Interview

Seriously's Phil Hickey on the new ways of marketing mobile games

Seriously's Phil Hickey on the new ways of marketing mobile games

Marking our first conference in North America, Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco is happening on 7-8 July at The Village.

And tickets are still available.

So to give you a hint at what you can expect, we're shining the spotlight onto our speakers to provide a deeper look at the personalities who will be taking the stage.

Phil Hickey is VP, Marketing & Communications at Helsinki and Los Angeles-based mobile developer Seriously.

As well as talking on The Acquisition Power panel at 1pm on 7 July, he's talking about The Power oF YouTubers at 4.50pm later that afternoon.

PocketGamer.biz: What do you think has be the biggest story in the mobile gaming industry of 2015 so far?

Phil Hickey: Best Fiends reaching nearly 14 million downloads with 1.3 million daily active players would be my number one!

But, another big story in mobile gaming this past year is the shift from traditional mobile advertising for user acquisition to more mainstream advertising campaigns reaching mass markets.

For example, during the Super Bowl, we saw commercials for Clash of Clans, Game of War and Heroes Charge.

Best Fiends is mixing up the match-3 market

Additionally, Heroes Charge sponsored the halftime of the Big East Mens' Basketball Tournament. The NBA finals had the "Clash of the Night" brought to you by Clash of Clans and the latest season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians has tightly integrated storylines that tie into the game, and so on.

Breaking through the clutter is becoming increasingly difficult for mobile games and we are seeing companies find new ways to get discovered.

We're starting to see the growth in mobile gaming revenue slow down in western markets, while in most Asian countries it's still very high. Is this changing the way you approach the sector?

While revenue is important, right now we are focused on building our audience and developing the Best Fiends brand into a global entertainment franchise.

We are expanding the Best Fiends brand in an organic way to new categories and platforms, including physical products through our recent partnership with Kidrobot, which launches at San Diego Comic-Con this year.

Best Fiends is branching out into physical products

Asia is an important market with revenue potential for mobile gaming, and each area needs to be treated differently. We are approaching each market strategically. For example, we recently partnered with Incross to localize Best Fiends for the Korean market.

Brands and celebrities continue to get more important. Is this a good thing for mobile gaming?

Overall, it's good for mobile gaming as strong brands will cut through and make a difference.

We are focused on ... developing the Best Fiends brand into a global entertainment franchise.
Phil Hickey

Regardless of the celebrity or brand, the mobile game still needs to be polished with fun and challenging gameplay mechanics. This is why at Seriously we are aiming to build the "Pixar of mobile" with quality games and a strong attention to detail.

There's lots of hype about wearables, VR and AR at the moment. Do they excite you as gaming platforms?

We are always looking to expand to the latest platforms, and VR and AR are definitely interesting to us.

For example, we launched Best Fiends on Apple Watch on the first day the Watch was released.

What's been your favourite game of 2015 so far. Why?

Besides Best Fiends, I've been playing a lot of Zombie Catchers by my friends at Two Men and A Dog.

The game is fun, has a unique art style and keeps me waiting for new levels!

What are you most looking forward to at Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco 2015?

I'm looking forward to connecting with friends, old and new, and hearing colleagues and industry execs discuss what's next for mobile gaming.

What can you reveal about the talk you're giving at Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco 2015?

I'll be talking about new and unconventional ways for mobile games to cut through the clutter and get discovered through unique marketing campaigns and YouTube celebrities.

We've done some really interesting campaigns here at Seriously leveraging YouTube celebrities like PewDiePie and Rosanna Pansino and I'm looking forward to sharing more.

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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