TIGA Games Contest 2012

Last Thursday, 15th of March, I had the privilege to assist to the Final pitch of the TIGA Games Contest in order to see which four projects would win the 25 thousand pounds investment. The event took place in London.

There were three categories: Games on the Move, Social Web Gaming (category which had to winners) and Games in the Home. The winners for mobile gaming were the guys of Guerila Tea PPL with a helicopters 3D Game called Fangs Out!.

In the social gaming category, which have two projects selected for the investmen the winners were: firstly, Burrow from Remode Studio, which presented a game Terraria’s style but where the player character is a customizable robot. And the other winner in this category was the project called Squaddies by PLA Studios, a game where the player has to recruit a bunch of mercenaries in order to explore successfully the world. This mercenaries are tradeable and grow in experience and effectiveness. The branding of this last game was really cared and original.

The chosen game in the home category was Clockwork Racers developed by the Bristol based studio Opposable Games. The Idea is a game where the controller is any mobile device and you can play in the new generation of smart TVs. The players wind up, use the boosts and control their cars with the mobile device. The idea was clear and the branding was appealing. I think we will probably hear about this game quite soon.

Congratulations to all the winners!! I hope that with 25 thousand pounds they will release games that will make people enjoy.

However, during the pitches  there were some things that I did not understand, maybe because I am quite new in this or maybe because I am too focused on the business side of the industry. Firstly, If I were about to choose a project to invest 25 thousand pounds on it I would like to know exactly how they are going to spend them in order to deliver a high quality product. All the projects pitched used the freemium business model in order to obtain revenue, plus advertising, fair enough, but what is the value of the free content that you are going to offer in order to attract players?and then, what is the value that you going to offer to make the players pay for premium? because there were no questions of that matter from the jury, and there were not so much explanations about it from the developers. I think this is a quite important issue, and as well I think is  quite important to keep the balance between the free and the premium features.

Secondly, none of the pitches took in account the market by itself, no one spoke about competitors, no one try to fit their game into an audience need, and from this we can go to the next question I asked myself during the event, if your game is different, how are you going to manage in order to make the people play your game?no one speak about it. Just an example, according with 148Apps.biz the number of active games into the App Store is more than 103 thousand. Even if your game is so good, how are you going to do people know your game in order to play it? even if it’s for free. Someone said in one of the pitches that people play whatever is free, just because is free, I strongly disagree with that, I think developers should never underestimate players.

More questions I missed: which target are you focused in and how much are you going to spend in marketing?,and  what is going to be the nature of this marketing in order to reach this target with the budget that you have?

Of course, there were just ten minutes pitch for each project, but I think this questions should be addressed in any kind of presentation about any project, due the amount of games developed at the moment, and the high competitiveness that nowadays rules the social and mobile games sectors.

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Mobile Gaming Report 2011

This Is going to be my proper first post, because the real first one was just a presentation of this blog. So let’s go in to the business world!

This market report that I present now is about the mobile gaming market in 2011. Has been made from a wide range of sources, consultancy firms data, industry related websites, investment companies, etc. This is the executive summary:

Tablet and Mobile devices Market

  • Android dominates the smartphone operating system market worldwide, with a 52.5% of the share, followed by Symbian, with 16.90, and iOS, with a 15%.
  • iOS will dominates the tablet operating systems market at the end of 2011 with a 59 % of the share, followed by Android with a 40.3 %, and last, Blackberry which just cope the 0.7% of the total market.
  • There are more 250m iOS and 190m Android devices activated.
  • 55% of users play games on their phones or handheld device in 2010.
  • Games represent the 25.6% of the total downloads in the Android Market, more than twice the percentage of the second category, which is entertainment, with a 12.2%.
  • Games represent the 17.24% of the total active applications in iOS, followed for the category Book with the 11.03%.

Mobile Gaming

  • The mobile gaming market in 2011 was worth 8 billion dollars of the 56 billion of the global video game market.
  • Mobile gaming share of the total revenue of portable game software in US was the 58%. From a share in 2009 that was the 19 %.
  • Freemium has become in 2011 the most important business model reaching a 65% of the revenue in June. In January 2011 only account for the 39% of the revenue.
  • The average money spent for people who finally buy in-app is 14$. But just around the 0.5 % to 6% of total players finally buy in-app.
  • The barriers to entry in the mobile gaming market are low, in relation with the other video game markets.
  • Currently there are almost 130000 active publishers in the Apple App Store.

Mobile Market Demographics

  • Games are the most downloaded mobile app categories in all the application stores in the US.
  • Mobile games are playing on average more by females and the average player age is 28.2 years.
  • 18-24 years is the group of age which expend more time playing and 25-34 is the one which expend more money in freemium mobile games
As I said this is just the executive summary, but in the link there is the full Mobile gaming Market Report 2011. I hope some people will find interesting.

Insert Coin: principles

This blog is born with a main purpose, to analyse from a business point of view the video games industry. Video games have been my passion as far as I can remember, but years ago I started to worry about them beyond the fact of just play them.

First I focused in the concept of genre and video games, which lead me to write my final dissertation in my Media Studies Degree about this subject.

However, since I have started my MA in International Media Business at Westminster University last September I developed a strong passion for the video games industry itself. How it works, which are the main sectors and companies, how they compete and which are the strategies used for all of them in order to achieve SCA.

This blog is going to become the platform where I will post all my thoughts about the video games industry, focusing in the mobile and social games sectors, which have been forecasted to grow 8% a year till 2015, and the ones which personally attract me the most and which I would like to develop a professional career.

Those who are expecting an analysis of the new AAA title, there are thousand of sites which could provide that information. Words as strategy, revenue, M&A, growth,business models, and so on, will be the day-to-day of my posts. As well, I will upload all the assignments that I have done during my courses: I have put a lot of effort on them, and I think some people will find it interesting.

That is all! Enjoy! I am doing it already.