Our Director of Developer Relations in EMEA, Tomas Piktozis, interviewed with PocketGamer.biz in conjunction with his appearance as a panelist at PG Connects. Bringing more than 10 years of B2B and B2C sales and biz dev experience to bear, Tomas shares his thoughts on the app economy and indie developers:
Pocket Gamer: What were the most significant changes to the app economy you saw in 2013?
Tomas Piktozis: Freemium in mobile gaming staked its claim last year. By November 2013, half a billion people had installed Candy Crush Saga for free, and it was named top grossing app of 2013 on iPhone and iPad.
In the future, 2013 will be seen as the year that freemium became the default option for developers.
Ad placements in apps are also becoming more widely accepted. In June, Facebook simplified its mobile app ad installation process, so that developers could place ads with only an App Store URL. The quick and streamlined process was encouraging for marketers.
How do you think new mobile advertising trends will impact the mobile games industry in 2014?
Monetization will remain a key focus in 2014, especially with mobile gamers being such a high potential audience.
Mobile gamers monetize faster than web gamers, so we think large game companies will naturally allocate more budget to user acquisition in 2014. We also expect the industry to produce more creative advertising solutions for monetization.
Mobile video is the forerunner here. Data shows that 15-30 second mobile videos have the highest conversion rates, so videos of this length will become more popular.
What about indie developers in particular, is it going to be a tough year or an exciting one for indies?
In today’s landscape, indie developers aren’t faring as well as they used to. Of course, there’s still room to make a big splash.
My advice is twofold: differentiate your game, and then build a marketing strategy that will excite gamers and attract press coverage.
To differentiate, make sure to dig deep into the industry and avoid the trap of creating just another adventure game, or just one more puzzle game. Indie developers have a history of creating games that are unconventional and quirky – use this to your advantage.
Marketing is important because you’re competing with a huge number of developers for gamers’ attention. Going the extra mile will make a big difference. Create videos that give users a taste of your game environment, and foster a strong and memorable identity for your game.
Beyond that, don’t underestimate the value of word-of-mouth marketing. Fifty seven percent of game discovery awareness comes from word-of-mouth recommendations, which indicates a strong gamer preference for peer-to-peer discovery.
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