Interview

PlayPhone will prevail against 'deep pocketed' social gaming rivals, says EVP Anders Evju

PlayPhone will prevail against 'deep pocketed' social gaming rivals, says EVP Anders Evju
With the launch of PlayPhone's second generation SDK for its cross-platform Social Gaming Network, the company is looking to entice developers with a new suite of tools.

Chief among them is the snappily-named Performance Optimisation Platform – or POP!, for short.

When implemented effectively, PlayPhone claims that these tools will "place full publishing power back into developers' hands."

To find out how developers can use these features – and how the company plans to counter the expansion of Asia's global mobile platforms – we spoke to PlayPhone's EVP, business development and strategic partnerships, Anders Evju.

Pocket Gamer: PlayPhone Social Gaming Network SDK 2.0 introduces a number of new features. What benefits do these new tools bring compared to the previous SDK?

Anders Evju: Integration ease and time has reduced tremendously.

With the second-generation SDK PlayPhone is targeting developers who have ready-to-launch or already launched game titles, this is so they can see the benefit of POP! immediately.

We are very sure developers will see bigger and better metrics with this new SDK and being part of PlayPhone Social Gaming Network.

What is POP!, and how can developers effectively use it in their games?

POP! gives developers' games the performance boost they needs with better user engagement, conversions and monetisation.

PlayPhone POP! allows developers to include smart popups in their games with as little as one line of code; they have a native feel and are instantly customisable to the game's theme remotely via the PlayPhone Developer Portal.

Developers can also fully control these smart popups remotely including the ability to run split tests using percentages, conversion rates or location. The smart popups will allow developers to include special in-app offers, ads, Facebook invites, cross promotions, etc., inside games.

PlayPhone describes itself as the "first true cross-platform social gaming network on the market today." What do you think are the benefits of cross-plaform development?

Ubiquity is built in our modern social behaviour, which is increasing online.

As an example, there is high probability that users with Android phones will own a iPad or tablet and would be interacting with their friends on Android or Windows based devices.

To be successful and unleash the full potential of a game, the cross platform playability and portability are becoming a must-have. We have designed our platform and SDK with this reality.

Do you see multiplatform development and cross-platform social features as the inevitable future of mobile development?

As mentioned, being successful in a silo will limit the potential success of a game and to be truly social requires ubiquitous availability of said game perhaps with experiences slightly tuned to take maximum benefit of each platform.

We would like to say that users are already expecting this and you will see most famous and highly successful titles are already cross platform or are announcing to be going that route…. so it is the present and future of mobile game development.

Other mobile social networks are aggressively expanding into the West, GREE in particular. How do you counter that threat? Does GREE's recent spate of studio start ups and acquisitions concern you at all?

PlayPhone brings it unique advantage to the table by providing the easiest SDK and the most complementary partner.

We are not focused on the IP at all; we are a network of games where gamers can connect and play with other gamers together.

Acquisitions can fix metrics and growth in the short term but a market-friendly strategy is the one we would bet on to counter any threat from a deep pocketed rival.

What features might you be looking to introduce in future SDKs?

At PlayPhone, we like to say we don't speak until we deliver, but you can look forward to the availability of more carriers added to our single-billing API, support for an increasing number of app stores, and increased distribution.

On the game features front, we would like to bring the learnings from our POP! and the push-notifications world and put the power of running and optimizing push notification in the hands of the developers.

To really sum it up, we watch metrics and market dynamics closely and like to listen keenly to our users, developers and carrier partners, and that influences our road-map quite a lot.
Thanks to Anders for his time. 
Staff Writer

PocketGamer.biz's news editor 2012-2013

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