Interview

Playdemic CEO Paul Gouge explains how Golf Clash is getting more competitive with clans and potentially esports too

Playdemic CEO Paul Gouge explains how Golf Clash is getting more competitive with clans and potentially esports too

When a developer tells you they’ve been “blown away” because their game’s performance has been “beyond their wildest dreams”, it’s tempting to wonder how ambitious they really are.

Given Playdemic CEO Paul Gouge is a serial game entrepreneur - Playdemic is his fourth game company - and the game he’s referring to Golf Clash, which has grossed over $225 million, it’s obvious his sentiment lacks hyperbole, however.

And work at the Warner Bros.-owned studio continues apace. Indeed, the latest feature added to the colourful real-time multiplayer sports experience takes it in what initially appears to be an unusual direction.

“Actually, we had clans in our original design document,” Gouge explains, when asked how the idea of such in-game groups for a nominal single player golf game arose.

“We even debated including it at launch."

Social glue

Now, almost two years since the game’s debut, and two months since the update, the new clans feature, which enables groups of 50 players to work together for combined goals, is going down very well.

“Engagement is up an average of 10 minutes a day, which takes our overall peak average up to to 50 minutes a day,” Gouge reveals.

As well as features such as clan badges and medals, and clans leagues, the update also includes real-time chat so players can swap tips and focus their activity. Future additions will include a clan points system and a top 100 ranking for the most committed clans.

Not directly related but monetisation remains strong too, with the game regularly posting ‘best ever’ months, although Gouge is keen to point out “monetisation is not our prime mission”.

“We never force people to pay for anything,” he says.

Engagement is up by an average of 10 minutes a day.
Paul Gouge

“Golf Clash monetises very well because we focus on entertaining and engaging our audience.”

Finding balance

In many ways then this sounds like the continuation of a typical mobile game success story. Gouge makes it clear this isn’t the case.

“We really sweated over the name,” he says.

“Clans aren’t something you associate with golf so we were nervous our players might not get it, especially the golf fans. They aren’t your typical mid-core audience.”

Significantly, other options such as the more prosaic term ‘teams’ couldn’t be used. “We’re saving that for something else,” Gouge teases.

Yes, there is a plan to bring Golf Clash to esports: after all it is the No.1 mobile sports game in the world.

“We think we have a strong opportunity because everyone understands how golf works and it works for spectators too. There isn’t any frenetic camera movement, for example,” Gouge explains.

“But we are approaching this in a very thoughtful way and talking to everyone in the esports space first.”

Putting the sports in esports

Still, once the idea has been raised, Golf Clash as an esport quickly appears to be a perfect match.

We’re aware becoming an esport isn’t something just the developer gets to choose.
Paul Gouge

The highly accessible experience combines real-time, head-to-head, skill-based gameplay; can be extended to Ryder Club-style team play; and - assuming the right commercial deals are signed - could also follow professional golf’s intensive yearly calendar.

“We think we have some big advantages,” Gouge agrees. “But we’re also aware becoming an esport isn’t something just the developer gets to choose.”

By which he means it needs to be something the players and wider community embrace. In that context, while esports will be a big part of Golf Clash’s evolution in 2019, it won’t be the only thing.

“We have more ideas than time. The challenge is to deliver them at the right cadence,” Gouge admits.

Other issues to be addressed include the game’s to-date western focus, with the golf-friendly markets of Japan and South Korea being targeted as the first places in Asia into which Golf Clash can expand.

Two years on, though, it looks like the game has plenty more to swing for.


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.

Comments

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Stan Dukic
Dear mr rippoff paul gouge
Why does pd keep ripping off players
Why does mr cox admit to people cheating yet allows it
Mr rippoff gouge why does your golf clas face book page ban honest players that ask questions about your game in a nice civil manner

What have you got to hide mr rippoff gouge
Stan Dukic
Also jake your facebook page jake steed is a fake page buddy

This does not surprise me at all
Ive come across many golf clash employees with fake made up facebook accounts

So if your fake that explains why your so adamant golf crash is ridgey didge hey jake
Stan Dukic
Jake steed are you a golf clash employee?

Your answer is typical of answers that occur on the face book page golf clash elete

Jake your comments im sorry are a joke
Mr gouge and his game is heaviky manipulated to keep people in the game longer

More money

The latest way they have come up with is jumping needles

Also the shot clocks are 8 to 10 seconds faster

They heavily manipulate tourneys this has been proven over and over again

Jake did you know there is a growing group that have beem gathering recorded games by a university so they can use it in a future law suit ?

Now why would players be doing that jake ?

Im sorry jake but your comments are as fake as the game and people running it
Your employers

Jake Steed
Stan, you have a fantastic imagination, I am sure you do well as a conspiracy theorist. Once you understand rings and elevation, doesn't matter what the cheats come up with, you can still beat them. All you have to do is get good. Your comments are typical of people who think the game owes them something and they shouldn't have to work to be good at it. Patience is required to learn shootout holes, what clubs to use, how to adjust for elevation and ball guides with extended tail and shorter headwinds. You need to learn how to hit advanced shots including power hooks and slices and understand when and where to use them. Once you can demonstrate this skill set, you will realise the game is not rigged. It's only "rigged" for those who have less of a skill level and hence tend to lose more often.
Stan Dukic
Sorry to bother you again mr gouge

But could you pkease expkain to the workd why your admin targets players that continually complaining about your game ?
Mr gouge pkease explain this to the world
Stan Dukic
Still no response from mr gouge

Mr gouge cheating in tourneys is ripe withing in your top 100 clans yet your company does nothing

Mr gouge
Pd manipulates clans progressing
You do this in many ways
Implementing losing streaks on tour and manipulating clans tourneys

Mr gouge please explain to the world why pd claims to have a fair game when infact your game is totally the opposite

Mr gouge
There is a movement now of a massive group legal action against your game
Will you be expkaining to the world why this is happening

Your silence mr gouge is probably a sighn of guilt

Stan Dukic
Mr gouge
Why does golf clash persist in manipulated losing streaks ?
Your game has become a joke
Your fair play statements are a joke
Your ripping off paying customers and they are leaving in droves
You have become an embarrassment in the gaming world
Stop your imposed losing streaks please

And maybe start answering some of these comments
Because if you dont people will still comment here
Dewayne Young
Question: Why is it, you all have been promising for month after month to add a feature that allows you to use the EXTRA cards we get for clubs that are maxed out? This has been an ongoing issue for months as I said before. I know at least 5,000 ppl that play from all walks of life. And ALL of them are ready to leave if something isnt done. So 1 last time? When will you all release an update to use the extra cards? Without a way to use them, we're just doing the same thing day in and day out. Collecting cards FOR NOTHING! THANKS AGAIN!!
Stan Dukic
Come on mr gouge please explain to the world how your tourneys and tour play are not on a level pkaying field for everyone

Mr gouge please explain why you advertise fair gamming yet its not fair
Mr gouge please explain to the world how your new cobra ball is causing glitches

Mr gouge please explain to the world why your admin manipulates players games

Come on mr gouge time to man up
Stan Dukic
They delete comments mike

Dear mr gouge please stop lying about your game
This game is manipulated by you in all facests of the game

Tour play is manulated by you to keep players longer in the game
Tourneys ate definitely manipulated by you
You deem who goes well and who doesmnt

You manipulate clan progress through the ranks

Mr goige you and your conpany are an embarrassment to the gaming world

This game is not fair
And your admin just send pre recorded responses to player complaints

Low lifes and crooks are words that cone in mind when i tell people about the game

I will now continue to exposing you and your game to people who willl listen

Please stop selling your game as fair that is a lie

Thank you
Stan dukic
Mike Russo Cook at The Log Cabin
Extremely surprised there's no comments on this