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Miloš Endrle, CEO of Geewa – Interview Series

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Miloš Endrle is the CEO of Geewa, a Prague-based developer and global publisher of casual, competitive multiplayer mobile games. Creator of popular game Smashing Four which reached #1 in both the Czech App Store and Czech Google Play charts, and the top 250 grossing games in the U.S. iTunes charts. Founded in 2005, Geewa connects creativity, technology and data to create unique, long-running games for everyone.

What initially attracted you to work in gaming?

I like the combination of creativity and technology, and working closely with players. Prior to starting Geewa, I worked as a software engineer and moved on to a business architect role. I saw an opportunity to bring software design and players closer together, so I founded Geewa to address this opportunity.

Could you share the genesis story behind Geewa?

I started Geewa in 2005 with the aim of connecting creativity, technology and data to create unique, long-running games for everyone. This was the inspiration behind our name. The name Geewa is actually an acronym — Geewa stands for Games for Everyone, Everywhere, With Anyone. We are based in Prague, Czech Republic and are known for developing unique and engaging mobile player vs player (PvP) games such as Smashing Four.

Prague is known for its flourishing arts and cultural scene. It’s home to the largest castle in the world, a beer spa (you can even bathe in it!), and a graffiti wall dedicated to John Lennon. Being immersed in a creative and artistic atmosphere like Prague allows our team to draw on inspiration from different industries and build an emerging market for the gaming industry. With more than 65 employees and counting, our team members are constantly collaborating, growing, and applying new skills to improve the player experience.

Why did you decide to develop PvP games?

When Geewa was first founded, we developed a portal with six games that were free for people to play. We tested with different game genres and mechanics to see what received the highest engagement. We then started to publish our games on Facebook and launched Pool Live Tour on the platform in 2010. Pool Live Tour allowed you to play virtual pool against players across the globe and was played by more than 90 million players. We saw how the power of games can bring people together, which inspired us to create more PvP games and establish a community where players can come together around the game.

Could you discuss some of the challenges behind developing PvP games compared to traditional games?

No matter what kind of game you develop, you will face similar challenges but player liquidity and gameplay balance are key to PvP games.

Player liquidity is key to find a way to deliver enough real players to the game for players to play against each other. Balancing different types of players, the gameplay and features is also a challenge. In a game like Smashing Four, you have to think through how a new hero or character will fit in the current setup, its synergy with other heroes and the whole environment.

Could you tell us about your hit game Smashing Four?

Smashing Four is a PvP game that combines billiard physics, strategy and card-collectible mechanics to create a unique gameplay experience. Players enter the arena and are matched in a real-time battle against players from all around the world. Each player has four hero characters and must smash the other team in a battle to win it all. With each victory, players earn trophies, collect rewards and cards to unlock the abilities of each hero. Players can join a clan and connect with other Smashers to share cards, engage with other players and climb the ranks even higher.

In 2018, Smashing Four reached #1 in both the Czech App Store and Czech Google Play charts, and put Geewa on the map for creating immersive and engaging games.

What was the inspiration for Smashing Four?

After launching Pool Live Tour on Facebook, we released Pool Live Tour: Champions in 2016 and began to work on a new mobile game that utilized pool physics from our Pool Live Tour series, which later became Smashing Four.

With the success of our Pool Live Tour series, we experimented with how Smashing Four can stand out against other billard-style mobile games. We built on the classic billiard pool game and added fun new characters that also reflected our brand. By creating a multiplayer game that is accessible for players around the world, we were able to create a community of players and increase mobile engagement. In the first year of launching Smashing Four, the game reached the top 250 grossing games in the U.S. App Store and had 3.5 million unique players at the end of the year.

What type of players will most enjoy Smashing Four?

Our games are built on well-known principles from the real world and applied to a virtual environment. Billiard physics is currently the core essence of our games and when players open our games, they feel like they know our games even before they play it. That said, players who enjoy connecting with others and like to play classic billiard games will enjoy Smashing Four.

Do you have any tips for gamers who wish to get into game development?

Data should be your source of truth and inform everything you do as you design and improve your game. Without data, you’re working in the dark — you won’t be able to measure your progress, improve in-game features, or understand your players in a meaningful way. It’s behind every piece of the development cycle in the majority of today’s free-to-play games — from ideation, to prototyping, to soft and global launches.

In addition to informing game design and mechanics, data is also helpful in understanding the lifecycle of our players. At the beginning of this process, we look to see what game features are resonating with our core gaming audience by A/B testing interest groups as we kick off a new user acquisition strategy.

However, when you have a first-time player, look for an understanding of the game principles and their level of enjoyment of the core gameplay. These players are evaluated for their likelihood of lifetime value (LTV) in what we call a tutorial funnel, which is observing the number of matches they’re playing and what their short-term retention rate looks like.

Once you know a player understands the core game, take a look at what their in-game progress is like. You want players who aren’t moving too fast or too slow — this balance is key to a PvP game where you’re matchmaking two players who don’t know each other. The core gameplay should be attractive to both paying and non-paying players alike for as long as possible.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about Geewa or Smashing Four?

Geewa recruits top talent and education for game development, giving employees opportunities to learn new skills and own projects from start to finish. If you love games, want ownership of projects and enjoy problem-solving, come join our team! We have openings in Prague across multiple teams. You can learn more here.

Antoine Tardif is the CEO of Gaming.net, and has always had a love affair for games, and has a special fondness for anything Nintendo related.