Interview

Speaker Spotlight: AppOnboard EMEA VP Paul West on hyper-casual's rise and the future of the App Store

Speaker Spotlight: AppOnboard EMEA VP Paul West on hyper-casual's rise and the future of the App Store

Pocket Gamer Connects London 2019 will take place on January 21st to 22nd. To give you a taste of what to expect, we'll regularly be publishing interviews with the speakers at the show.

For more details on PGC London and to book a ticket, head to the website here.

In today's Speaker Spotlight we're talking to AppOnboard EMEA VP Paul West ahead of his talk entitled 'The Evolution (Past, Present & Future) Of Mobile Apps And The App Store'.

Could you tell us a bit about the company?

Paul West: AppOnboard is a mobile app demo and analytics platform that powers app demos, which allow users to instantly experience an app or game without a download. AppOnboard also enables app and game testing as well as product insights for developers.

What does your role entail?

As VP of EMEA, I am in charge of AppOnboard's operations and execution across the region. I am passionate about helping the most talented game studios in EMEA become the greatest game studios in the world.

Why did you want to work in the games industry?

"When work is play, you enjoy what you do.”

Not sure who said this, but they got it perfect. Mix this with an emerging industry and you got the sweet-spot.

For example, my first week in the industry I was on the front page of Silicon Valley as we had a worldwide number one game and were Apple’s 10 billionth download from the App Store. Seven years later, I count myself very lucky to be part of this enjoyable and booming industry.

The great thing about this industry is the variety of roles available. As long as you love games, there’s a role for you. I can speak to the marketing side most and I would say if you want to stand out, be outstanding. Push yourself to make an impact.

For my first games industry job interview, I built a presentation by hand on huge cardboard sheets and stuck all my research, findings and ideas to present to the CEO and CTO.

They didn’t ask for this, but it shows passion and determination and I got the job.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into it?

The mobile and gaming industry has so many different avenues nowadays, I would say find what you are passionate about and a product/team you believe in.

What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?

It’s impossible not to comment on the market's shift to more casual games. If we look at hyper-casual and midcore as two ends of the spectrum, it’s clear that all studios have shifted towards the more casual space.

This makes sense to me as the funnel is so much larger the more casual you go. Also, I’m proud of seeing more UK studios emerge over the past year, e.g. Outplay, Playdemic and Kwalee.

These guys have helped to show that combining creativity and data is the sauce to great success putting UK on the map.

What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?

We’ve already seen match-three and city building work amazingly well together, kudos to Playrix on combining these well. I think we’re already starting to see hyper-casual and Idle mixing to great effect creating a new category we could call ‘Hyper-Idle'.

Examples of this in my opinion are Car Merger, Bee Factory or Hooked Inc.

I’m intrigued to watch how mobile game distribution methods may change (a la Fortnite), especially with the fresh rules and regulations incoming from China.

I’m also bullish on blockchain’s influence on our industry and an area that many are not looking at: wearable games. It is my opinion that a studio is going to come out and crush one of these verticals next year.

How has the games industry changed since you first started?

When I first started marketing in 2011, everything was about Paid games and using a 'Lite version’ to upsell them.

Our marketing consisted of using FreeAppADay on launch day and just get number one games every time. Now the science behind mobile games is fascinating, this will keep going deeper as we look at smarter ways to improve user experience (onboarding) and monetisation (ad formats/IAP psychology).

Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?

It’s one of the best events in London for meeting old friends and discovering exciting new talent.

Also I’ll be talking on the Growth Track on Tuesday so I should probably plug it! Swing by to hear how app onboarding is evolving. We’ll be using data to show the incoming trends of how app consumption has been changing and will change in the future.

Find out more about Pocket Gamer Connects London 2019 on the website.


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