With a 10x opportunity in the west, we're not even close to peak mobile gaming. says Neil Young

N3twork CEO is bullish

With a 10x opportunity in the west, we're not even close to peak mobile gaming. says Neil Young

Giving the opening keynote to the Evolve day of Develop:Brighton 2015, Neil Young, CEO of N3twork, spoke on the subject of Peak Mobile.

But before talking about mobile, he took time to talk about VR and AR.

"I'm a big believer in that future," Young said.

"But VR and AR will not reach significant scale during the next 3 years.

The reasons, he suggests, range from unit price to market adoption, medical issues and even basic issue of whether it's cool.

Don't die

For that reason, Young is rebooted his startup N3twork - which was originally set up to target social networks - back to mobile games.

Countering the Tolkien meme argument that 'Mobile is Mordor, It's time to sail West', Young said that Going West is where the Elves go to die.

Instead, he thinks there's plenty of live left in the mobile games market.

With a 10x opportunity in the west, "we're not even close to peak mobile gaming," saidNeil Young.

We're not even close to peak mobile gaming.
Neil Young

Taking the example of the Japanese featurephone market during the 2000s (what Young called 'iMode+'), he said this was a mature market in itself, but nevertheless ARPU grew 7 times between 2010 and 2014.

"We are not even close to peak mobile in the west," he said.

Of course, the market isn't going to grow in terms of user size in the west. Instead Young pointed to yield per user.

For example, Puzzle & Dragons generates around $28 per player, compared to $3.50 for Candy Crush Saga.

In this way, Young says the top grossing games in future will generate $10 billion.

Rethinking your approach

Interestingly, Young thinks to make the most of this opportunity, developers will have to rethink its free-to-play approach.

I think you have to unlock the potential of a new business model," Young says.

"Fundamentally, we need to make games were people want to pay, not where they need to pay."

Similarly, he thinks that making games under the label of 'console-quality' is taking the industry in the wrong direction.

Instead, games need to boot in 10 seconds, be designed for 8 sessions a day and be run as a service, including regular planned events - "managed moments of drama" from day 1 for a least three years.

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.