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 wappier CEO Alex Moukas.
He is a serial entrepreneur, having started his first company at 17, sold one of his companies at 27, took his company public in London at 33, and completed a NASDAQ IPO at 39.
He is an industry speaker to the likes of Bloomberg, CNBC, MWC, Mobile Marketer and, of course, Pocket Gamer Connects. He has been voted as one of the 10 most important people in Mobile Technology Globally by Business Insider and a Top Global Leader under 40 by Global Telecoms Business Magazine.
He has authored a book on Artificial Intelligence published by Springer and has more than 50 publications in scientific journals and conferences. Finally, Moukas holds 12 US and international patents, in the fields of Mobile Technology and Artificial Intelligence.
At Pocket Gamer Connects London, Moukas will host a session entitled 'Loyalty Programs: Increasing Engagement & Retention Outside of Gameplay'.
Leading brands and organisations around the world use Loyalty Programs as a way to engage meaningfully with their customers. Why not in mobile gaming?
Loyalty Programs are an easy and effective way to improve engagement and retention outside of gameplay. Even a 5 per cent increase in retention can lead to 30 to 100 per cent increase in revenue. Plus, it’s cheaper to retain an old customer than acquiring a new one.
In this session, Alex Moukas will demonstrate how game developers can get revenue and retention boosts of 30 per cent-plus by enabling an Automated Loyalty Program for their existing players on top their game.
He will focus on specific loyalty tactics, how to set up a program without affecting the underlying gameplay, and share case study results from over 30 mobile games.
PocketGamer.biz: Could you tell us a bit about the company?
Alex Moukas: Wappier is the world leader in Intelligent Revenue Management for Mobile Games. Leveraging machine learning technology and predictive analytics, wappier goes beyond ads to maximise revenue from existing players outside of gameplay.
By predicting and recommending the Next Best Action for each player in real-time, wappier empowers mobile game developers and publishers to increase player LTV by 30 to 50 per cent with Automated Loyalty Programs and Pricing Optimisation.
What does your role entail?
I am the Founder and CEO of wappier. The company was founded back in 2015 by a team of five mobile tech veterans that aspired to bring to the mobile gaming ecosystem the consumer management and revenue optimisation automation and sophistication that was prevalent in larger enterprises, but not in games.
Having secured our first round of financing by a top-tier New York-based VC, we are now 36 and expect to grow a lot within the next few years by doubling our headcount and expediting our auspicious product roadmap.
2019 will be game-changing and my role is, of course, to make sure that happens by setting strategic direction and ensuring that we have the resources and the right team to execute against our goals.
Why did you want to be involved in the games industry?
Well, that’s an easy one. The industry is fascinating and the people in it are fun and super-smart, trying to create the best games out there. But it’s tough. It’s not easy to design a great game that engages its players and also monetises well.
All the while, competition is fierce and the cost of user acquisition is going through the roof. Small teams of 50, 100 or even 500 employees are called upon to manage millions of players without sufficient technology and automation tools to improve monetisation.
Our mission as a company is to let game developers focus on gameplay, while we focus on improving player LTV outside of core gameplay through native and personalised loyalty programs and pricing optimisation.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into it?
Be passionate. Whether you want to be in product, engineering, business development, or user acquisition, you just have to love games. You have to want to make time to play them, at least that’s what we ask for from our people.
During first-round interviews, we always ask “What’s your favourite mobile game?”. Even though we don’t make games ourselves, we are trying to model and predict player behaviour and give players the right incentives to make them stay longer and spend more.
There is no way you can understand what makes a good game or how does player behaviour work if you are not a core gamer yourself.
What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?
2018 was definitely on fast-forward. PGC London 2018 seems like yesterday and yet it’s been 12 months of rapidly evolving industry trends.
Among others, tokenisation of mobile, building games on blockchain, esports, and instant games were certainly some of the most dominant trends of 2018.
However, the biggest one - and the one that is here to stay - was the rise of one-click hyper-casual games that are now responsible for 50 per cent of total mobile installs.
What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?
Related to the growth of hyper-casual games, there will be heightened interest in mobile advertising technologies and making algorithmic decisions to ad serving.
Another business model that will see emergent growth is subscriptions. We saw the Epic’s move to create its own storefront. It is easy to think this is a one-off, given the massive scale of Fortnite. However, there is a lot of frustration with the App Store and Google Play duopoly that will lead to more alternative storefronts being announced.
Last but not least, more focus will be placed on extracting more value from existing players and improving LTV. That’s where we come in!
How has the games industry changed since you first started?
Too many changes to write them all down, but if I had to choose just one, it would be the importance of data. Data and analytics are necessary ingredients for making smart decisions from game design to ad serving.
We are already seeing AI and machine learning being used for personalisation and segmentation, and expect to see this continue evolving in the upcoming years.
Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?
Seeing old friends and meeting new ones, of course! PGC is all about connecting, catching up and sharing insights.
Plus, the Mobile Games Awards 2019, as we’re honoured to be a finalist in the Best Tools Provider category. We just can’t wait!
Find out more about Pocket Gamer Connects London 2019 on the website.