Browser vs. Client-based Freetoplay MMOs Jonah Hong (Symbeyond) and Frank Cartwright (GamersFirst)
Frank Cartwright • VP, Product, Platform Development and Digital Marketing at Gamersfirst. • VP Online Entertainment at GSN Television Network • VP, Product Development and Engineering at Global Gaming League (GGL) • VP, Production for SkillJam Technologies (Liberty Media Company) • Disney Internet Group (DIG) - Created Disney’s online, multi-player gaming platform along with dozens of games. • Began 15 year career in gaming in 1995 on PC CD-Rom game developed for Turner Interactive called DINOTOPIA.
Overview • Based on a panel from GDC Europe where participants included • Kevin Xu (IGG Inc.) • Rob Ollett (Bigpoint International) • Patrick Streppel (gamigo AG) • Markus Buchtmann (SevenOne Intermedia) • Frank Cartwright (K2 Network GamersFirst)
Portfolio Trends • GamersFirst – • Current - 12 games (9 client, 3 browser) • Last Year - Added browser in last year • Going Forward - 50/50 • IGG • Current - 25 games (12 client, 5 browser 8 Social) • Last Year - Browser and Social games • Going Forward - Same percentage
Portfolio Trends • Proseiben/SevenGames • Current - 28 Games(20 browser / 8 client) • Last Year – 2nd year of Browser Games • Going Forward – More focused on browser • Gamigo • Current - 15 Client Games • Last Year - Moving towards browser • Going Forward – 75/25 Browser
Portfolio Trends • Bigpoint • Current - 5 client the rest Browser • Last Year – Started Client • Going Forward - Primarily Browser
Why Browser? • Greater Accessibility • Smaller Download • Less funnel friction • No native installation • Lower Development Cost (Godswar only $800k USD) • Quicker ROI
Why Client? • Higher Quality • Longer Tail • Proven Monetization • Higher ARPU • $40 for client vs <$10 for browser
User Acquisition / Conversion to Pay • All agree that funnel is better browser games. • Client 2-6% conversion to paying users (IGG/GamersFirst)
Download Size • Client games currently 500MB – >10GB • Max Size Depends on Demographic and Location • US/EU Core Games < 2GB • US/EU Casual Games < 1GB (pref. < 500MB)
Quality • Browser • Has improved at greater rate than client games over the last 2 years. • Better fit for casual and social games • Will continue to close the gap. • Client • Still better especially for core games • Engines like Unreal 3 continue to break new ground.
Browser Platforms • Flash – Will continue to lose marketshare • Unity – Emerging as the clear leader and best technology • Trinigy – Good technology but may not be able catch up with Unity
Publisher/Developer Integration • Browser games much easier • Browser game developers usually much more familiar with web technologies and therefore the integration with publisher. • Less risk and barriers to easily makes enhancements and changes.
Multiplatform • Browser games have clear edge. • Client games are very customized • A big contributor to the strength of Unity is the cross-platform support including iPhone. • Mitigates risk by not forcing a choice of type of platform to target.
Fraud, Hacking and Trust • Users feel much more comfortable with browser games since they are not installing native code • Equal opportunity for fraud and hacking. • Less control with browser games if exploit leverages browser layer.
Hybrid • New opportunity • Start on browser • Committed players move to larger client-based version
Conclusion • Trend is moving towards browser • Client not going away • There is much browser games can learn from client monetization • Huge opportunity for disruptive hybrid model.
Contact • Jonah Hong • Frank Cartwright • firstname.lastname@example.org • 310-902-6613