NYGC12: GREE and DeNA are spending for success but quality and virality are best, says distribution panel

#nygc12 Ways to skin the cat

NYGC12: GREE and DeNA are spending for success but quality and virality are best, says distribution panel
Thanks to the likes of Gaikai, OnLive and Big Fish, cloud gaming remains a hot topic, and so it was at the NY Games Conference 12.

During a panel talk entitled From Console to Cloud: Exploring Today's Multiple Distribution Possibilities, various views were given on the subject.

Perhaps one of the most interesting was from ex-OnLive exec Chris Donahue.

Not commenting specifically on the company's fate, he did point out a particular issue was that it offered a lesser quality product compared to the highend PC gaming setup that many hardcore players would have.

"It's not the right audience for cloud-based gaming," he mused, suggesting that lapsed gamers are a better market as they are willing to forgo the latest and greatest graphics.

As for distribution, Donahue said that he didn't think mobile and social games have opened new distribution channels. Instead they've opened new eyeballs.

Spend isn't everything

Also considering market disruption was Michael Ritter, VP of licensing and distribution at SGN. He talked about the impact of Japanese companies such as GREE and DeNA.

"What role do they play in the mobile distribution space? I think there are a lot of things that we can learn from them, but I think the US market is a little different," he said.

"I don't see people coming in and spending their way to the top. People [gamers] need to enjoy the experience."

Matthew Nouzareth, CEO of SongPop developer FreshPlanet, agreed. "We invested $0 in marketing. It was all done through social distribution. Use your players to distribute your game," he explained of the game's success.

He was also keen to point out the value of Facebook.

"Mobile isn't opposed to social. Facebook is very relevant still in the mobile space. Yes, they [Facebook players] don't have credit cards but you have to use them if you want people to play with one another."

App Store's best

Bringing things back to basics was Gabriel Leydon. The CEO of Machine Zone (previously Addmired) isn't a fan of the cloud, at least, not yet.

"Anybody with an iPhone will tell you they're not ready for cloud gaming. We struggle downloading email," he said.

While game design is changing to deal with this, bandwidth remains a key issue. "I don't think cloud gaming coming to mobile in the next year or two. Maybe the next 5 years," he predicted.

In the meantime, he argued that going free-to-play on mobile was the only way for success.

"You're taking a lot of risks giving a game away for free, but there's not a better platform for payments than mobile," he said. "If you're thinking about distribution, you should go free-to-play. If you're thinking about monetisation, go to mobile."

In comparison, Facebook's lack of players with credit cards attached to their accounts meant it couldn't compete with mobile.
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Representing the former colonies, Matt keeps the Pocket Gamer news feed updated when sleepy Europeans are sleeping. As a frustrated journalist, diehard gamer and recovering MMO addict, this is pretty much his dream job.