Interview

2013 In Review: Tilting Point's Giordano Contestabile

2013 In Review: Tilting Point's Giordano Contestabile

As we come to the end of 2013, it's time to look back at the events that dominated the last 12 months in mobile gaming.

As such, we've asked the industry's great and good to give their take on the last year, as well as predicting the trends that will come to pass in 2014.

Giordano Contestabile is VP of product management and monetisation at Tilting Point - a firm established in 2013 that has set out to redefine the role of a traditional publisher. He previously served as senior director of mobile product and business strategy at PopCap.

Pocket Gamer: What do you think was the most significant event for the mobile games industry in 2013?

Giordano Contestabile: More than a single event, I noticed a variable degree of confidence in the industry over the year.

As we entered 2013 I felt a lot of anxiety and skepticism about whether growth was sustainable, or whether we were due for a correction.

Supercell's monster exit and King's - now delayed - projected IPO brought a renewed level of enthusiasm, not completely rational. As the year comes to an end, I see that people are starting to realise that, while the market is healthy and growing, the gap between "haves" and "have nots" is widening.

The buzz about mobile games making as much or more than blockbuster console games doesn't subside, only a few titles - three, to be exact, and always the same ones - are consistently making over $1 million a day, with only a few dozens of the thousands of games launched in 2013 making decent enough revenue.

2013 has been an emotional rollercoaster for the industry.

What was the most significant event for Tilting Point?

We announced Tilting Point in March, alongside our first developer partners, which include Signal Studios and Housemarque.

We then recently announced the first game we'll be launching: Toy Rush, developed by the very talented team at Uber Entertainment. We also grew our team and hired great professionals with experience in companies ranking from 2K Games, to Zynga, to DeNA.

That said, if 2013 was very much about prepping for success, in 2014 we're going to unleash a roster of amazing games on the market, starting with Toy Rush and an incredibly compelling unannounced title in early 2014.

What was your favourite mobile game of the year?

I've been playing a lot of great F2P games in 2013, and I think the progress we collectively made in terms of moving past the primitive stage of the industry is very encouraging - progress that, in part, was forced by users having higher expectations, and rightly so.

That said, I'll single out a premium game, Oceanhorn. The game is fun, really polished and well executed, but the reason why I mention it is because you might say that Oceanhorn is Zelda reinterpreted for the iPad, something for which clearly there was a market demand, a demand that the developer filled when Nintendo was unwilling to do so.

As Jeff Goldblum would say: "Life will find a way". Games, too.

Cornfox & Bros' Oceanhorn

What do you predict will be the most important trends in 2014?

I mentioned early that the market is becoming increasingly competitive and that only a few games amongst thousands succeed.

At the same time, an increasing number of developers, publishers, advertising networks, user acquisition platforms and technology providers are flocking to the industry, looking for that elusive megahit.

My opinion is that there will be a correction - not a dramatic or negative one, but one where only the best companies in the space will survive and thrive.

In 2014 we'll start seeing this playing out, with some players dropping out, some merging, some getting acquired and, increasingly, developers looking for partners that can help them succeed in a market where production values and marketing budgets are increasing, and getting users to discover your game requires an amazing product, a perfectly executed launch and flawless ongoing operations.

What's your New Year's resolution and what resolution would you enforce on the industry?

My New Year's resolution is 2560x1440. I'm hilarious like that.

In terms of what I'd enforce on the industry, maybe everyone should take a written test aimed to measure their passion for games, and only be allowed in if they score high enough: would get rid of the money-hungry interlopers. Joking, naturally. Maybe.

Thanks to Giordano for his time.

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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