Casual Connect 2012: If you use them properly, push notifications are the best marketing tool says PopCap's Contestabile
#casualconnect Driving engagement
More than one billion people are now playing games and more than 500 million have played Bejeweled in some form.
Contestabile said the big opportunity for the future billions of new gamers is mobile, because people are play mobile all the time.
"Mobile is the #1 gaming device and the only game device for most people," he argued.
The future, he said, was freemium on always-connected devices and social, because you can connect with your real friends - but as importantly on mobile, people you don't know.
Only 20 percent of Bejeweled Blitz's iOS players connect via Facebook, because play patterns on mobile are very different.
Indeed, talking about taking Bejeweled Blitz cross-platform, Contestabile said than on iOS, ARPU is 229 percent higher than Facebook.
Apple has built a great platform. Everyone has a credit card and they can pay in one step. Facebook is good too, but not as good yet, was his comment on the situation.
He added, "Push notifications [on iOS] are the single most important marketing tool, if you use them in the right way".
"There is a huge opportunity for cross platform games but you have to approach them in different ways," he said.
For example, interface is very important for each platform. While on Facebook, the social graph is embedded, but as proven in the previous stat, on mobile people don't always want to play with their real friends.
As for the future of cross-platform gaming, Contestabile pulled out some possible trends.
He said asynchronous gaming would continue to be very popular, while big publishers would push companion apps, which would become more integrated.
This would culminate with games sharing a back-end, resulting in customised game experience for each player, depending on the devices with which they access the game.
This could even result in meta-games where players in shooter could have their environment changed by players on a real-time strategy game, or power ups unlocked by teams playing a match-three puzzler.