Gaming is in its golden age, and big and small players alike are maneuvering like kings and queens in A Game of Thrones. Register now for our GamesBeat 2015
event, Oct. 12-Oct.13, where we'll explore strategies in the new world of gaming.
PARIS—The largest mobile game publisher in the world, Gameloft, has a line-up of six games ready for today’s launch of Apple’s new App Store, which coincides with the release of the new 3G iPhones. Gonzague de Vallois, senior vice president of publishing at Gameloft, overseas all development at the company across all gaming platforms. In addition to showing VentureBeat playable versions of Gameloft’s launch titles, de Vallois took some time to discuss what impact Apple’s new iPhone will have on the mobile gaming industry as well as the portable gaming industry in this exclusive interview.
VB: When you look at Apple as a company, traditionally, videogames have not been a big part of their business, even with its Mac computers. How do you see the new iPhone changing how serious Apple is about gaming?
GV: We’ve been working with Apple for two years now with the iPod. Games are a real part of this launch. We don’t know yet if games are just part of the marketing of the iPhone for Apple or a new strategy for software from this hardware company. We think there could be some interesting synergies with the Mac. Apple has been talking to us about the Mac, because in the past not all games come out for that platform and few titles come out at the same time as a PC counterpart.
VB: As the number two publisher of iPod games, what type of overlap do you see with the gaming demographics of the iPod and the iPhone?
GV: In terms of their audience, even if it’s not the same age group — iPod is more mass market while the iPhone is catering to consumers in their 20s and 30s and an older demographic –both devices are equally male and female targeted. We consider the iPhone as a platform by itself. It’s a new platform that we introduced to our creators. The first batch of games we had 10 to 12 weeks to turn these around. But they’re working on many more titles that will take the technology further this year and beyond.
VB: How did the lack of gaming functionality on the original iPhone hurt the mobile games business?
GV: We’re already saw it in the second half of last year. Within the first three to four months of buying a new phone is when consumers spend a lot of money customizing their device. We had three to five million iPhone users who couldn’t buy games, and that hurt our business.
VB: Now that gaming is available on iPhones, what impact do you see this having on the mobile games business?
GV: The experience you’ll have on iPhone will push the carriers to step up their efforts. In the past, the competition from Sprint and Verizon was even because neither company could offer games beyond 600kb. Now iPhone has 100MB games. It will push the market to focus on the game experience.
VB: What about the touch screen functionality of iPhone?
GV: For the business, it’s interesting because other manufacturers are playing catch-up. It’s goods new for the industry because we’re seeing new phones from LG and Sprint that are featuring touch screen and other functionality.
VB: What have you seen with Sprint’s touch screen Instinct business?
GV: We’re seeing really good numbers from Instinct and Sprint. We think iPhone will be positive on the whole. Sprint launched their new Instinct with only 15 to 20 games that really showed off the capabilities of the platform. In the past, carriers might have just let every game out there. They had a real publishing strategy and our game numbers show that it’s working.
VB: What are the advantages of digital distribution via Apple’s App Store?
GV: Purchasing games over the Internet is something gamers can do in a few minutes. The users are used to this from iTunes. With a traditional mobile phone, you pay the cost of the game and then you’re charged an additional data charge, which you don’t see until you receive your bill. With iPhone, you’ll know the price you’re paying and there are no extra charges.
If you liked this Q&A, please check out our others:
Byron Acohido, author, “Zero Day Threat”, on who to blame for identity theft
Bob Aniello, marketing chief at THQ, on mass market video games
John Antal, chief of staff and military/historical director at Gearbox Software, making “Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway”
Wagner James Au, author “The Making of Second Life”, on life in a virtual world
Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Group, on Zune
Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Group, on Xbox 360
Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Group, on Windows Mobile
Mark Bernstein, CEO of the Palo Alto Research Center, on life beyond Xerox
Jeff Boyd, CEO of Miles Electric Vehicle, on the future of cars
Lucy Bradshaw, vice president in charge of production at EA Maxis, on making Spore
Jim Crowley, CEO of Turbine, on keeping the online game machine humming
Vinod Dham, father of the Pentium, on a life of technology and venture investing
Jon Goldman, chairman Foundation 9, on game development as a model
Seth Goldstein, CEO Social Media, on social networking’s future
Bing Gordon, former chief creative officer, Electronic Arts, future partner at Kleiner Perkins, on leaving EA
Mark Jacobs, general manager of EA Mythic, wants to go to WAR
Steve Jurvetson, partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, on the cleantech revolution
Max Levchin, CEO of Slide, on social networking
John Lilly, CEO of Mozilla, on the hybrid nonprofit-for-profit business model
Marissa Mayer, vice president for search at Google, on social search
Paul Marcoux, Cisco vp of green engineering, on making data centers energy efficient
Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, co-founders of BioWare, on making great games
David Nordfors, director of Innovation Journalism program at Stanford, on teaching new journalism
PopCap Games top executives Dave Roberts and John Vechey, on making games fun
Steve Perlman, CEO of Rearden, on funding R&D for startups
Ted Price, head of Insomniac Games, on expanding a high-quality game development studio
Jeff Pulver, VOIP pioneer, on the future of voice
Gordon Ritter, Emergence Capital, on software-as-a-service
Henk Rogers, Tetris pioneer, on saving the earth
Curt Schilling, founder of 38 Studios and Boston Red Sox pitcher, on starting a fantasy online game
Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive, on expanding R&D crowdsourcing
Bill Watkins, CEO of Seagate, on the storage business and roughing it with Eco Seagate
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, on hiring an outsider as COO
Check out MobileBeat2008, our conference on July 24 in Silicion Valley that aims to help developers make sense of the significant changes going on in the mobile industry.
VB’s research team is studying mobile user acquisition:
Chime in here, and we’ll share the results