“One thing to look at and maybe to help focus your efforts is look at your D1 (Day 1) retention and D7 (Day 7) retention,” Amitt Mahajan said during Casual Connect USA. “I can’t stress those numbers enough because those are very good proxies of whether or not your game is fun.”
Amitt Mahajan, Founder and CEO of Red Hot Labs, keeps a watchful eye on emerging trends in the games industry. The most influential developments Mahajan sees at this point are the saturation of app stores and the rise of alternative methods of distribution channels on mobile.
Red Hot Labs will respond to these changes by exploring new distribution channels thoroughly in a controlled, analytical manner. Because Mahajan and his partner Joel Poloney worked for so long on Facebook games, they were able to see how channels became either more or less effective over time. Their experience leads them to believe the same will happen on mobile with the app stores.
“We’re hedging our bets and are willing to try different forms of user acquisition as they come up,” Mahajan said.
Success Through Shared Tech at Zynga
Red Hot Labs builds mobile games and the technology to develop and grow these games. Mahajan’s experience in creating both is grounded in his work at MyMiniLife Inc, which was acquired by Zynga where he later served as Director of Engineering. There, he and Poloney worked on full stack game engines and created the core technology that other game teams could use.
Proud of his Epic History
Mahajan claims there have been many great moments in his career, and each team he has worked on and every product launched has been a unique experience offering valuable insights. One of these experiences was shipping Gears of War at Epic Games and hearing how well it was doing.
“We knew we were building something special, and the early Gears of War prototype I saw during my interview was the reason I joined the company,” Mahajan said. “The game was one of the first to launch on the Unreal Engine 3, so it was the first time a game had that sophisticated level of graphic quality. The response from consumers was phenomenal, and the game ended up being a massive success.”
With global sales in the range of 6,000,000 units, even the phrase “massive success” is a bit of an understatement.
Matrix Math Fail
One of the biggest learning experiences Mahajan remembers is bombing a job interview for an internship at a games company while in college.
“I thought I knew my stuff — in this case Matrix Algebra — better than I actually did, so I didn’t bother studying or mentally preparing myself for the interview,” he said. But, Mahajan claims it taught him an important lesson: Always bring your best.