WildTangent's Sean Vanderdasson on why its curated and rental game service is ideal for Android
Great games, flexible access
Known for its work pioneering new distribution channels for PC gaming, WildTangent now has mobile firmly in its sights.
Operating in a similar way to PC, it's partnering up with OEMs and carriers to embed its curated games platform on Android tablets and smartphones.
Out of the box
Its biggest deal to-date has been with T-Mobile USA, while its service is available in Europe on Sony's Tablet S and Tablet P.
Of course, consumers can also download the WildTangent app directly onto their device, although only if they've enabled downloads from unauthorised sources. The app counts as being an app store; something Google doesn't allow to be distributed via the official Android Market.
"We'll keep on talking to Google. Maybe it will see the light," jokes senior vice president Sean Vanderdasson.
As he points out, a curated service - such as that offered by WildTangent - is all about providing a great user experience; not a term often used to describe the jumble sale approach on Android Market.
"It's a free-for-all; not the most joyous experience for consumers," Vanderdasson argues.
"We're providing top quality content, ranging from brands such as Fruit Ninja, Guerilla Bob and Doodle Jump, as well as looking for upcoming games."
WildTangent adds around 10 new games per week, ensuring all part of its value chain - OEMs, developers and consumers - have the best experience.
More than just offering games though, the company's real expertise is in the flexible way it makes them available.
These range from free play and daily rentals to advertising-led offers, outright purchases or a combination therein. For example, after a certain number of daily rentals, some games are purchased outright.
"Rental reduces the risk for consumers and means we don't marginalise the IP," Vanderdasson says. "You can try all our games for free. We're the only service that's offers this."
This is enabled as the company has its own ad network, BrandBoost.
Used for casual PC games, as well as within WildTangent channels, it incentivises gamers to 'engage with an advertiser', typically watching a video to unlock content, whether than be a day's rental or a virtual item.
This is backed up by WildTangent's in-game currency WildCoins, which can be bought in packs, gained as part of a monthly subscription, or earned via BrandBoost.
Sweet taste of success
Launched in October with the T-Mobile deal, Vanderdasson is excited about the future.
"We expect Android to be kicking off in 2012, especially as we see Ice Cream Sandwich tablets and smartphones coming to market," he says. "I think it will significantly improve the user experience."
The company also expects to be pushing out into Europe, extending its currently English language service more widely.
But the opportunity isn't without its hazards.
"There are a lot of moving parts in this market," Vanderdasson warns. "We'll grow where it's appropriate. We're not going to push out mediocre product."
You can find out more about WildTangent via its website.
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