21st November 2012 by Thomas
First of all, you can find a summary of the event over at Thisisgame: http://www.thisisgame.com/en/2012/11/19/gstar2012-wrap-up
As highlighted in the article, the most impressive change from last year’s event was the very strong switch to mobile that Korea is operating. So, of course, there were still many online games present, but having probably around 50% of the B2C showfloor taken by mobile publishers was very impressive (and think about it, how much space is usually taken by mobile games at other shows?).
And that’s my biggest take away from this year discussions – Korean developers left that online corner they stayed in for so long and a lot of them moved to mobile. Last year, there was an interest in social games, but this is nothing like it.
There are multiple reasons for that strong change in the developing landscape, but the biggest one mentioned is the stellar (recent) success of Kakaotalk in the game space.
Kakaotalk is an online chat app for mobile (with VOIP as well) that has been very widely adopted in the country. It runs on iOS and Android (and Bada and other OSes that don’t matter much) and many operators bundled it and its adoption is crazy.
In July, they launched their first games (on the Appstore for iOS obviously, and Google Play for Android), including Anypang, a match-3 game, heavily using the Kakao contacts as a social graph (leaderboards and gifting). The game has been *very* successful. They report 10m DAU, in a country of 50m inhabitants (I think users outside of Korea are negligible), and significant revenues (that figure varied a lot depending on who you talked to but it averages around $1m per day).
It has created a lot of attention to the mobile space in general and Kakao in particular – with many studios lining up to integrate with them. It also means that money from investments is quickly leaving the MMO space towards the mobile space.
If you are interested in that market, I recommend you to have a look at the Kakaotalk app: http://www.kakao.com/talk/en
And Dragon Flight, the current game doing very well for them (Google Play link):
Discussing the Kakaotalk success last week, I was asked why I thought it worked so well, compared to Facebook for instance (or Skype). I think a short answer should be: “Check the app!”.
It is very easy to use, very quick to load and does what it does very well. This is a Dropbox case: service existed before, but was overly bloated (see Skype – I won’t launch the app on my phone, it takes ages to launch, ages to load, difficult to navigate). Kakaotalk also works on every device.
It seems that in Japan, The Line, a similar app, might get the proper momentum and build a similar success and start challenging DeNA and Gree presence. And we might have other apps doing the same in different countries. Whatsapp was mentioned (SEA and Spain), as well as Tango (North America)…
Interesting to see how this will develop…
When discussing with local developers and publishers, I collected a few rough estimates on the mobile market make up. Take those with a grain of salt, but it does help in getting an impression:
In the past year, the mobile OS distribution seems to have completely shifted. Where iOS was the main one a year ago, Android has taken over (through Samsung devices mostly but not exclusively). I was told 89% Android, 10% iOS, 1% margin of error for others – it is probably exaggerated but it highlights the current trend.
Another change, the carrier Android app stores have lost lots of market share, with Google Play being currently the main App store (about 50%), followed by Tstore – the android app store of SK Telecom (30%), Apple App Store (10%), and Others completing the count.
That change seems to have happened through users getting educated about the ecosystems (and not liking being tied to their carrier for their apps) as well as Kakaotalk pushing all its android distribution and payments through Google Play.
One last bit of relevant info: I was told that there was close to no piracy on Android in Korea.
Like every year, going to Gstar was a very good experience. We had excellent meetings, we were able to have a peek at trends from a very different territory and we met with local industry people that we don’t have the opportunity to catch up with at other events.
25th October 2012 by Thomas
If you find yourself in the neighbourhood, you should definitely give us a shout and come say hi to Diane and myself (Thomas).
See you there!
26th September 2011 by Thomas
27th of September, Frankfurt – Gameplaces
Diane will be speaking there, specifically on games and investments.
10th to 13th of October, Austin – GDC Online
This is an usual rendez-vous for us as we will be meeting with partners as well as sitting in sessions, checking for the trends of the online space.
7th to 9th of November, Daegu – KGC 2011
I (Thomas) will be speaking at KGC 2011, ahead of the Gstar. I present a general overview of the European market for online games. And (hopefully), it should the opportunity for us to update the aging presentations we have on slideshare on that topic.
10th to 13th of November, Busan – Gstar
We will have a booth in the B2B area of the Gstar. More details on this when we are closer to the date, but you can expect that if you want to meet us, it will be easy.
6th to 8th of december, Paris – Game Connection Europe
Another of our regular haunts, we have just confirmed that we will be there again. The event has moved to Paris (an excellent move in my opinion) and now also has a conference component. If you are not familiar with the event format, just think speed dating between publishers, developers and service providers of the games industry.
4th November 2010 by Jen
This month, we’re going our separate ways on the 15th of November. Absence makes the heart… well, totally dependent on internet access really, right?
Julien and I are attending Game Connection from 16-18 November in Lyon, and Julien will be arriving a bit early to present a Master Class session on Monday 15th, covering “Communication & Marketing for Online Games”. If you’d like to meet us at the event, please ping us through Game Connection’s booking system or use our contact form to send a meeting request.
Thomas and Martin are heading to Korea for a couple of weeks to represent ICO at Gstar. They’ll be available for business meetings on the 18th and 19th, so please get in touch if you’d like to see them.
(Diane is off having a splendid adventure, and cannot be found until the week of 22nd November.)