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It's time for mobile to scale up with conviction, says GREE's Andrew Sheppard

New COO on the industry's next steps
It's time for mobile to scale up with conviction, says GREE's Andrew Sheppard
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Mobile represents the second largest sector in the games industry today. Games represent 40 percent of mobile downloads, but generate 80 percent of the revenue.

But, according to GREE's recently appointed COO Andrew Sheppard, that's no reason for smartphone devs to get complacent. Speaking at DICE Europe 2014 in Kensington, London, the former Kabam man said it's time for mobile to learn from console and “scale up”.

“The nature of growth is changing in a way that's subtle and often lost in averages,” continued Sheppard, noting that mobile has “tons of scales, tons of growth” but it's “not really mapping to any one type of product or gameplay experience.”

What is certain, however, is that the “industry is only going to get smarter” - mobile in particular.

On the scales

“You're going to see new and interesting technology pushed into handheld devices, just like they have console before,” added Sheppard, who joined GREE at the start of August.

So how can developers – not just GREE – keep up? Mirroring the views of Nexon's Min Kim, developers need to scale up and go global, and that requires money and, more importantly, people.

“For us there's so much benefit to keeping development teams centralised,” continued Sheppard, advocating making bespoke versions of one game for individual markets.

“So what you end up is a network of design, creative, marketing, QA and live ops at a local level, and that's crucial. You can build a game that works well globally, but that's not what we're about – we want excellence in our games.”

Success in global mobile will also require developers to have a quality studios working on console have had for decades: conviction.

“In the past I think a number of mobile developers have focused on building a number of different games and then finding out where the fun is, where the monetisation is, and chasing it,” he contested.

“Building for scale is a bit more like what you console guys doing – building something with conviction and going for it, picking your markets first and then going after them.”