Level App Studios

Juan Maria Clavería Rosario, Co-Founder

Seville, Spain
The Level App Studios team. One of Level App's games.
Small team, big ambitions

Daniel Cisneros, Juan Clavería, and Fernando Rosario were die-hard gamers who found themselves living the dream: working full-time for a video game company. In their free time around the office, the three found themselves spending more and more time discussing their own ideas for games.

While we were doing what we loved, we had many ideas that couldn't be implemented while working for our old company,” explains Juan. “So we decided to give these ideas a chance — and founded Level App Studios to bring them to life.

While venturing out on their own was exciting, it came with challenges. “Our early days were quite precarious. We started developing in our house because we couldn’t afford an office. Fortunately, you don't need a large financial investment to start developing mobile games — just work and perseverance.”

While their workplace might have been humble, their goals were anything but. “Our goal with each game is to reach the largest number of users possible around the world. To do this, many factors must be taken into account during development: graphics quality, gameplay, stability... and above all that it should work well on all devices.”

Their games quickly started to take off, finding plenty of fans in South America and Asia due the low weight of the installation and the low hardware specifications their apps require. This low bandwidth allowed the games to work on just about any device — but now it was time to turn this growing popularity into a sustainable business.

The team at the Level App Studios office.
Ads level the playing field

“Initially, we started creating premium games, but soon realized that it was very challenging to gain visibility for a paid game without being featured in the app store and without an expensive marketing strategy,” explains Juan. “We began studying the free-to-play model and realized that in the long run, it was much more beneficial for us to generate revenue through advertising and in-app purchases.”

Advertising won out — generating 70% of their overall revenue. “The key to the advertising model is that it allows the game to be free. The user does not have to think about whether it’s worth spending money on the game or not; they simply download it and try it. And if the player really likes the game, they may end up buying something from your game shop.”

For such a small team, it was helpful to have a platform like Google AdMob that could launch their ads with minimal effort. “The main virtue of AdMob is its simplicity. You can integrate it into your code in just a few easy steps — specifying display to your exact desires. In a short period of time, AdMob allowed us to make powerful customizations and exert exhaustive control over when, how and where our game's ads were displayed.”

“Google Firebase is also an important part of our games,” says Juan. “Firebase Crashlytics helps us identify errors in our games and correct them. We also use Firebase Analytics to check the user impact of any updates we make to the games, as well as control and reinforce all engagement and economic metrics.”

“The key to the advertising model is that it allows the game to be free. The user does not have to think about whether it’s worth spending money on the game or not; they simply download it and try it.”
A promotional image for Ramboat 2.
Achievement unlocked

Keeping their games free means more downloads — and more of an impact. “I think we’re most proud of Ramboat, which was highlighted in Time a few years ago as one of the magazine’s favorite new games.”

“A few years ago, a Ramboat player contacted us telling us that he loved so much that he sent us several illustrations he made in which the Ramboat characters appeared. We loved to see our game inspire such creativity.”

Rambost was just the beginning of their success. “Our latest game, Racing Legends, has almost 5 million downloads on Google Play, which together with Ramboat (21 million downloads), Ramboat 2 (8 million downloads) and Ninja Dash (13 million downloads) add up to a total of more than 46 million downloads.”

Their team attributes the popularity to the games casual and fun nature. Plus, “people can tell they’re made by people who love games themselves — that’s how we figure out playable mechanics that resonate with such a wide audience of gamers.”

“The best thing about this job is that not everything is written in stone — you can surprise yourself each day with the new things you create. Through it all, we’ve kept our team small — just the three co-founders — so everyone’s contributing and making these games a reality together.”

As for what’s next, the team is doubling down on new features. “Right now, we are focused on maintaining and improving the games we have in the app store. The mobile market evolves very rapidly, and it's crucial to constantly implement new features to stay competitive. We believe strongly that the right games — made by gamers for gamers — can reach all parts of the world.”

About the publisher

Juan has turned his lifetime love for video games into his day job. Along with Daniel and Fernando, he founded Level App Studios in February 2013, where they get to share their love of gaming through the games they create.
Level App Studios logo.