GameZebo recently caught up with Sean Spector, GameFly’s founder and Senior Vice President, to find out what the latest buzz around his popular service and the gaming industry is. What trends are currently affecting the gaming world? What does the industry look like today? How will it evolve to adapt to advancing technology and the changing needs of its customers? Here’s what Sean had to say…
How important is it for game providers to have a digital content strategy? Very important, Sean says. Mobile devices outnumber all other consoles put together, so it would be foolish to ignore the mobile platform. Despite the explosion of mobile gaming, however, PC gaming (through digital distribution) is having one of its biggest years ever. The classics never go out of style.
Mobile and social gaming are still largely ignored by the biggest publishers and hardware makers in the industry – why? Sean’s take: when you’re dealing with companies that big, with such massive operating budgets, change happens slowly. The consumer is able to adapt much more quickly than such large companies, but the companies will get there in the end.
Is it ethical to offer free and discounted apps?Is it fair to the artists? There’s probably a convincing argument for both sides, says Sean, but “the reality is that if you make games, you want as many people to play them as possible.” Introducing multiple price tiers is probably a better way to make that happen than sticking firmly with one price.
What about artists who say they can’t price their work - even at low rates – without consumers complaining about having to pay for games? Sean believes customers understand that premium content is worth paying a premium price, but adds that “freemium” is a great way to expose a large audience to a game. He suggests an upsell model, which allows users to test a game for free for a limited period of time, after which it must be purchased for more play.
Will consoles ever catch up with mobile? What does the future of GameFly look like? Consoles are going through a transition. All major consoles are now incorporating other forms of entertainment, rather than being solely reliant on a disc-based game experience, in order to remain relevant. Going forward, consoles will have to be full entertainment hubs.
How will GameFly’s recently-announced plan to fund mobile developers strike a balance between business and creativity? GameFly wants to be a boutique publisher, Sean explains. The focus is on quality, not quantity, so the company will only publish a few games each quarter. GameFly is committed to only putting out products that are fun, innovative, and polished.
For more from Sean, read the full interview here.