Am 1. und 2. November findet in Offenbach das browsergame forum 2012 statt. Wir sprechen mit Peter Warman, CEO von Newzoo und Sprecher auf der Konferenz, über die Chancen und Herausforderungen bei der Entwicklung für mobile Plattformen.
Making Games What made you focus on the smartphone and tablet area? What is happening in the industry right now with arising new platforms?
Peter Warman As a market research and analysis company, we work for a large share of the developers and publishers across the globe. Since we started in 2007 we also included games on mobile devices. Now, that in the past three years the number of gamers on smartphones and tablets have more than tripled these screens attract the same amount of gamers as consoles or online browser gamers. Because tablets and smartphones are both different screens for the consumer, being used at different moments and at different locations than the PC, every game company in the world is at least thinking about what to do with these screens. Shall I extend my game to those screens or develop a completely separate or even different game? In principle, the companies that are successful in the free2play browser market are excellent candidates to perform well on mobile where 90 percent (vs 50 percent for browser MMO games) of money is spent within the game. The big success games on mobile are still not from the traditional publishers but from newcomers that are set up to develop games as a service and games that are free2play. See Zynga, Kabam, Xyrality, GREE/Funzio. It proves my personal conclusion that free2play is NOT a business model but a way to run your business.
Making Games Many regard mobile as the future of the games market. Do you also believe that the future lies with mobile, instead of the browser?
Peter Warman The biggest growth is with smartphone and tablet gaming. This does not mean there is no future for browser gaming. Why? Because there are different screens for one consumer each having their own right of existence. These four typical screens are: The Entertainment Screen (TV), The Computer Screen (PC/Mac), The Personal Screen (Smartphone) and The Floating Screen (handheld consoles, tablets and iPods). The latter fills all the gaps in terms of place and time where the other screens are not available, typically having an average of 3.5 users where the Personal Screen has an average of 1.2 users. This Screen approach is what my keynote is about combined with fresh data showing that this view on the market clearly explains the current changes in the market and also points us to growth areas. In the end, every big game IP is accessible via all four screens.
Making Games How do you asses the market potential?
Peter Warman We monitor growth of every games market segment. Mobile gaming is pushing the time spent on games up dramatically. E.g. in the US +26 percent, in Europe +19 percent. We combine consumer research with monthly transactional data of every iOS and PlayStore game to monitor growth and the potential is built up from five stacked growth trends:
Making Games Zynga and Bigpoint are seeing the problem of mobile, not in the development, but in the commercialization. What do you think?
Peter Warman Zynga is number 2 or 3 every month when it comes to grossing revenue on mobile screens every month so they are not doing bad. They earn more money than EA (without PopCap) on iPad and iPhone. Why Bigpoint does not pop up in our list of top 200 grossing games per country I do not know. I do agree that it all is in the balance of the business model and consumer experience. That is the tricky part.
Making Games The trend in the mobile area is moving away from pay once to free2play, same as with browser games a few years ago. What is your experience, do players pay the same amounts as in browser games, or are we still in a developing stage?
Peter Warman On average paying mobile gamers spend about one third to half the amount of money as in a high-end browser game. We expect this to rise closer because of the rise of more core games on tablets and smartphones.
Making Games Which classical retail game would you personally like to play on your smartphone?
Peter Warman Mario Kart. It is too bad that Nintendo does not share most probably the most widely appreciated IP in the world on others screens. Sonic is already there, so Mario, come on join the fun on tablets and smartphones! My estimate is that the Mario franchise would gross approximately 350 million dollars a year by also offering their existing gams on tablets and phones (and the iPod Touch).