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December Issue Focus: GDC 2013
December 2012
Emmy Huang, director of gaming at Adobe, introduces new Adobe Scout tool.
Chris Carvalho, COO of Kabam, chats about Kabam's current recruitment strategy.
Matt Kaye, director of developer strategy at Tapjoy, discusses selecting a monetization partner.
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UBM Tech Game Network | Black Hat

Adobe   Back to Top
Emmy Huang, director of gaming at Adobe, responds to "Flash is dead" comments, talks about participating in Adobe Game Jams, and introduces the new Adobe Scout profiling and optimization tool.
Emily Huang
Emmy Huang
Q: Emmy, in a recent interview, Michael Schade, CEO of Fishlabs — the Germany-based game developer — said that "Flash is dead as a worthwhile tool for mobile games development." Pretty strong stuff. How would you respond to Michael?

Emmy Huang: I encourage developers who are familiar with Flash — but maybe haven't checked in lately — to take a fresh look at what is possible with the workflow. It's always good to understand what options are available and Flash continues to deliver many benefits for game developers. Many of our customers are using a Flash-based workflow to target mobile devices, including iOS, like the very popular Machinarium, SongPop, and Wonderputt.

At the end of 2011, Adobe announced that we would continue to drive innovation and investment in Flash for gaming and premium video in desktop browsers and via apps – through AIR – on mobile devices. Using a single workflow and codebase to target mobile devices and browsers is one of the key advantages for developers who are using Flash technologies to reach over 1.3 billion connected desktops and over 500 million smartphones and tablets. It really helps level the playing field for an indie developer who wants to target as many markets and platforms as possible (including Apple AppStore, Google Play, Amazon Appstore, and BlackBerry AppWorld) in order to increase their chances of getting their game discovered.

Q: Zynga recently launched CityVille 2 using Flash Player 11. Doesn't sound to me like developers are abandoning Flash. Why do you think there seems to be such a division of opinions regarding Flash … those who continue to develop games using Flash and those who say it's dead?

Huang: Flash has been used for gaming for a very long time now, and the infrastructure built up around it has facilitated a lot of success for social and casual gaming publishers. We're in a period of transition where mobile is the new frontier, and a lot of developers are experimenting with newer technologies to target mobile. For gaming, we've seen a lot of experimentation with HTML technologies for simple casual games; Adobe's own PhoneGap Build has been used to deliver a couple of successful, simple, casual games like Zynga's Mafia Wars Shakedown.
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Kabam   Back to Top
Chris Carvalho, COO of Kabam, chats about Kabam's current recruitment strategy, its new deal to build games based on "The Hobbit" films, and the upcoming GDC Next and App Developers Conference.
Chris Carvalho
Chris Cavalho
Q: Chris, in September, Kabam said it was considering an IPO. What sort of growth does Kabam have in mind if, in fact, you go in this direction?

Chris Carvalho: Kabam is in no rush for an IPO. While it's a logical progression for a profitable, growing company, our balance sheet is strong and we don't need the capital. Of course we're closely watching the market as we are already larger than some other publicly traded gaming companies, but at the moment we're primarily focused on continuing to build a great company.

In 2011, we had more than $100M in revenue and this year our revenue will grow more than 50%. Mobile and tablet gaming is exploding. Free-to-play gaming is exploding. Our goal is to create free-to-play experiences for every major traditional gaming category – role-playing games, strategy, action, adventure, shooters, racing, and more. We're incredibly optimistic about the future and what Kabam is building.

Q: You recently signed a deal with Warner Bros. to develop two free-to-play multiplayer strategy games based on The Hobbit films. Does this signal a new direction for Kabam — licensed games? I believe your only previous licensed venture was The Godfather: Five Families.

Carvalho: Kabam is unique in its ability to execute games to the quality and scale demanded by a blockbuster license like "The Hobbit." Peter Jackson's trilogy is one of the most anticipated entertainment events of all time, and Kabam is proud that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has entrusted us with some of the most beloved fiction in the world.

That said, we believe that licensed games are an important part of a balanced portfolio. Kabam is also focused on developing our own franchises, including Dragons of Atlantis and Kingdoms of Camelot which in less than three years has become one of the top 10 strategy games of all time, generating more than $100M in revenue, with more than 20 million players around the world in 13 languages. The mobile version of the game has been the #1 grossing app in over 50 countries, has dominated the top grossing charts for months, and is demonstrating Kingdoms of Camelot franchise's ability to grow, adapt, and thrive on new platforms.
Tapjoy   Back to Top
Matt Kaye, director of developer strategy at Tapjoy, discusses selecting a monetization partner, confusion over Android OS fragmentation, and the new "Tapjoy Reconnect" for improving retention rates.
Matt Kaye
Matt Kaye
Q: Matt, free-to-play developers looking to select a monetization partner have lots of choices, including companies like Digital River, Xsolla, and, of course, Tapjoy. How is a developer supposed to tell them apart and what's the best way for a developer to choose one?

Matt Kaye: Tapjoy specializes in monetizing free-to-play/use apps that have additional premium content for users to unlock. Our Mobile Value Exchange really shines in this market because we're offering an incredible value to developers, advertisers, and consumers in the same ecosystem. We're able to operate at scale and have 110 million monthly active users and have used this headstart to refine our targeting, our optimization engine, and our offer wall. Those enhancements, combined with our new consumer product focusing on app discovery with Tapjoy.com, completely separate us from the pack. Nobody else in our space has an HTML5 destination with over 13 million registered users, and nobody can monetize a free-to-play app like Tapjoy. In many cases, we are bringing developers eCPMs of over $200 via Tapjoy.com. If you look at the eCPMs being garnered from traditional display ads, it's not even close.

Q: I see that through Tapjoy.com you're offering consumers a way to find new apps. How does Tapjoy.com work?

Kaye: Our focus with Tapjoy.com is to solve the global problem of app discovery. Consumers have long asked for a way to find not only the best apps out there, but to also find the apps that are most relevant to them — apps they don't know about, the apps their friends have and use, and the apps they need. We're in the midst of re-vamping Tapjoy.com right now, and in the coming weeks we'll have an updated version of the product, which will increase its app catalog by over 10x to cater to all types of consumers. It will be the first of a number of incremental releases that focus on solving that problem of discovery and minimizing the friction associated with downloading an app on mobile devices.

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