“Buff is a must-have toolkit for every gamer as part of the gaming experience,” says Elay de Beer, CEO and co-founder of Buff Technologies. With a customer base of more than six million users worldwide and over 430,000 gamers who use it daily, most users apparently agree.
In video game parlance, the word ‘buff’ is an element that makes a game more powerful. In that sense, the company, which was founded in 2018, lives up to its name. Users install the free Buff app on their Windows-compatible computer or mobile device, which then boosts game rewards on some of gaming’s biggest brands, including Fortnite, Minecraft, League of Legends, and many others. “Gamers play the game they love best,” says de Beer, “and our tech provides them with a reward layer that enables them to collect in-game achievements, which can be exchanged in the Buff marketplace for game currency and gaming goods, like skins – a graphic or audio download which changes the appearance of characters – gift cards for Amazon and Spotify, and hardware like headsets and mice, and even pizzas from Dominos.” The Buff app issues rewards based on the amount of time played and achievements reached by players in each specific game. The app uses machine learning, artificial intelligence, and big data information analysis to determine achievements and rewards.
Currently, Buff is compatible with nineteen video games, including Fortnite, League of Legends, Valorant, Counter Strike, Dota 2, Call of Duty, Tom Clancy Rainbow Six, Teamfight Tactics, Auto Chess, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Apex Legends, Rocket League, Splitgate, Overwatch, Hearthstone, Minecraft, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale and Brawl Stars.
CEO de Beer, age 44, has been playing video games since he was a child – today, he enjoys playing with his children – and believes in gaming as the future of entertainment. Buff was co-founded by de Beer and two friends from their Air Force days in the IDF, Ophir Gertner and Ophir Sarapi. Gertner is today the company’s Chief Revenue Officer, and Sarapi is the Chief Operating Officer. “It’s always good to work with people you like,” says de Beer. The company is based in Herzliya and houses a team of twenty-five programmers and designers. An additional twenty-five engineers work remotely from Ukraine and Slovakia. Buff is a public company and in August 2021, became the first local gaming company to be listed for trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
De Beer says that Buff offers a unique solution for gamers, in that the program works across three platforms – Windows, Android and iOS. Users can begin a game with Buff on one platform and continue playing the game on another system, and Buff will keep track of their rewards and achievements. Installing Buff does not affect gameplay or slow down computers or other devices in any way. Buff will run on any standard Windows PC that can run video games, as well as Android and iOS devices, and will soon be available for the X-Box and Sony PlayStation consoles. He adds that Buff can adapt itself to numerous platforms and is ideally suited for virtual gaming in the ‘metaverse.’
The video gaming industry is considered by many to be the next evolution of entertainment, and gaming already generates more revenue than movies and music combined. More than two billion people worldwide play video games, and analysts say that by 2025, the video game industry will generate more than $260 billion in revenue. Given these numbers and the steady stream of popular games being released, Buff is in an ideal position to leverage the platform. Surveys have shown that approximately 60% of gamers are male, while 40% are female. The average age of gamers is between 32 and 33, but the largest percentage of gamers are in the 18–40-year-old age bracket.
Gamers around the world use Buff, and while the company’s primary focus has been on the United States and Europe, the company is making a push into the Asian market in countries such as Japan, South Korea and China. De Beer says that there are thousands of Buff gamers in Israel and Arab countries.
Interestingly, in the past two years of the pandemic, says de Beer, sales rose dramatically. “People were stuck in their homes and in quarantine,” he says. “They worked from home and had more time available to use their computers. We were in the right place at the right time.” As a result, Buff’s user base grew, and its retention numbers increased. Even before the pandemic struck, says de Beer, Buff team members were working remotely, and as a result, the company was able to handle working conditions caused by the pandemic.
De Beer says that Buff has several revenue streams from its core business. When users install the Buff app, ads appear on-screen before and after games are played. These ads are targeted to gamers and generate income for the company. De Beer emphasizes that ads never appear during gameplay itself.
In addition to the free version of the Buff app, the company also offers three paid subscription plans – Premium, Premium Plus and Premium Elite. The Premium plans offer players special benefits, including additional Buff points monthly for games played, exclusive Marketplace items, special raffles and promotions, a dedicated Discord channel (Discord is a free voice, video, and text chat app), and more. The higher the Premium plan, the faster the players earn Buff points.
De Beer says that Buff is also earning money from conducting direct campaigns on behalf of companies such as Alienware, a Dell subsidiary, Monster, Hulu, and Lego. Finally, Buff offers Visa debit cards for gamers, which can be used for all purchases, like regular debit cards. Buff players will earn Buff points when using this Visa card, and Buff earns a commission from sales.
“I believe in gaming as the future of entertainment,” says de Beer. “Gaming is evolving and growing at an amazing pace. The world is shifting towards more engagement, and Buff brings a needed solution for gamers. As users spend more and more time playing games, doing what they like best, Buff gives them the ultimate loyalty and rewards program.”
This article is taken from The Jerusalem Post Israel Technology and Innovation Magazine 2022. To read the entire magazine, click here.
This article was written in cooperation with Buff Technologies