Mobile Gaming USA East: Sega on making a mark on mobile with a publisher

Publishers still pack a punch

Mobile Gaming USA East: Sega on making a mark on mobile with a publisher
There's little doubt that the rise of mobile gaming changed the nature of the traditional developer and publisher relationship.

Indeed, it's a relationship that continues to change today.

As some publishers are closing off or reducing third party partnerships, new outfits like the Finnish powerhouse Rovio are moving into publishing to help developers bring their content to market.

So, what changes can we expect to see in publisher and developer relationships in the year ahead?

This question was on the minds of some the industry's biggest names this morning in midtown Manhattan as they sat down to discuss relationship development at Mobile Gaming USA East.

Sonic success story

Sega was one of the first to take the stage to share its experiences during the past five years of the app revolution, and the company was keen to dish out advice for aspiring developers looking for a publisher:
Don't flood the market

The less titles you have to focus on at a time, the better. It's better to not spread your efforts out over multiple titles and instead focus on one or two.
Brands still matter

Just make sure you choose the right brands if you're planning a port (choose Sonic over Zaxxon, for instance).
Quality products still rise to the top

The shotgun approach may yield the occasional success in the short term, but content is - and forever will be - king. Good games will prove themselves in the end.
Great product launches take time

You'll only get one shot at launching your app, and many whales begin playing a game within the first two weeks. You don't want to lose these players due to bugs that you plan to fix in a future update.
Not all genres are created equal

Kingdom Conquest has become the biggest IP that Sega brought to the market in years, and this is because it mixes strategy, RPGs, and card battler gameplay elements. These brands have longer tails and staying power than action games will.

Rise to the challenge

But even with this advice in mind, developers still face a number of challenges in dealing with larger publishers.

As such, Sega served up its observations on the pitfalls developers should look out for.
Big Companies are not nimble

It takes time for larger publishers to negotiate contracts and their turnaround times may be longer than you're used to.
Don't get lost in a sea of publisher titles

Research what a publisher is working on, and many titles are they are looking to bring to the market.
You may have a different pricing strategy than your publisher

Be prepared for the fact that you may lose control of your pricing goals for the game. Discuss this firmly at the beginning of your negotiations.
You may not receive as much data as you'd like

Be sure to request daily data access up front, or you might not have the analytics you'd like down the line.

US Correspondent

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.