“You can get as specific as you want,” said CEO Andy Yang. “You can reach people who have spent more than 10 hours in game, live in China, use an iPad and the first time they ever played your game was two years ago.”
Playhaven isn’t the only one that is building a business off managing push notifications. Portland’s Urban Airship, which has raised nearly $50 million in venture capital, is probably the biggest player in the space, although they cater to far more than game developers. They primarily focus on working with big brands.
Playhaven, in contrast, is a gaming-centric company, and they’ve built a business around helping studios retain and monetize their players through customized messaging and in-app promotions. This company had to pivot at least two times before finding this business model, but since then their network has grown to include 5,000 games, more than 520 million unique users and 130 million monthly active users.
The new push notification product can send players to specific in-game locations. The product is also free for now during the beta, and the company plans to price it tied to how well it performs in terms of generating revenue. Many other competing push notification services are priced around how many active users a developer has, not how actively they use the product, Yang said.
The company already has a handful of studios in the beta including Glu Mobile, FDG Entertainment, The Game Boss, Gamelion Studios, Noodlecake Studios, Turbo Chilli and Game Circus.