January 11th, 2013
MocoSpace was recently ranked the #1 top Hispanic mobile site by Comscore, by both total and daily audience size, as well as time spent – over 5x greater than our nearest competitor!
March 5th, 2012
Another post I recently published on Gamasutra
In advance of the session I’ll be presenting this week at GDC, I wanted to share some of the key points regarding the opportunity for mobile game developers to start taking advantage of HTML5 today.
HTML5 represents a massive paradigm shift for mobile gaming:
- It solves the platform fragmentation nightmares that have mired the industry for the last decade.
- It moves us away from the walled gardens of the wireless network operators and away from the proprietary app ecosystems with their restrictive and arbitrary policies on application behavior and monetization.
- It facilitates open discovery, where our games are not doomed to being buried in an app store catalog as the only means for being discovered (see graphic below). Last week Google announced 450,00 apps have been launched on the Android marketplace. With 550,000 on the iOS store, we have now officially crossed the 1 million app mark!
HTML5 is the ultimate solution to platform fragmentation, across desktop and mobile, as well on all manner of connected devices. Some of the most popular games and apps – mobile and online – are already leveraging HTML5, including Zynga’s Words with Friends, Cut the Rope, and Angry Birds which Rovio recently launched on the Chrome store. HTML5 is well suited for many game genres, but not yet ready for 3D or games that seek to push the limit on graphics or audio capabilities – further hardware accelerated graphics, WebGL, as well as much better audio support are needed.
There are a growing number of distribution channels out there as well for you to take advantage of. These include the MocoSpace mobile game platform, Facebook’s mobile platform (previously code named Project Spartan), the Google Chrome store, the recently announced Mozilla App Marketplace, ZeeWee and other HTML5 app and game portals, both mobile and online.
Finally, a few words on billing channels available via the mobile Web, outside of the native app stores. As part of the MocoSpace gaming platform, we provide seamless access to all these channels and more.
|Direct carrier bill||Best UX, good revenue share|
|Credit card||Great revenue share, much better than expected results|
|Premium SMS||Decent UX, poor revenue share|
|Prepaid cards||Surprisingly strong adoption on mobile|
|PayPal||Weak adoption on mobile|
|Facebook Credits||Basically broken on mobile|
|Offers||Basically non-existent on mobile|
We’ll be covering a lot more when it comes to HTML5 mobile gaming at the session – hope to see you there!
January 21st, 2012
After a long 16hr day some redemption: The MocoSpace team’s “Friends With Zombies” HTML5 game won 2 of the 4 prizes in yesterday’s Facebook Mobile Hack – Best Game and Best Overall App!
Below the official winner photo and a couple of screenshots.
January 7th, 2012
Another post I recently published on Gamasutra
2011 was the biggest year yet for the multi-billion dollar mobile gaming industry. From IPOs to M&A, the industry has gone from a stepchild of the console gaming world to the leading platform for interactive entertainment.
Here’s what we can look forward to in 2012.
1. Mobile gaming reaches the masses…and HTML5 will be ‘the great normalizer’
This year 55 percent of gamers were expected to play games on their phones or handheld devices, according to the ESA – and I expect to see that percentage jump to over 75 percent in 2012. Improvements in HTML5 mobile gaming will be key to this growth, by allowing people to play social games with each other no matter what device their friends have. One champion of HTML5 is Peter Relan, chairman of the mobile/internet incubator YouWeb, which has incubated four gaming startups. Relan has said, “HTML5 games will start out as arcade titles. Then they will evolve. The technology is here to be the great normalizer across the platforms.”
But the technology is not all that’s necessary for mobile gaming to reach mass appeal – as we learn more about the appeal of mobile gaming and the people who love to play games, we need to create new games tailored to a gamer’s interests, age, and location. Because of the specificity of these games, advertisers can be especially targeted in their mobile marketing as well.
2. A purely HTML5 mobile game will gross seven figures in revenue
As HTML5 matures this coming year, we can expect to see mass-adoption by game developers. According to Strategy Analytics, HTML5 handset sales will surge 365 percent between 2011 and 2016. HTML5 allows developers to build a game once and then publish it across many platforms, maximizing distribution and revenue opportunities.
At MocoSpace we’ve seen over 30 HTML5 mobile games launch in 2011 on our platform. The best games, including our own Street Wars and FriendShop titles, are on track to amass over 1 million MAU and bring in over seven figures in revenue. There’s also a huge amount of innovation happening with HTML5 games for mobile – for example, last fall we launched Rise to Fame, a celebrity themed social role-playing game which leverages the geolocation capabilities of HTML5 to enable players to check-in at various locations around town to help build their celebrity status.
3. Brand integration in mobile games will triple
Many brands have created virtual goods for desktop games, but only a few have experimented with creating branded virtual goods in mobile games. Old Navy and Best Buy understand the importance of creating emotional value for their customers; the ‘Best Buy Sleigh’ appears in Zynga’sCityVille, while Old Navy has connected with Crowdstar’s It Girl to encourage gamers to buy clothes from a virtual rack. These companies have tapped into the $350 million mobile virtual goods industry to increase sales and brand awareness.
And thanks to Zynga’s public presence, combined with better education around metrics of game engagement in the agency world, brand integration in social games will grow triple-fold in 2012. Brands will set out to discover innovative ways to entice gamers and establish memorable experiences. Gamers will be excited about their purchases: for little expense and no hassle, consumers can engage with their favorite brands, in ways which benefit their game experience – literally in the palm of their hand.
4. Android in-app game revenue will grow, but still disappoint
At the end of 2011, the iTunes App Store is reported to generate nearly four times the revenue of the Google Android Market, according to mobile analytics firm Distimo. Earlier this year, Mobclix analyzed 50 top-performing apps that each had 500,000 downloads and/or 75,000 daily active users; finding that iPhone games generate $4.00 per active user, with Android users at less than half that at $1.90.
Even though Android devices have been heavily adopted this year, and will continue to be in 2012, iPhone users still outpace Android users in purchases. I expect to see growth for Android in mobile games revenue, especially as carrier billing options grow in the Android marketplace, but this growth will not provide enough incentive for developers to shift their focus to building on the platform yet. Expect to see developers focus on iPhone and HTML5 games in 2012.
These are my predictions for 2012 – I’m excited to see how this year plays out, and to be in the midst of this incredible growth in mobile gaming. eMarketer projected that 72.8 million people would play games on their mobile devices in 2011 – and I believe the number of mobile gamers will far surpass the 100 million mark in 2012.
What do you see as emerging trends in mobile gaming this year?
November 22nd, 2011
This is a post I recently published on Gamasutra
As a founder of two mobile gaming companies, I’ve done a lot of team building and hiring for all kinds of roles over the years, including designers, producers, project managers and developers. Of course there is no guaranteed formula for success for jobseekers, but the following qualities are what I’ve learned to look for in order to identify the best and brightest candidates. To the extent that you can demonstrate these, you’ll vastly improve your odds of landing the job of your dreams.
Proving to a potential employer that you’re smart is not an obvious task. Certainly your ability and desire to learn and adapt quickly are key, as are your abilities to identify problems and opportunities and resolve them effectively. Specific, relevant examples demonstrating your ability to problem-solve will go a long way in proving just how smart you really are. Gleaning some piece of meaningful insight from an analytics report, or even identifying and troubleshooting a particularly tricky bug are both great examples of this.
How much do you really care about the industry you work in, or want to break into? Loving what you do can drive you to excel, and any evidence of this that you can demonstrate will reflect very well on your motivation and desire to succeed. Passion can take many forms: staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the game industry, actively blogging on industry topics, or attending informal meetups or gatherings of industry professionals. Also, spending some time outside of work on related personal, group or open source projects, even if they are more experiments than anything else. Even discussing your personal gaming preferences and achievements – like when you stayed up for 48 hours straight playing Call of Duty – can help convey your passion for the industry. Find ways to demonstrate your thirst to learn, grow and excel.
Plays Well with Others
A very important quality that has less to do with you individually is your ability to work and thrive as part of a team. This is often overlooked by candidates, as people tend to focus on individual achievements; but being part of a winning team is an accomplishment in itself, and can tell a manager that you can recognize success and know what it takes to get there.
Gets Stuff Done
Ultimately it all comes down to this. Are you capable of getting done what needs to be done? Meeting deadlines and living up to expectations are just the starting the point. The real question is, do you drive things to completion? A manager wants to know that you don’t need to be micromanaged, but that you can take initiative on your own, as needed, to see a project through. Give specific examples of instances, no matter how small, when you’ve recognized a problem or opportunity, stepped up and acted effectively.
November 7th, 2011
A photo and short writeup in Pocket Gamer from the standing room only session given by the MocoSpace team at GDC Online 11 this October on HTML5 games for mobile. The huge number of participants and Q&A at the end clearly demonstrated that HTML5 is growing very quickly in terms of mindshare among game developers.
June 16th, 2011
Not directly relevant to MocoSpace, as I don’t expect us to fail but I was recently interviewed for an interesting piece on hiring and startups for the Wall Street Journal -
June 15th, 2011
We’re proud to be sponsoring and hosting the Boston HTML5 Game Developers Meetups every month in our offices. Come by and join us! http://www.meetup.com/Boston-HTML5-Game-Development/
March 24th, 2011
This post was published in Gamers Daily News
A great indicator of growth in this industry is how healthy new game development is. At the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this spring, I was blown away by the energy and the large number of people there. This year a record 19,000 people attended GDC.
We set out to meet some quality game developers and learn more about trends from big names as well as indie game developers. Here are three trends that seemed to become thematic for the entire event, and that we think will color how the rest of 2011 will play out.
1. HTML5 vs. Apps as future games platform
HTML5 is getting closer and closer to prime time, and those of us who are betting big on the browser-based gaming experience can expect to see even more big developments this year. At GDC, the Khronos Group announced the release of their final WebGL 1.0 specification, which enables hardware-accelerated 3D graphics in HTML5-compatible web browsers without requiring plug-ins.
It’s clear from announcements such as these and others at GDC that HTML5 is bringing a rich, app-like UI, design and interactivity to the mobile web. Now that a huge number of consumers are consuming mobile content, we expect to see more games developed for HTML5 including every popular title from the likes of Zynga.
2. Despite iPad 2, Android Becomes the King in Mobile
Although Apple made its iPad 2 announcement simultaneously with GDC, Google made its own waves by passing out free Cr-48 laptops at Google’s Web Developer Day got a, as well as a free Motorola Xoom tablet or a Nexus S smartphone to those attending technical sessions on Android.
Other companies on the Android wagon included Sony Ericsson and Unity Technologies.
Sony Ericsson introduced their Xperia Play, the first PlayStation-certified smartphone that features a slide-out pad for gaming. Here’s a good demo of the new device.
Unity Technologies announced the release of the Unity Android add-on for its development platform, which allows game developers to port their Unity-based projects to Android devices. The add-on features an integrated editor for deploying a single project on multiple platforms, as well as support for upcoming Android devices, such as Tegra Tablets and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. Other features are an optimized graphics pipeline or OpenGL ES 2.0 and the ability to use an Android phone as an input device to view/test projects directly.
As Android continues to see increased device adoption and further integration of gaming on the platform, we expect to see Google rolling in the coins and make a big move into gaming.
3. Brands and Mobile Social Explode
We are starting to see growing legitimacy around social gaming and mobile gaming. Major players like John Romero, Steve Meretzsky, and Ralph Koster – whose bread and butter was PC games – have moved into social gaming. Even Nintendo president Satoru Iwata stressed the importance of social interaction in his keynote speech.
Social gaming on mobile brings a number of positives; creating for mobile is conducive to smaller team projects, and has the potential to tap into hundreds of millions of people, unlike games for one platform.
Another hot topic in mobile social was taking existing brands and IPs and pushing them into social; Playdom is a great example of this, with their “ESPN College Town” developed with ESPN University. The Playfish team has also seen great success with the Monopoly brand.
Overall, GDC this year had a great vibe to it. We’re seeing a ton of potential in mobile social, and the explosion of platforms is providing an exciting and competitive edge to the space. As we move further into 2011, we can’t wait to see what the talented developers of our industry have in store for us.
January 20th, 2011
Surprising to some, we see a wide, and growing, diversity of screen resolutions from handsets (and soon tablets) running Android. This is in stark contrast to the iPhone/iPod/iPad world, with their fixed, uniform screen resolutions. It is crucial to take this into account when building for the mobile Web, requiring the use of appropriate HTML and CSS design techniques, as well dealing with portrait/landscape orientation changes. As Android devices continue to proliferate rapidly, in a host of form factors, the challenges here will continue to mount.