Digital Pill: A case study by Unity
Development and publishing studio Digital Pill care most about bringing amazing gaming experiences to as many people as possible. In order to realize their aspirations, they decided to look into third-party app stores. That’s how they discovered the Unity Distribution Portal, and how they could make their international publishing plans come to fruition.
To reach as many global gamers as possible without tying up limited studio resources finding, engaging with, and managing disparate developer portals
Egor Tarasov, CEO
Ivan Shirinkin, CTO
Aleksey Merzlyakov, Producer
Finding and entertaining players worldwide via the Unity Distribution Portal
Digital Pill’s footprint has grown in recent years due to the popularity of its tactical RPG, Chaos Lords. Still, they are looking to grow well beyond the two most commonly used app stores for mobile game distribution. They know that finding more markets means finding more players, and they are not afraid to venture into little-known waters to make that happen.
- UDP’s simple hub-style platform allowed them to move into new markets quickly
- Released Chaos Lords on QooApp, TPAY, ONE store, and Mi GetApps with little to no friction
- Unlocked their game to over 40 million new monthly active users (MAUs)
Putting players first
Digital Pill has an uncommon definition of what success means in the gaming industry. Instead of tying everything back to revenue, their real proof of success is if they’ve helped make mobile a more enjoyable and engaging experience for players. That’s what they’ve strived for since their inception four years ago. And they didn’t just want to limit this experience to players on the Google Play store and the Apple App Store, but instead sought additional global and even some lesser-known markets.
Tarasov and the other nine members of Digital Pill used Unity to build Chaos Lords with these values in mind. Rather than try to reinvent the wheel, they took well-known mechanics and popular styles and applied them to original gameplay and narrative elements. The result is a story-rich real-time 2D tactical RPG that defies expectations while never compromising user experience.
Winning formulas, new frontiers
Since Digital Pill’s goal is to make players happy, and to give them an outlet for adventure, they wanted to make Chaos Lords available to more gamers worldwide. However, they needed to be able to move into some untapped markets without diminishing their development efforts or risking their resources. That’s why they chose to expand their reach with the Unity Distribution Portal.
Staying ahead of the curve
Tarasov reasoned that current trends in more well-known app stores would lead to alternative marketplaces becoming much more popular in the coming years. This chart obtained from Newzoo supports that assumption, projecting a whopping $17.2 billion in revenue from third-party app stores by 2022.
Digital Pill knew that distributing to these stores ahead of their competitors would create more opportunities for sustainability and viability, while also understanding that players in those stores want access to more high-quality games.
“The timing was very important, as today Google and Apple are under growing pressure (e.g., tax and monopoly issues). Our bet is that all these moves will eventually bring more people into alternative stores, and besides that, alternative stores need more quality content, so these two factors brought us to UDP.”
One portal, one billion people
Digital Pill also saw a lower barrier for entry into these stores since they are centralized in the UDP developer console. Since only one build is required, and UDP creates SDKs for each of the stores they targeted, they knew distribution would be substantially easier.
“Step by step we released Chaos Lords on QooApp, TPAY, ONE store, and Xiaomi. Soon we’ll be on Huawei’s AppGallery and the Samsung Galaxy Store too,” Tarasov says.
As cost-effectiveness and stable workflows are high priority items for the team, signing up for these stores and submitting Chaos Lords needed to be as frictionless as possible. The centralized hub experience offered by UDP provided this solution.
Easy to learn, well supported
Tarasov says that while the Unity Distribution Portal had a slight learning and implementation curve in the beginning, its knowledge base and support team helped him overcome any challenges.
“From an initial integration and usage perspective we faced very minor issues – 9 out of 10 were solved just by reading the UDP and store documentation. I also want to highlight the amount of enthusiasm and support we received from the Unity team, including customer support personnel and managers with whom we were in touch during this whole process.”
This meant there were no barriers to Digital Pill’s ability to begin reaping the benefits of placing their game in UDP’s partner stores.
Offering more value to stores and players
UDP enabled Digital Pill to bring Chaos Lords to an even larger global audience by eliminating the resource drain and time commitments that would normally come when submitting individual game builds to individual stores.
The whole experience has empowered Tarasov to deepen his studio’s relationship with store partners.
“We are constantly thinking of opportunities to collaborate and interact with the stores, such as possibly doing branded servers (exclusive to certain stores) and special content to drive better retention of players. We think this is the future: to see the store not just as a traffic source, but as a long-term partner, which will bring additional value to our end customers.”
So thanks to UDP, these “chaos lords” have found a great way to bring a whole lot of order to their mobile game distribution plans – partnering with stores around the world that have access to incredible numbers of eager new players.