Skip to content

How to build lifelong players: Solon Bucholtz from LBC Studios

Solon Bucholtz is the CEO of LBC Studios, makers of hit games like Hempire, Tasty Buds and their latest release, Brewtopia. With a focus on simulation and invest-and-express games, LBC aims to make a meaningful impact in the gaming industry by delivering fun and memorable experiences to millions of players worldwide. Solon shared his advice on prioritizing user retention, making your app stand out in a crowded field, and building lifelong players.

Watch the full interview here:


Addressing user retention challenges

quotation-marks-set-02 In mobile gaming, retention is critical as attention spans are shorter, and players have more choices. Our focus has shifted towards simulation and invest-and-express games where we see our expertise making the most impact. We closely monitor retention benchmarks across different geographies and adapt our themes to resonate culturally, tailoring our marketing strategies to reflect local preferences. This granular approach helps us maintain engagement and convert new users into lifelong customers, which is vital given the high acquisition costs. quotation-marks-set-01

Focusing on overall value proposition

quotation-marks-set-02 While ROAS remains important for scalability, our strategy now also focuses on enhancing the overall value proposition to build lifelong customers. We aim to shift our players’ perception from seeing us merely as the creators of Hempire to recognizing us as the premier studio for quality simulation games. This involves implementing hybrid monetization models and offering diverse gameplay and payment options, catering to both paying players and ad viewers. Our marketing efforts are tailored to attract high-value users in growing regions, enhancing both retention and user acquisition. quotation-marks-set-01

Creating longevity in the gaming industry

quotation-marks-set-02 Our strategic focus on nurturing lifelong players stems from the understanding that data provides insights but doesn't reveal the full story. Our team collaborates across departments to interpret data and generate actionable solutions that enhance user experience and engagement. We believe in experimenting purposefully, aiming to create a consistent identity across our games, which encourages players to explore our entire portfolio, thereby increasing their lifetime value and loyalty.quotation-marks-set-01

Retention is a team sport

quotation-marks-set-02 You might see a lower retention curve than you were expecting in your game. And as a team, you have to collaborate and really decide how each discipline can come up with a hypothesis around those signals to provide solutions and measure impact. We get together as a company every quarter and we talk about goals and we don't say, you know, here's what you want, what you need to do or how you're going to do it. It's just, here are the overarching goals. Then teams come together from marketing, data and product to talk about the potential hypotheses of what can improve, and where they feel they can move the needle. So what you have to do is you have to experiment. You have to experiment often, but you have to do it with intention, with those clear goals and clear ways to measure what those changes do to the product or to the marketing. quotation-marks-set-01

Why mobile gaming?

quotation-marks-set-02 My switch from real estate to mobile adtech was driven by a desire to create impactful work and recognize growing trends. Mobile gaming was emerging as a significant sector, and at that time, cannabis was becoming a more accepted theme, providing a unique niche for our game, Hempire. Since then, gaming has evolved into a data-driven science, emphasizing marketable and scalable development. At LBC, our core focus aligns with making games that are not only fun but also make a meaningful impact worldwide. We start marketing right from the initial theme development to ensure every game can successfully reach and resonate with its intended audience. quotation-marks-set-01

What’s next for LBC?

quotation-marks-set-02 Looking ahead, we are enhancing player engagement by integrating LBC-centric features such as unified logins and payment systems, and by providing extra-game value. By closely monitoring trends within the simulation category and using internal data to anticipate and meet player expectations, we ensure that our games deliver outstanding experiences. Our goal is to transform the perception from a high churn model to one where every player sees long-term value, understanding that even if we lose a player today, we can re-engage them in the future with new offerings suited to their preferences. quotation-marks-set-01