We use cookies on our website to enhance your user experience. By browsing further, you agree to the website's cookies policy. Read more here

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2013 - BARCELONA

18 March 2013

“It simply isn’t feasible to launch a game, and then walk away”

Alisa Chumachenko

Founder and CEO of Game Insight

Game Insight stand at MWC was beautiful and comfortable, and we were even able to taste some cocktails named after their games and some Spanish wine. Game Insight staff was very kind and we had a great time there, chatting about a lot of things, both related and non, to mobile gaming.

Game Insight is one of the major players in mobile gaming industry, and your games easily get several hundreds of thousands downloads. When and how did all this get started?

It all started three years ago when I decided to found my own gaming company. By that time, I had already gained a lot of experience in gaming. I worked as a Vice President of Marketing and Advertising for Astrum Online, the biggest online gaming company in Eastern Europe. Game Insight was founded at the very beginning of 2010 as a social games developer, but very soon we realized that while social gaming was popular, the mobile market offered tons of exciting new opportunities, and we refocused on mobile.

In particular, one of our most exciting early stories was our pursuit of the developing Android gaming market at a time when all eyes were on iOS gaming. The result was Paradise Island, the first Android game ever to take the #1 top spot on Google Play for more than 26 consecutive weeks!

That’s not to say that we favor one platform over another. In fact, we try to focus less on platform and more on creating great games for as many players as possible, which is why we develop for iOS, Android, Amazon, and Windows 8. We definitely focus strongly on growth and exploring new markets, but at the end of the day, it still always comes down to making great games.

So, in a very dynamic (and more than a little crazy!) way, we’ve gone from being a startup to becoming one of the leading mobile gaming companies in the world. Game Insight is now home to more than 500 employees, and we have 15 studios under our umbrella.

All of Game Insight’s games are freemium titles, even though some developers tend to avoid this formula. Is Game Insight’s signature, or is it something that developed over time?

Yes, freemium games are our specialty. Back in 2010, we saw freemium gaming as the future, and now, three years later, we’re seeing that future become reality. We feel that freemium gaming and mobile work especially well together. As a counter-example, the team at Game Insight loves games of all kinds and on all platforms, including computer games and console games—but console games usually require a significant investment up front and a significant amount of time to sit down and play in the living room. Mobile games can offer similarly in- depth experiences, but they’re also enjoyed on the go by a much, much more diverse group of players with much more variation in how much time and money they’re willing to invest at any given time. At Game Insight, we’ve always tried to cater to all players who enjoy fun mobile games, and over the course of 2013, you’ll see us unveil an exciting new line of games that will appeal to even more players!

As Game Insight do seems like an expert on the freemium formula, may we ask if all your mobile games will always be freemium? Is this the absolute best formula? Is there even a feasible alternative, nowadays? Also, is it true that you were one of the first companies to introduce in-app purchases?

We can’t say whether 100% of all mobile games will all become freemium, but this style of game has definitely become much more popular, and we don’t see any end in sight for freemium game growth, particularly since one of our company’s most important goals is to continue to expand worldwide to new markets—among other developments, in 2012, we made significant progress in Korea and Japan and debuted in Brazil, for instance.

We weren’t the very first company to start using in-app purchases, but we made the decision very early on to produce only freemium games back in 2010, and we’ve never looked back.

With a few exceptions, GI’s games mostly seem like never-ending management games. How is GI going into other genres? What kind of people play GI games? For instance, your non-management games like Mystery Manor have also been successful, and you already have a huge base of players ready to try out any new game projects you produce. In addition, you have an enviable mix of male and women players... that must mean that you’re doing things right... right?

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

We have our fair share of city-building strategy games like Airport City, The Tribez, Paradise Island, and others, but yes, as you mention, we also have other games in our portfolio, such as our popular hidden-object games Mystery Manor and Mirrors of Albion. We’re grateful every day for our great players, who play our games all the time and aren’t afraid of letting us know what they think about them!

We try to make great games that just about anyone can enjoy, and that includes both men and women. And later this year, we’ll be releasing some brand-new games that are neither city-builder games nor hidden-object games to appeal to even more diverse audiences. For instance, this spring, we’ll release our first free-to-play, cross-platform mobile massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), Dragon Eternity, for iPad. Dragon Eternity is already available as a browser-based game with more than 2 million players worldwide, and with the iPad release, players on both platforms will be able to adventure with each other simultaneously! In addition, we’ll be releasing an Android version of Dragon Eternity shortly afterwards, to create a truly cross-platform MMORPG experience for mobile and web usersalike.

Your games are also known for regular updates based on seasonal holidays or other special events.

Yes, we believe that it simply isn’t feasible to launch a game, and then walk away. Players dedicate their time and energy to our games after we launch them, and if we didn’t do the same, we’d feel like we were letting them down. Our players tell us all the time that they want more content for the great games they love: more levels, more puzzles, more achievements, more everything. By including regular updates, especially for holidays and other events, we can surprise our players with all-new additions that make their favorite games even better, including additions that directly address their feedback.

In addition, we feel that updating content for our games is a great way to help us bring them to new audiences. Of course, when bringing games to new countries, we fully localize all games for language (our games have been translated into more than 20 languages in 140 countries). However, when we launched in Brazil in Fall 2012, we debuted with three of our most popular titles: Paradise Island, The Tribez, and Airport City—new versions that were not only localized in Portuguese, but also contained exclusive content tailored for that audience, like Football stadiums, samba music, and of course, Carnaval.

Let’s look to the future. What will mobile games be like in five years? 10 years?

We have to get used to touch interfaces first, and explore everything that can be done with them. There are already some established control schemes for various types of touchscreen mobile games for games like Match-3 puzzles, infinite runners, and so on... but I wouldn’t be surprised to see at least a few more ingenious control and interface schemes gain prominence in the years to come.

Of course, processing power and graphics resolution will be improved on future mobile tablets as well, but we’re sure that whatever else happens, in five to 10 years, mobile developers will still be working hard to create excellent games, just as we are now. While we’re excited about what developments like Google Glass mean for the future, at Game Insight, our day-to-day business is always developing exciting new games, and making our current games even better.

Lastly, any advice to that garage developer who is now coding the next wanna-be blockbuster?

At Game Insight, we believe that people should make intelligent use of whatever resources they have available, and when resources are limited, we believe that people should play to their strengths. In the case of smaller independent developers who may be feeling those limitations, we think it’s best for those developers to focus on developing, and for marketers to focus on marketing, and publishers to focus on publishing.

If you have dedicated years to learn to code and design, you clearly care deeply about creating an awesome new game experience. But if, in comparison, you devote only months to learning how to release your game, and find yourself just hoping for a miracle to become an overnight sensation... Well, let’s just say that it may be possible for a developer to get lucky every so often, but unfortunately, this just isn’t the case for the vast majority of all independent projects.

Every day, dozens of outstanding games, innovative games that were developed with real talent and passion, get lost in the growing sea of thousands and thousands of apps. Despite the skill and creativity of these hardworking developers, without good marketing, it’s impossible to stand out from the crowd. This is why we believe, now more than ever, that creative developers should look for a good publisher to help them bring their games to market, so that publishers can focus on marketing, and developers can focus on development.

Read more at Appszoom.com