Sega Mobile announced today that it’s picked up experienced mobile game executive Joseph Kim and slotted him into the role of vice president of product. In that position, Kim will be responsible for the overall direction of the mobile game division’s output and working with product managers to ensure those products are successful.
Kim has a long resume of experience in the mobile gaming, having been the studio lead at FunPlus, vice president of product management at Gaia Interactive, and consultant for SmileGate. I got a chance to sit down and shoot Kim a couple of questions about his new gig.
GamesBeat: I notice you were studio lead at FunPlus. Did that position also entail design and creative work?
Joseph Kim: Definitely. At FunPlus my primary role was to lead both small and large game development teams, this included heavy involvement with game design, UI, and art teams. I was also involved in the second party publishing business where collaborative efforts in game design was often necessary.
GamesBeat: What drew you to Sega Networks and Sega’s mobile division? Or perhaps Sega’s mobile division to you?
Kim: I could distill it down to three primary reasons that drew me to Sega. The first being the strong love for the Sega brands I grew up with, especially Golden Axe and Shinobi, and relish the opportunity to be a part of the company that designed those games.
Secondly, the people I met at Sega had a strong passion and enthusiasm for their work. In any opportunity you have to trust the leadership to steer the company in the right direction, and believe in the people below you to tactically get you there.
Lastly, the scope of work sounded like a lot of fun. When you walk in everyday and get greeted by Sonic and Shadow, you know it’s going to be a good day.
GamesBeat: It’s probably a bit early, but what sort of strategies do you want to see Sega’s mobile division implement?
Kim: It’s a bit too early to speak specifically about Sega, but let me speak more generally about strategies that I believe win in the mobile market.
First of all, I often see mobile game studios make a lot of the same costly, common, mistakes.
Hence, the first strategy is one of avoidance: don’t make the big mistakes that often trip up a lot of other studios. Examples of these kinds of mistakes include not employing a proper preproduction process, not having a very clear vision for the game before starting on production, building “me too” products late to market, avoiding a management structure that allows interference from non-relevant high level execs, and basing game release cycles on revenue targets.
From a product standpoint, a strategy I would like to see implemented is to really be clear on the differentiation of our products before we build them. I would start by asking, “Why does this game need to be made?”
If there isn’t a good answer, I would prefer we not make the game.
From a marketing perspective, we should employ a strategy to be very clear on who our users are, and to be as analytical as we can, even during the pre-production process, applying testing to key features, art, demographics, etc.