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Brands are key to cost effective UA, says Warner Bros' Greg Ballard

Brands are key to cost effective UA, says Warner Bros' Greg Ballard

Warner Bros Interactive has taken the opportunity of GDC 2015 to pull the cloak off five new mobile games built upon the Batman, DC Comics, Mortal Kombat and Legobrands.

It's a bold move that seeks to establish Warner's mobile arm as a key player in an industry worth $30 billion.

Created internally, the games include Batman: Arkham Underworld from Turbine, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham from TT Games, DC Comics Legends from WB Games San Francisco, Game of Thrones from Turbine, and Mortal Kombat X from NetherRealm Studios.

"We are bringing top entertainment franchises, cross-platform connectivity, and proven brand marketing expertise to the mobile space with free-to-play and premium games," Warner Bros' senior vice president for mobile, Greg Ballard told PocketGamer.biz.

Mobile gaming has been a key focus for Warner Bros since it dipped its toes in the waters four years ago when it started making titles through third-party developers.

Changing focus

Things shifted again two years ago when the company launched its own game studio in San Francisco - WB Games San Francisco - that specialised in bringing top entertainment brands and introducing them to the mobile gaming market.

"In the last two years, our mobile development teams have set sights on developing and publishing franchise-focused titles based on top entertainment and gaming brands," Ballard says.

"Our approach allows players to engage with their favorite properties/brands on different platforms, and with innovation through things like unique console connectivity.

"We are adapting to mobile play patterns and giving gamers something different."

Brands are key to the Warner Bros game library

The conversation surrounding branding has been particularly loud at this year's GDC, as more and more companies start seeking to leverage the established user bases attached to famous franchises - thus lowering the cost of UA.

"I think the industry has been very focused on performance marketing, which has been an effective but increasingly expensive way to bring consumers into the mobile market," says Ballard.

"But in that effort, I think the industry could further utilize proven techniques of standard brand marketing that has well served the broader gaming market and, of course, consumer brands more generally.

"I am very excited about WBIE's skills and expertise in this area and look forward to leveraging our company existing efforts for our console titles, our movies and even our TV brands to bring users to the mobile market in a more cost effective way."

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