Game Consultant Podcast, Episode 8 with Corona hits gaming industry, LATAM and Gaming, Games For Change, Beat the Intro and more

Episode 8, Click on Play here under and listen; https://podcastgameconsultant.com/episodes-games-podcast/

If you want to listen to my other podcasts, then click here Podcast Game Consultant.

In Episode 8 of Game Consultant some very interesting topics, besides the lastest game news.

  • Margaret of Games for Change Accelerator is explaining what this Accelerator is doing, what are they looking for and how they operate
  • Carlos did dive into Latin America for us. Which gaming companies, IP’s, demographics and much more
  • Start up in Games; Musicplode with Beat the Intro.

Company to watch; GamerSaferGames2Win and Lightneer

Coronavirus puts much of esports industry on hold.

The list of cancelled events is growing as leagues try to promote the safety of staff and players. https://esportsinsider.com/2020/03/coronavirus-effects-on-esports-industry/

Activision Blizzard was forced to cancel Overwatch League

the Asian teams in the Overwatch League were packing up and flying into Los Angeles. Since the cancellations, Shanghai Dragons, Guangzhou Charge, Chengdu Hunters, Hangzhou Spark, and Seoul Dynasty haven’t played a match.

Other competitions are opting to hold online alternatives while the coronavirus is spreading.

Today Twitch via their official TwitchCon Twitter account announced the cancellation of the TwitchCon Amsterdam which was slated to start on May 2nd and conclude on 3rd May. https://www.talkesport.com/news/twitchcon-amsterdam-event-cancelled-amid-fear-of-coronavirus-spread/

Online Game Conference

Pocket Gamer Connects, just announced their first entirely online event for April 6-10 called PGC Digital w/ streamed presentation talks, a brand new virtual video/audio meeting system, and other events: https://pocketgamer.biz/news/72767/update-on-pocket-gamer-connects-2020-event-plans-and-announcement-of-new-digital-conference/

The economic cost of major tech events canceled due to coronavirus has passed $1 billion

Some of the industry’s biggest events have been postponed, moved online, or canceled altogether.

The direct economic loss from the cancellation from nine major tech conferences including Google I/O, Facebook’s F8 event, Mobile World Congress and now SXSW over coronavirus has already surpassed $1 billion, according to estimates the data intelligence company PredictHQ pulled for Recode.

The Game Developers Conference, a 30,000-person event that was scheduled for March but has been postponed, could incur $129 million in losses. Google I/O, a 5,000-person developer conference has a direct loss estimate of nearly $20 million.

Gamesindustry.biz;

City of Austin cancels SXSW 2020, citing COVID-19 concerns

Twitchcon Amsterdam also joins growing roster of canceled events

PlatinumGames raises over $2.2m for The Wonderful 101: Remastered

Kickstarter campaign closes well above $50k goal

Esports Players League raises $1m in seed round

500 Startups led investment in the amateur-focused esports firm

Pocketgamer.biz

Voodoo saw the most downloads of any mobile game company worldwide in February 2020

More red flags for E3 2020 as creative director Iam8bit resigns

GameOn Technology raises $10.5 million for its ChatOS platform

Gamesbeat

Take-Two boss explains company’s plan to increase game output; https://venturebeat.com/2020/03/05/take-two-new-diverse-games/

Nreal Light AR glasses add Clay AIR hand tracking, hint at 5G gaming; https://venturebeat.com/2020/03/06/nreal-light-ar-glasses-add-clay-air-hand-tracking-hint-at-5g-gaming/

Further news;

Epic cancels Unreal Fest Europe

GamesFirst London 2020 and Google I/O cancelled

Tilting Point buys Star Trek Timelines from Disruptor Beam

Zynga faces class action lawsuit over data breach

Phoenix Games has acquired live-ops specialist Studio Firefly for an undisclosed sum.

What is Games for Change Accelerator (G4CA)

Headquartered in New York City, the Games for Change Accelerator (G4CA) supports growth-driven companies working in games and XR. We differentiate ourselves from other accelerators through our unique focus on games (as opposed to tech in general) and on the double bottom line: revenue and social impact.

G4CA provides these best and brightest teams initial funding, high-level industry coaching, go-to-market planning, and opportunities for strategic partnerships through its extensive network. We accept 10-12 companies a year into our cohort. The G4CA curriculum program is tailored to meet the specific needs of each cohort team.

G4CA was established through a partnership between i(x) investments and Games for Change. i(x) investments is a permanently capitalized holding company, co-founded by Howard W. Buffett and Trevor Neilson. Since 2004, Games for Change has been a leader in advocating for real-world change with games — including through their annual Games for Change Festival.

Who is Margaret and what is she doing at Games for Change Accelerator (G4CA)

Susanna Pollack is President and also the Managing Partner of G4CA. Margaret Wallace is the General Manager (GM). Together, they manage all aspects of the Accelerator in collaboration with the wider Accelerator partnership, advisors, and mentors.

Margaret Wallace utilizes her experience in the games industry as a founder, developer and executive to discover, vet, and mentor companies accepted into the program. She is responsible for designing the curriculum and for the day-to-day operations of the Accelerator.

How long does Games for Change Accelerator (G4CA) exist

The Games for Change Accelerator was established in 2019.

What is the vision?

To help founders who are on a mission to drive positive impact in the world through games and XR to create enduring companies.

I read the intersection of games, XR and social impact. What does this mean?

The rapid growth and impact of the global gaming industry is enormous. Games are now the most pervasive form of entertainment worldwide. Games and XR are drivers of innovation in many sectors and are well-suited to address critical global challenges — whether around climate change, education, financial literacy, healthcare, education, training, to name a few. We invest in companies that have a high potential for success — both financially and in terms of making the world a better place.

What are your ticket sizes?

G4CA is a true accelerator. We are profit-driven. Teams accepted into the cohort have products that are ready to be accelerated. That means these companies have established product-market fit and are already generating revenues.

For companies that are accepted into the G4CA program, they receive an initial investment of $100,000 with a potential follow-on investment of an additional $350,000. For more information, visit www.g4caccelerator.com.

BEAT THE INTRO

  • Can you describe”Beat the Intro’ by Musicplode in short:

Beat the Intro is a music discovery game articulated around identifying songs from music snippets. The game is available on iOS, Alexa and inflight entertainment systems. Android is coming in April.

  • How long is the company existing

The idea started when Kevin Deakin, a London media executive invited some friends for a weekend in Cumbria where heavy rain crashed the party. The friends started to put CDs on and try to identify the songs and artists asap. As a result, Kevin produced 500,000 DVDs which sold out rapidly. In 2018, Kevin signed contracts with all music labels to have their music snippets available on his new game for phones, tablets, Alexa and inflight entertainment system. Since then, Beat the Intro as been awarded Skill of the Year on Alexa in the US in 2018, in the UK in 2019 and has been promoted as Game of the Day on iOS a few times.

The company is now raising funding to expand the game to a music discovery based gamification platform and launch a big data oriented business model and finally apply a commercial and marketing strategy.

  • Some details, team etc?

Target audience? Music enthusiasts owning a smartphone or Alexa device of all ages everywhere.

  • Explain the gameplay

Players listen to short snippets of music and have to identify the artist and song amongst 3 choices in the fastest possible time. The game offers solo game play as well as Challenge a Friend game play and will soon offer Team Play.

  • If I forget something, just add it!

Beat the Intro has received a lot of interest for brand partnerships and has already released a Carling version played across festivals in the UK. We are in talk with several bands to launch white labeled version (limited to one per genre per year) as well as a heavy metal version to address demands from dedicated fans with very few offerings on the market.

One of their original investor who will remain active on a non operational role: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-fitton/

LATAM & GAMES

Carlos Estigarribia
Biz Dev consultant and GM LATAM Lockwood Publishing (Avakin Life)
  • Gaming in LATAM; which companies are there to watch?
Mobile:
Gazeus – Brazil
Wild Life Games – Brazil
Tapps – Brazil
Fanatee – Brazil
Etermax – Argentina
LiveOps/External Development
Oktagon – Brazil
Kokku – Brazil
Original IP
Nimble Giant – Argentina
Aquiris – Brazil
Rockhead – Brazil
ironHide – Uruguay
TinyBytes – Chile
TeraVision – Colombia
Effecto – Colombia
  • How many people are living in LATAM
around 650 Million people (205 Million in Brazil only!).
  • How many are playing games
one thing to notice is that the population is very young, so the percentage of gamer is higher than in other territories, around 234 million (36% of the population says they play games). source: https://www.lionbridge.com/blog/gaming/gaming-market-spotlight-latin-america/
  • How are the mobile subscribtions of operators
subscription model was popular in the old j2me/brew days, the carriers are now starting to test again using partners such as BeMobi, but it’s not still as popular as it was 10 years ago. lots of opportunities to explore in this field
  • Is F2P do-able? Can people pay with CC, google, apple? What is mostly used for payments
Totally, google play and appStore are the main options for sure, but some games are setting up their own payment portals that cover other payment methods such as bank slips, direct transfers or gift cards sold at local stores.
since the advent of subscription services such as netflix and spotify it seems the local culture changed from “piracy” to “ok, if I’m having fun, why not spend?), and the IAP based games are starting to make very decent amounts of money in countries like Brazil and Mexico, which is why so many publishers are now setting up operations here.
  • Are there interesting early stage investors/firms in LATAM
Some local VC funds that invested in game studios
Confrapar: invested in Oktagon
CRP: invested in Aquiris
FINEP (government):  invested in Kokku
Primatec: invested in RockHead
  • Which gaming events are there in LATAM
BIG Festival – July – b2b and b2c, best event to meet with developers (https://www.bigfestival.com.br/home—institucional.html)
GameXP – July – focused in b2c and esports (https://www.gamexp.com.br/en)
BGS – October – focused in b2c (https://www.brasilgameshow.com.br/)
ComicCon XP – December – focused in b2c and pop culture (https://www.ccxp.com.br/)
  • TOP3 countries in terms of players/revenues
Brazil, Mexico and Colombia
  • Anything you would like to add?
the eSports scene is growing very fast in Brazil, it’s definitely a market to be keeping a close eye in.
Gaming companies to watch
LIGHTNEER

Founded in Sep 2015, Lightneer made a pivot to Hyper Casual Development and Publishing in Sep 2018. I came on as turnaround CEO hired by investors in Feb 2018, old CEO and other founder no longer w company. (Lauri Jarvilehto and Peter Vesterbacka). You can check Mark; linkedin.com/in/markseancochrane

We are multi-cultural team of 23 based in Helsinki. Great team and culture with founder Lauri Kontorri (ran Rovio’s prototyping unit for 4.5 years) and Anastasios Katopodis (ran Rovio Stars) as key studio members

Key company milestones since pivot:

  • Achieved over $1M in revenue, $950K in Q4 2019
  • Hammer Jump > 7.5M installs

We are systematic in how we do dev and recently changed to a studio model to drive more efficiency

Each studio (4) test 2-3 proto-types (one week dev) to determine if game is marketable (CPI < $0.30), if so we make a test market launch game (2-3 weeks extra dev) and test CPI and Retention (d1 of > 45% is the target here).

To date we have market tested > 40 games and have worked with Voodoo the leading publisher in the space (did exclusive deal with them for all new games in Q4).

Hammer Jump is our lead game and has shown ROAS of >140% (300% in some markets) and we continue to Live Op the game and have a plan to extend its lifecycle with extensions and expansions

Off the back of our Q4 results we raised some more capital €575K, from existing investors (GSV, Brighteye and IPR.VC)  and Rovio founder and Lightneer founder/investor Niklas Hed

We are close to signing a credit line with Nordea/Finnvera (€200K) and have a grant/loan application in play with Business Finalnd to support our Hammer Jump game.

A major publisher made an offer to acquire the company in Q4 which was rejected by the board.

We are rolling out a new data solution in the coming weeks and are switching our attribution provider from AppsFlyer to Singular so we can see much more granular UA spend and ad monetisation data that will allow us to invest more on the campaigns that drive most ad revenue (this is super hard to do)

We go to market in China through Xiaomi and Byte dance (Tik Tok)

We have a partnership with eSports platform Skillz and will test 3 games with them in Q2

Our long term plan is to be the Nordics Leading Developer and Publisher of Hyper Casual Games, and ultimately publish 100% of our games and also third party games – how fast we do that is dependent on ongoing execution

This year we hope to achieve c. €6M in revenue and become profitable in Q4.

GAMES2WIN

  • Can you describe Games2Win in short
        • We are a mobile gaming company with around 300 million downloads till date with over 90% of those downloads being generated organically.
        • We have over 10 million Monthly Active Users and recently crossed the magical 1 Million DAU mark (across our games) as well.
        • We operate in 3 main genre’s Driving, Dress-Up/Fashion Games, Interactive Story Games with audiences from across the globe including US, Europe, Brazil, Russia, India, Turkey, Mexico, Indonesia, etc.
        • Some of our top games are:
          • Driving Academy (Driving Genre) – iOS | Android
          • International Fashion Stylist (Fashion Genre) – iOS | Android
          • Decisions (Interactive Story Genre) – iOS | Android
      • How long is the company existing
        • Games2win was founded in 2005 and was initially focused on online flash-based casual games.
        • We started making games for mobile in 2011-2012 and have been focusing only on mobile over the last 4-5 years.
  • Some details, how many people, offices?
        • We have over 100 employees between our Mumbai & Bangalore offices with the majority of them in Mumbai.
        • The company is lead by Alok Kejriwal (CEO) & Mahesh Khambadkone (CTO).
  • Can you tell something about the revenues?
        • We are an advertising revenue-driven company, which means that we make most of the money by showing ads to users. However, we’ve improved our IAP’s as well over the last couple of years with the % of the revenue that IAP brings in increasing consistently.
        • Insights:
          • From our experience Rewarded is the best ad format to help drive good revenue as the eCPM’s on Rewarded are the highest.
          • Banners & Interstitials, if used correctly can also drive a large revenue for publishers as they deliver much larger volumes vs Rewarded and the eCPM’s are quite competitive as these ad formats have been around for a long time.
          • The countries which can help drive Ad Revenue-based games are:
            • US – Best eCPM’s and large volume
            • UK, France, Germany – Good eCPM’s but low volume
            • Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia – Low eCPM’s and very high volume.
  • Challenges for 2020 and opportunities 2020?
      • For us IAP is both a challenge and an opportunity and we are focusing our efforts on increasing our IAP contribution further this year and flip the % with IAP on the higher side.
      • UA is a large opportunity for us, and in 2020, we are strongly considering UA and how we can use it to help drive more growth.

GAMERSAFER

1 – GamerSafer is a cybersecurity platform helping online games protect their players and community. With a selfie, during the login process we verify and authenticate gamer digital ID improving players matching systems to minimize disruptive behaviors, frauds and online crimes.

2 – The company was founded one year ago, we were accelerated inside UC Berkeley (SkyDeck), listed on Forbes among the top 5 university accelerators in the World

3 – The Beta SW of our platform was released Dec 2019, our major objectives in 2020 is to evolve with pilots and trials with gaming platforms (targeting titles on MMO segment)

4 – Raising the safety measures for players is not just the right thing to do. The problems we address compromise user engagement leading to churn, on top of that there is an evolving regulatory perspective requiring more pro-active safety measures from online platforms.

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