Product Madness: The Social Casino Operator That Plays the Game Right
In today’s world of endless mobile games, only a few remember how and where it all began.
In 1997, Nokia’s Snake became the first promising step in a new era of games. Since then, smartphone gaming development never looked the same.
It was destiny that crossed the paths of Israeli Stanford student Lior Shiff, and his Spanish colleague Jose Brotons. Stanford students and passionate games players, they entered the gaming industry full steam ahead, hoping to one day to become creative leaders. And they did just that with Product Madness.
Product Madness is a platform intended for social slot gaming, bringing world-class social slots to real fans anywhere. Combining technology, psychology, and art, Product Madness is a leader in online casino games, including the notoriously beloved Heart of Vegas.
And through the risks and bids and chances, here is how Jose and Lior joined forces to make Product Madness happen.
Innate Love for Gaming
Born in Israel in 1978, Lior Shiff obtained his first Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Accounting in 1997. After he learned Psychology as an additional undergrad program also at Tel Aviv University, without having a clue that one day it will be paid off.
In 1998, Lior started to work in the Israel Defense Forces and spent 7 years there. The first success he had was with his team there, winning the Creative Thinking and Intelligence Contribution award. In 2005, the same year as Jose Brotons, Lior continued at Stanford University for his Master of Business Administration studies.
Jose arrived in California from Spain, but before that, he studied technology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Geneva from 1998 to 2000.
Jose achieved his first awards at an early stage of his career. For the first time in TFB-Flygt, he built the Monitoring and Control and also Electrical Panel department while he had a 4-year professional engagement until 2006. This success earned Jose and the team the ITT Geneen Award, the highest ITT honor.
Lior and Jose’s paths crossed in 2005 in California, at Sanford University, where both enrolled to learn more about business. From their first meet, these two Stanford MBA’s shared their innate love of gaming and had a common vision to become leaders in publishing social applications and games for a social network. So, in 2007, they founded Product Madness.
Product Madness Early Growth
In the beginning, Product Madness was created for developing casual games for Facebook. Very early, in only a year of its establishment, the company became profitable.
The great success and extraordinary growth came two years after when the founders refocused their efforts in another direction, social casinos. The company worked on the development of slot games and made them available for slot fans. The results were creating exceptional slots and delivering Cashman, Fafafa gold, and Lighting link casino slots.
In parallel to product development, they put huge effort into building the culture of the company. They bring to the company a mix of experience, passion, and culture that creates an inspirational work environment, to make innovation and creativity bloom.
Soon enough, Product Madness became one of the top five social casino slot game operators on Facebook. It grew up into an international one, located in London and San Francisco with a worldwide team of 20 people. The number of monthly active users has reached 3.5 million.
Lior was responsible for company business development, including tech stack and architectural decisions. While the offices were established in San Francisco, London, and Minsk, and focused on creating games, Lior was dedicated to the long-term strategy of driving partnerships.
Becoming a Family Member of Aristocrat
Lior initiated a competitive sale process with the tremendous success that led to creating an undisclosed offer for company sales to Aristocrat, a strategic buyer.
For Product Madness, this proposal was an opportunity to expand the know-how and social technologies of the company in the online social gaming market, to a whole new level.
For Aristocrat, this was an opportunity to provide a meaningful improvement in the player’s experience and offer new and innovative content to casino customers through a social gaming platform.
Aristocrat agreed to purchase the entire Product Madness business in 2012 and retained its management and staff. Lior and Jose agreed to stay in the company for the next 3 years.
Success Through the Heart of Vegas
In the first year, a new game, Heart of Vegas, was developed and it became one of the 10 best games on Facebook in 2013. This game was a result of the Product Madness technology and the power of Aristocrat games, combined.
Heart of Vegas reached the top of the 10 grossing applications on Facebook worldwide, the No.1 grossing app in iOS Australia, and the top 40 in iOS in the US. During these three years, Lior and Jose achieved Product Madness’ revenues grew fifteen times and its profit margin increased sixfold.
At the end of 2015, Lior and Jose left the company in great shape, as an industry leader in the social casino world. At the time of their departure, there were about 150 employees on board, spread in various offices across the globe.
Both Lior and Jose continued their professional careers as independent investors and advisors. Lior is also a co-founder of on-the-spot development, a boutique software development company, and Tripledot Studios, a developer of mobile games.
Tailoring the Customer Experience
Creating popular games that more than 100 million users have installed and becoming a leader did not happen all of a sudden. The key to creating social applications was in taking the feedback from the users seriously.
The actual users played a critical role by sharing their experiences. This feedback helped the company in measuring and observing the dynamics of the games, and with a combination of advanced back-end analytics and re-engagement technologies they used, the games were modified. The final result was producing highly engaging games with a precise mix of science, psychology, and art.
The challenge to be number one and stay there is constant and Product Madness met it with proficiency and quality. Speaking of quality, Product Madness introduced reward video ads in collaboration with Meta Audience Network. This was a great strategy for in-app advertising implementation for social casino players who are not used to watching ads in their games.
Players could choose to watch ads as they played and earn coins as a reward. This strategy was tested and implemented across all apps and showed tremendous success. This resulted in a 120% ARPDAU increase, 30% higher eCMP for Meta Audience Network, and 7% more slot spins.
The partnership with Meta Audience network proves that Product Madness is strongly committed to keeping innovation and being first in the industry for a long time. This company’s attitude is promising that in the future players can expect new excitement with games, delivered with passion as it began with Lior and Jose.
Product Madness, Today
Today, Product Madness remains under the umbrella of the Aristocrat family. It is located across various offices globally, including San Francisco and London, as well as Barcelona, Lviv, Gdansk, and Tel Aviv. The company counts 500 employees and has made $39 million in revenue.
Heart of Vegas, Cashman, Fafafa gold, and Lighting link casino slots all belong to the larger Product Madness games portfolio and make the company the gaming giant it is today.
As part of its future plans, the company also introduced Madness Ventures. This unique incubator is designed to aid game developers in testing, marketing, and creating free-to-play mobile games, typically based on chance scenarios. The hope is, as the team says, that Product Madness will become the ultimate rounding spot for progressive gamers and developers who love introducing a sense of chance in their free-to-play gaming experiences.
From half a million active players a month at the time of acquisition, today, the number has doubled - and chance has nothing to do with it. It took a gaming vision of a different dimension as well as a trained eye for web development to get Jose and Lior to land Product Madness at the top of the casino industry cake, without even having to use real cash.
And now that it’s there, the world gets to watch the Product Madness team play the game of winning - to perfection.