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Going global: Smartphones are shrinking the world, says King

Going global: Smartphones are shrinking the world, says King

"If you look at the top charts across the globe, you can see that the Nordic regions are over-represented - especially if you compare to the actual population," opened King's games guru Tommy Palm during his keynote at Pocket Gamer Connects in Helsinki.

"I always think the advantage developers from Finland and Sweden have is, our home regions are so small that very few of us would make games for this region, so go global."

King has most certainly gone global. Beginning his presentation with Candy Crush Saga's amusing ad campaign for the Korean market – depicting an executive taking on a level during a business meeting and, later, in a toilet cubical – Palm said the reasons for western developers making a move on the east are obvious.

"The top three countries last year by revenue according to App Annie were Japan, US, Korea, and everyone knows China is one of the fastest growing markets for mobile at the moment," he continued.

"So there is good reason for game developers here in the west to look at those markets, although it doesn't mean your game will make more money there."

A royal view

In amongst a flurry of other stats – King has 800 employees now working across seven different studios and four different offices, boasts 352 million monthly unique players and 143 million daily active users – Palm highlighted the fact the firm has recently opened bases in Japan and Korea.

"It's not just about geography, either," Palm added.

"New target groups are now being reached thanks to smartphones. I never thought that the generation that was 10 years after me would convert to gamers, but with casual gamers it's becoming obvious that everyone can be a gamer if you make your game accessible. Once the hurdle of making an up front investment has gone, it all becomes much easier."

Palm takes to the stage

But while there are obvious hurdles to branching out abroad – localisation an ever present issue – Palm said going global is becoming far more straightforward thanks to mobile.

"Smartphones are helping the world to shrink," he concluded.

"We're getting common stories now. Marketing and analytics need to be local, but gameplay can be global, or universal even, reaching out to everybody."

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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