Interview

Zaair Hussain from FRAG Games on his hopes for a new era of premium mobile gaming

Zaair Hussain from FRAG Games on his hopes for a new era of premium mobile gaming

Zaair Hussain is the business director at FRAG Games.

We caught up with him to talk about how we could be moving into a new era of premium games, professionalism and more.

PocketGamer.biz: Can you tell us a bit about FRAG Games?

Zaair Hussain: We're a full-service external development company (though I don't at all mind the term outsourcer!) that works in Unity and Unreal Engine and pretty art of all kinds.

We've been around since 2013, we've ended up doing a lot of educational games and gamelike experiences and if we have a favorite genre, I'd like to cheat a little and go broad: Turn Based Strategy. (Which aha! Technically includes CCGs!)

What does your role entail?

I head the business development team, I create a lot of the big picture business vision stuff and am often found down in the details. How do you pitch people? Where do you go? How do you know if someone is a good fit? How do we create partnerships rather than just pick up projects?

I also spend several hours a week working on internal, non-BD processes since I have a front row seat to the things clients and partners like about us and the things they wish were different.

Why did you want to work in the games industry?

I just fell into it and it didn't always make sense but when it DID click - it was amazing. So while the answer is pretty dull - I was unhappy with my job and this opportunity came about and I took it thinking it would be fun - let me answer a similar but slightly different question.

"Why DO I want to work in the games industry?"

Because I get to work in an industry I've been a fan of since I was 7 years old. I still remember my 9th birthday when I got my first gaming console, a SNES (Thank God). It was life-changing. Until I was in my late teens I was probably a little TOO hooked on gaming.

I get to talk to people every day about games. Building them, playing them, designing them and commissioning them. It's a language I intimately understand, yes, but more importantly am intimately comfortable with. It's a subject I love learning about.

I want to work in the games industry because I have a chance to be part of something I love, while doing something I love to do (business development and sales and business strategy).

How could I not want to work here?

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

Be passionate, absolutely, but that's the part everyone mostly gets. Why join an industry like this if you're not passionate, right?

The advice I'd give is to be a professional. Don't lose sight of the fact that this is your job.

That cuts both ways, by the way: don't ever stop working on your own skills, your teamwork, your communication etc. but also don't let the industry underpay, overwork or otherwise abuse you because this is your passion.

Play your cards right and you'll be doing fantastic work in an industry you love, for people who respect you and value you.

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

Many, but to pick one: I'm excited to see the initial success and adoption of Apple Arcade!

To pick just one more: I like how hard people are trying to find the right fit for VR in this industry. It's becoming more and more common and affordable, the experience is becoming better, and I can't wait for the hardware selling killer apps to get here.

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

A new era of premium Mobile games.

I don't think the Apple Arcade model will upend microtransaction-based models overnight but I believe there will be demand for models that deliver premium games at affordable subscription prices or in bundles.

How has the games industry changed since you first started?

There are far more gamers, for one thing.

The rise of early mobile games may have been a mixed bag in terms of quality and what qualified as a game, but what it's done is create this massive class of consumers that are now comfortable with at least simple games on mobile.

I believe there's a far larger potential audience that would be receptive to fuller - featured, more traditional style games than there was 6+ years ago.

And I think that, as mobile devices continue to become more powerful and mobile gamers more sophisticated, we'll start seeing mobile phone become the modern handhelds.

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

This is the first conference at which I'll be speaking so, nerves aside, I have to admit I'm most looking forward to that!

That said - I have always loved being able to get to know counterparts from across the globe. They're not LinkedIn contacts or email addresses, they're sitting right there in front of you! It makes the whole industry feel far more real somehow.

At Pocket Gamer Connects London 2020, Zaair Hussain will head a session called "Aspirational Outsourcing, or Do External Developers Dream of Electric Success?”. For more information, and to book your tickets for the event, click here.


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