John Kim, CEO

Berlin, Germany
The MobOwl Games logo. One of MobOwl's games.
A passion becomes a career

Whenever John Kim had some free time as a child, one activity always won out: gaming. And while his parents sometimes urged him to try other things for a more secure future, gaming remained his go-to pastime throughout his adolescence.

“When I grew up and it was time for me to find a job, I was convinced that gaming was the ideal path for me and wanted to show my parents that I could merge my passion with a career,” says John. “I committed myself to intensive study, ensuring exceptional grades that ultimately allowed me to triumph in a fiercely competitive landscape. At the age of 25, I successfully joined one of the largest gaming companies in Korea.”

The gaming business was booming around this time, particularly in South Korea. John was lucky enough to land a job any gamer would dream of: Project Manager. As the youngest Project Manager in his company, John effortlessly embraced this responsibility — and unsurprisingly, soon more and more opportunities in the gaming industry popped up in Luxembourg, then Berlin.

But when his office in Berlin closed, he had a choice: should he go back to South Korea to an area where the industry was thriving, or should he try to hack it with his own business in Berlin?

He decided on the latter, founding MobOwl Games, an operator of mobile games. Initially started with a focus on market research, marketing, and customer service support within the gaming industry, MobOwl soon decided to start developing mobile games of their own.

“Our mission is to create games that serve as a comforting escape for people weary from the various stresses of life,” says John. “We started by building some casual brick-breaking games that users could enjoy as a fun escape.”

As they delved deeper into game development, MobOwl shifted their focus towards match-3 games, where you match up similar tiles in a soothingly strategic rhythm. This area proved to be more promising and aligned with market trends — and today they’re nurturing a total of nine projects in this genre.

Royal Queenie match game.
Monetizing MobOwl

From the beginning, John and his team were adamant that their games shouldn't integrate intrusive monetization methods. That would go against their whole ethos of casual, stress-free gaming. Instead, MobOwl adopted a “rewarded ads” model, where users can move further into the game if they watch ads.

“Our vision is to provide relaxation to people experiencing stress,” says John. “So we wanted players to enjoy victory anytime, stress-free from purchases. That meant choosing an ad-supported model to keep our games inclusive and enjoyable.”

The MobOwl team chose Google AdMob for their advertising needs. They were drawn to AdMob first because the setup process was straightforward, allowing them to get ad campaigns up and running quickly. Then once they were set up, they found AdMob provided a user-friendly interface and a range of features that were essential for effective ad monetization.

“One of the AdMob features we frequently utilize is the AB testing functionality within mediation groups,” says John. “This allows us to experiment with different ad formats, placements, and networks to optimize our ad revenue. Being able to compare the performance of various ad configurations helps us make data-driven decisions to maximize our monetization efforts.”

John also uses AdMob’s intuitive reporting tools that provide valuable insights into their ad performance. These reports enable his team to track key metrics, analyze trends, and make informed adjustments to their ad strategies in real-time.

John and his team have also worked with Google Ads Editor, which significantly enhances the efficiency of managing numerous live campaigns. With Google Ads Editor, they can streamline campaign creation, editing, and optimization processes — which saves them time and maximizes their productivity.

Another MobOwl match game.
Ads are a game-changer

MobOwl’s consistent efforts in advertising optimization has helped them achieve average revenue growth of over 30% for the past five years. While the success wasn’t overnight, John’s proud of his team’s ability to slowly refine their advertising strategies over time — bringing them to a place of consistent, sizable growth today.

“Leveraging the scalability and targeting capabilities of Google Ads, we’ve been able to reach a wider audience while ensuring their ads are seen by users who are genuinely interested in our games,” says John.

With a growing user base and steady ad revenue coming in, John has been able to grow his team. Currently MobOwl has two employees based in Berlin and seven based in Korea. The Berlin-based team focuses on marketing and operations, while the Korea-based team primarily works on game development.

“I am not a game developer myself, so being able to hire such great developers to ensure our content is high-quality was really a game-changer for us,” says John. “This wouldn’t be possible if we weren’t successfully monetizing our games with AdMob.”

“Leveraging the scalability and targeting capabilities of Google Ads, we’ve been able to reach a wider audience while ensuring their ads are seen by users who are genuinely interested in our games.”
Reaching the next level

John is proud that he’s been able to monetize his business while keeping his vision for relaxing, stress-free games alive. When he reads mail from fans, he’s always happy to hear that his games are offering a soothing diversion from the anxieties of daily life.

“We recently heard from a gamer who suffered a brain injury in an accident and plays our games to feel a sense of comfort and relief,” says John. “This feedback deeply touched us because it made us realize that even as a small company, the games we create have the power to provide solace to those who have endured hardships in life.”

Energized by this feedback, John can’t help but look ahead and get excited about the new games MobOwl has in the pipeline. Key to the development process is understanding his users’ perspectives, empathizing with their needs and desires, then building games that engage them.

For instance, in building his recent match-3 game “Christmas Magic,” John dove into children’s books at the local bookstore to remember that sense of childlike wonder and innocence that makes the holidays so special.

“Gathering ideas from these experiences and then implementing them into the actual game development process fills me with immense joy,” says John. “I feel like it’s a way for me to communicate with our users and really meet them where they are. I can’t wait for them to see what we release next.”

About the Publisher

John Kim is the founder and CEO of MobOwl Games, specializing in match-3 puzzle games. He dedicated seven years to developing and serving a global audience with nine vibrant match-3 games. His career began in 2006 as the youngest Project Manager at Netmarble Games, and for the past 18 years, he has maintained his initial passion, dedicating himself to delivering gaming experiences for users worldwide.
Sina headshot.