Interview

TeePee Games' Tony Pearce on building a recommendation portal for social and mobile games

TeePee Games' Tony Pearce on building a recommendation portal for social and mobile games
Well known in the mobile games space as the founder of publisher/distributor Player X, Tony Pearce has been working on his next big thing for almost a year.

Aimed at dealing with the problems of digital game discovery, both for developers and consumers, TeePee Games got a boost this week thanks to investment from and a strategic partnership with Turner Broadcasting Europe.

"The problem is charts on Facebook and app stores are self fulfilling," Pearce explains, of the inspiration between TeePee.

"They should be dynamic, but people focus on the top 20, so the top 20 is always the same. Developers can't get there unless they have Zynga or Playfish-sized marketing budgets. We want to bring long tail content to the fore."

Today's special

The mechanism behind this is TeePee's recommendation engine, which is currently being trained in an open beta period involving 20,000 users via its website.

In its current form, it requires the input of person's gender, favourite game genre and chosen platform to come up with four recommended games titles and four you might enjoy.

"It's like a mixture of Apple's Genius and Amazon's sales engine, but over time, we expect to develop it into something that offers the options available in last.fm or Pandora," Pearce says.

"If someone says they like FIFA, it will be able to tell them what platforms it's available on, and other games they should check out."

On the launchpad

Pearce expects the beta to continue, improving the engine, until TeePee's Facebook presence goes live in May. This will enable much wider access as people will be able to sign up direct with Facebook, using its embedded community options to drive viral growth.

Following this, TeePee's website will be opened up so people can use it without registration, although doing this will provide a deeper experience. There's also an off-Market Android app available.

The wider point will be to ensure the TeePee brand - think native American theme and sharp cartoon style - is maintained across these different entry points.

Big friendly giant

As for the undisclosed amount of investment from Turner, it will be enough to keep TeePee going for a while: it originally raised £500,000 in seed funding.

"Turner provides cash and has a minority stake in the company, and we get access to various affiliate deals and marketing," he explains.

"It's a useful deal for Turner too, because it gets to understand how its consumers, who range from pre-Facebook Cartoon Network kids to Ben 10 teenagers, and then older Adult Swim fans interact with social media and games."

You can see what TeePee Games is all about via its website.
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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