In a bid to shed some light onto the world of mobile, games and advertising, over the coming weeks (once a fortnight) we are putting the spotlight on key industry players and executives from game publishing companies, mobile ad tracking providers, supply-side platforms and more. We will ask eight questions, specifically geared toward their expertise.
First up is Newzoo CEO Peter Warman. Newzoo are an Amsterdam-based market research company focusing on games, providing data and analysis on all segments, platforms and business models. It was their statistics and research that powered our recently published infographic, The Global Mobile Games Landscape Reloaded.
Peter Warman is CEO and Co-founder of Newzoo, the games market research and consulting firm, servicing clients across all game business models and continents, such as Valve, Microsoft, EA, King, Wizards of the Coast, Nvidia, Plantronics and Wargaming. After being responsible for sales and business development at Europe’s largest interactive agency (LBi), he was responsible for internet development at Reed Business and operated as commercial director for a MMO for kids. Peter is a frequent speaker on the business aspects of the games industry. Peter enjoys opera as well as good German techno.We asked Peter about their biggest and most surprising findings so far in 2014, the ever-formidable monster that is the Asian mobile games market and advice for mobile game publishers and advertisers for success in the year ahead.
- Thanks for featuring in our interview series, Peter. To give everyone a better understanding of what Newzoo do, who are your clients and how do you benefit them?Newzoo’s clients include the majority of the world’s leading games companies, both the traditional publishers and the new stars that have risen since the mobile and Games as a Service revolution changed our industry for good. To name a few: Microsoft, EA, Tencent, Blizzard, Valve, King and SuperCell. Increasingly so, we service global companies who are looking to move into our industry such as Coca-Cola, Facebook, VISA, Logitech and so forth. Newzoo clients have continuous subscriptions that include direct access to our data as well as continuous custom analysis support and strategic consulting. We have competitors on single products, regions or platforms but not when it comes to the full picture in terms of global regions and business models.
- You recently published your 45-page 2014 Global Games Market Report, something you update annually. What do you consider to be some of the key findings and biggest surprises contained therein?The continued growth of smartphone and tablet gaming was something that was unprecedented several years ago, even for us. To see this phenomenon in hard figures, at the rapid rate at which it is moving, is mindblowing. What I’ve found most interesting in compiling this report is that all the changes in the market give good reason to take a completely different approach to the international rollout of a game. For instance, for certain genres of mobile games, Russia is a bigger opportunity than Germany. And it could be worthwhile to localize into Latin America or Southeast Asia at the beginning, in order to avoid the highly competitive mature markets, as the difference in size is not so big any more and growth rates are in favor of these “emerging markets”, as we used to call them.
- According to the same report, Asia remains the largest mobile games market from last year. What do you see as the reasons behind this?Firstly, the uptake of mobile gaming in China is surreal. And it also seems that it is not affecting spending on non-mobile platforms like PC and MMOs. Secondly, I want to remind everyone that big grower Japan already had a multibillion dollar mobile gaming business on feature phones. To see this money migrate towards smartphones and tablets at a rapid pace is impressive, especially because the Japanese have only recently started to take to the tablet. While Japan, China and Korea are clearly leading the charge, they have strong wingmen in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia to ensure Asia’s continued position at the top.
- Were there any newcomers or surprises in the top-ranking countries in terms of revenue generated in this year’s report?When it comes to mature markets, Australia outperforms most countries in average spending and ranks relatively high in all app store rankings. Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and Switzerland are also amongst the fastest risers, putting most of these countries in or close to the top 10. Brazil also has a high growth rate, and the total size of the mobile market is frequently overestimated. In terms of total revenue, it still lags behind the rest. I do expect them to enter the top 10 at the end of this year though.
- You included Vietnam for the first time this year in your data and insights for worldwide gaming habits. What fuelled this decision and what’s going on there right now?Latin America and Southeast Asia are the hottest growth areas in the world. Despite a higher growth rate in Latin America currently, SEA is a larger opportunity in terms of potential market size. And with a population of almost 90 million, Vietnam is an example of a SEA country that should be on any game publisher or company’s target list. Later this year, we will be beginning a huge project to deliver market intelligence on the whole SEA region in the high level of detail and the cultural perspective that we have become known for when it comes to our studies into other regions of the world.
- What is your advice to mobile game publishers and advertisers for increased user acquisition and monetization in 2014, based on your research into and knowledge of the industry?Understand the bigger picture. Understand the reasons why certain countries and regions are growing so fast. Understand why certain genres appeal more to certain countries and cultures. The ranking of countries for your international rollout might turn out to be different than you expected, so it’s important to think before releasing your game in new countries. In this way you will be able to outsmart competition. The bigger picture should also involve knowledge of the consumers you are targeting. A smart local marketing effort is crucial, especially one that combines a CPI approach with LTV optimization and traditional marketing.
- In your opinion, which are the most interesting developments and trends set to make waves in the mobile games world in the near future?The uptake in growth countries in general will be very interesting to watch. For example when will smartphone penetration in India really take off? In terms of mobile games themselves, I expect more multiplayer and multiscreen functionalities, more triple-A core type games. And it might become more clear what role mobile devices are going to play in combination with the TV screen, for example whether we will control game content on TV through these devices or will we use our smartphones to pay to play games on any screen?
- What do you expect in terms of regional market size and growth in the next few years, both regionally and globally?We have published a lot of data, insights and predictions over the last year and the infographic with AppLift also provides market forecasts. If you want to know more ins and outs, invest in our global games market report or talk to us and AppLift!
Our thanks go to Peter Warman and Newzoo. The second part of our Mobile Industry Exposed interview series is coming up in two weeks. Sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to stay up to date!