San Francisco-based startup Swrve is ready to exit beta today with its cloud-based feedback and testing tool of the same name. The graduation comes a little over a month after the company netted $2.7 million in seed funding to put toward developing its service and hiring new staff.
Swrve is a tool that creates multiple split tests within a game where developer can try, fine-tune and deploy changes live. Company CEO Hugh Reynolds explains that the service isn’t an analytics platform like Kontagent or its competitors, but rather a component that allows developers to see and act on feedback collected from split tests conducted in-game. As an example, he says a card game developer can deploy five versions of the same piece of art for one card type in-game, interpret which performs best among its demographic breakdown, and push the one art piece that performs the best live. Or, Reynolds says, a developer could even consider deploying more than one art piece for the card in-game that varies depending on the user’s demographic.
“People look at it and say it’s more like a game editor than analytics tool,” he says. “It’s something that ‘regular people’ that don’t have a PhD in analytics can use day-to-day to guide development.”
Swrve is now launching version 2 of its server architecture, allowing the service to scale to a larger pool of developers. One of its earliest clients is Facebook social game developer 5th Planet Games; Reynolds tells us that about 18 more customers across mobile, social and open web game developers are also evaluating the product. Swrve uses a business model similar to a phone bill where customers have a low point of entry and then pay for usage with no lock-in agreement. It’s possible to use the service on a month-to-month basis, but there are incentives for quarterly or annual subscriptions.
As an interesting aside, Reynolds and Swrve CTO Dr. Steven Collins are known in the video game industry as the creators of the cross-platform Havok physics engine, which powers games like Fallout 3, L.A. Noire, and Dead Rising. Havok sold to Intel in 2007 and Reynolds and Collins went on to found Swrve in 2010.