Scopely - A New Blood of Publisher For F2P Titles
ByDate: Oct 09 2013 Views:
Free-to-play always is a cut and dried topic in game industry. Many publishers have been running free-to-play games for many years. For publishers, what should they do while running a game successfully under this model? Speaking with GamesIndustry International last week, Scopely CEO Walter Driver explained that the games-as-a-service model has led to publishing partners filling different needs than they had in the past. Scopely is the publisher behind mobile games like Wordly and MiniGolf MatchUp. With a game's business model now inextricable from its gameplay, developers understand that simply making a compelling experience isn't enough to create a successful product.
"They're not just marketing partners," Driver said. "They're partners in helping you optimize and tune the game experience...There's starting to be a clearer functional divide between data-driven marketing, analytics, large-scale server infrastructure, advertising optimization, direct ad sales... These are functions that are quite different from building great games. And to build a large-scale globally successful business, you kind of need those functions. What we're seeing is there are a lot of great game developers out there who don't want to build those functions in-house, and would like to focus on building great games."
"Instead of looking at [average-revenue-per-user] or conversion rate, I usually like to look at retention. The longer time players actually spend in one specific game, the more likely they are to convert, either by watching ads, making in-app purchases, or inviting their friends to play along." The new director of product management of Scopely, Michail Katkoff, who worked at Rovio as executive producer on Angry Birds Rio, and spent much of 2013 at Supercell as product manager for Clash of Clans, said.
Katkoff views all three of those as effective forms of monetization. And while he acknowledges that competition in the free-to-play market has become increasingly fierce, the accompanying growth of the audience has ensured it's still a good place to turn a profit.
"When you're talking about services and f2p, you're talking about bigger audiences," Katkoff explained. "With bigger audiences, you have much more leverage to create revenue. Because now not only can you create revenue through in-app purchases, you can also create a lot of revenue through advertisements because you have that much traffic. We're not talking about doubling; we're talking about 10 times bigger audience sizes."
Selling those eyeballs to advertisers is also becoming easier for a few reasons, Katkoff said. For one, user analytics have made considerable advances in recent years. On top of that, advertisers are more interested in mobile because they've realized that's where people are increasingly spending their time. And even though the ads seen on free-to-play games aren't necessarily coming from the same giant brands that dominate TV commercial breaks, Katkoff expects that to change in the future.
"The brands are not ready to do anything radical at the moment, but they're moving slowly and steadily to increase their ad budgets in the mobile space," he said. "So they're not going all-in, but they're increasing steadily."
You can check out the original in GamesIndustry for full content.
Author: Brendan Sinclair