Mobile Mavens

When it comes to monetization in 2015, we have all the questions...

Monetizer Mavens on the unknowns

When it comes to monetization in 2015, we have all the questions...

2015 kicks off with Pocket Gamer Connects London 2015, which will host a Monetizer Mavens panel talk.

So, ever sensitive to time saving opportunities, I decided to ask the Mavens what questions I should be asking those members of the group - notably Nicholas Lovell, Eric Seufert and Mark Sorrell - who will be sitting on the panel.

The questions proved so interesting in terms of providing a view of how 2014 had (or hadn't) progressed, as well as the opportunities for 2015, that I've decided to publish them for a wider audience to consider.

Hopefully as 2015 progresses, we'll also be able to provide some answers too...

Ethan Levy Monetization design consultant, writer of

Vainglory was one of the most talked about and praised F2P releases of 2014. But it has failed to make a significant impact on the the top grossing charts. Where did it go wrong? Can it make a turnaround in the long term?

As a follow up, what does the failure of MOBAs Fates Forever and Vainglory to be top-grossing hits say about the potential of synchronous multiplayer and hardcore gamers' games on mobile?

Vainglory - more proof than MOBAs don't work on touchscreens?

Where are the green pastures in F2P mobile? What opportunities do you see that no one has capitalized yet?

Ben Cousins Vice President, Studios FRVR

Ben is a 15-year veteran of the games industry - he's worked as a senior executive, studio head, project lead, creative director and game designer at companies like DeNA, EA, Sony and Lionhead.

He started working on traditional games, but has been focussed on the free-to-play business model since 2006 - an extremely long time by western standards. During that time He's worked on a total of ten separate free-to-play games across five different platforms reaching over 50 million users.

Only a few companies generate the vast majority of revenue in mobile free-to-play - what is everyone else doing wrong, and can they even do anything about it?

Mark Robinson CEO DeltaDNA

With over 15 years’ data mining experience, Mark co-founded deltaDNA, formerly GamesAnalytics, to unlock big data to drive player understanding, introducing the concept of Player Relationship Management to build better games.

I think Ben's theme is a good one...

The industry relies heavily on whales so how do we spread monetization more evenly amongst the gaming community?

And as a supplementary…

Do we still think gamers are still getting used to free-to-pay? Do they realize there has to be some value exchange for these games to be sustainable?

Adrian Crook Founder Adrian Crook & Associates

I'd ask:

Of the companies you work with, consult with, have knowledge of, are there many bootstrapped startups? Is it more or less possible to take a game to market as an indie, or has the UA and operational logistics bars of F2P made that unreasonable for most self-funded ventures? What are the characteristics of startups for which bootstrapping is possible?"

I like the green pastures question suggestion.

In my experience, many in the audience will be hoping to hear insight on how they might succeed by finding a niche or platform that's less exploited than, say, match-3 on mobile. So giving them some insight there would be great.

Jordan Blackman CEO Bright Black Associates

Jordan Blackman is a lead designer and producer with over ten years of experience designing, producing, and managing hit content for companies like Zynga, Ubisoft, NovaLogic, & Disney.

Over 80 million people have played games that Jordan worked on as either a producer or designer.

Jordan’s credits include Lead Designer on FrontierVille & CastleVille, Senior Producer and Original Concept on CSI: Crime City (Facebook), Producer on Delta Force: Black Hawk Down, and Writer on Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising.

Under what circumstances does it make sense to offer a premium game in today's app economy?

Given the dominance of a few publishers and games, what's a realistic definition of business success for a studio publishing a free-to-play game on the App Store?

Is there still a viable business opportunity on mobile for new studios?

Michail Katkoff Founder of

Core games are coming to touchscreen devices is a bold prediction that has been thrown a lot as of late. Yet when we look at the market, only Hearthstone can be regarded as true success story - and that is a cross platform title with incredibly strong IP.

Heartstone - a core success in 2014

So my question is, are core games coming to touchscreens or is this just a wishful thinking of ours?

Justin Stolzenberg Director, Product & Monetization Flaregames

Clash of Clone-likes have evolved in 2014 to incorporate a slightly more interactive, tactical action phase.

Would you expect that as the mobile gaming audience matures even the very mass-market concepts evolve to become more complex in gameplay?

Competing with Supercell, Machine Zone et al in game design, content quantity and polish is an obvious challenge - but what about things like fully dynamic, user individual in-game offers? What are the in-game sales marketing tools required to commercially compete?

Mitchell Smallman Next Games

Mitchell Smallman is a Product Manager for Rovio Entertainment and a veteran of the free

While there will always be speculation on what the future growth opportunities and markets are for mobile games, what trends do you see going away in 2015?

Not just in terms of game genres, but what mechanics have the evolving mobile audience become tired of?

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at 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.