Browser vs. Client-based Freetoplay MMOsJonah Hong (Symbeyond) and Frank Cartwright (GamersFirst)
Frank CartwrightVP, Product, Platform Development and Digital Marketing at Gamersfirst. VP Online Entertainment at GSN Television NetworkVP, Product Development and Engineering at Global Gaming League (GGL)VP, Production for SkillJam Technologies (Liberty Media Company)Disney Internet Group (DIG) - Created Disneys 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.
OverviewBased 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 TrendsGamersFirst Current - 12 games (9 client, 3 browser)Last Year - Added browser in last yearGoing Forward - 50/50
IGGCurrent - 25 games (12 client, 5 browser 8 Social)Last Year - Browser and Social gamesGoing Forward - Same percentage
Portfolio TrendsProseiben/SevenGamesCurrent - 28 Games(20 browser / 8 client)Last Year 2nd year of Browser GamesGoing Forward More focused on browser
GamigoCurrent - 15 Client GamesLast Year - Moving towards browserGoing Forward 75/25 Browser
Portfolio TrendsBigpointCurrent - 5 client the rest BrowserLast Year Started ClientGoing Forward - Primarily Browser
Why Browser?Greater AccessibilitySmaller DownloadLess funnel frictionNo native installationLower Development Cost (Godswar only $800k USD)Quicker ROI
User Acquisition / Conversion to PayAll agree that funnel is better browser games.Client 2-6% conversion to paying users (IGG/GamersFirst)
Download SizeClient games currently 500MB >10GBMax Size Depends on Demographic and LocationUS/EU Core Games < 2GBUS/EU Casual Games < 1GB (pref. < 500MB)
QualityBrowserHas improved at greater rate than client games over the last 2 years.Better fit for casual and social gamesWill continue to close the gap.
ClientStill better especially for core gamesEngines like Unreal 3 continue to break new ground.
Browser PlatformsFlash 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 IntegrationBrowser games much easierBrowser 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.
MultiplatformBrowser games have clear edge.Client games are very customizedA 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 TrustUsers feel much more comfortable with browser games since they are not installing native codeEqual opportunity for fraud and hacking.Less control with browser games if exploit leverages browser layer.
HybridNew opportunityStart on browserCommitted players move to larger client-based version
ConclusionTrend is moving towards browserClient not going awayThere is much browser games can learn from client monetizationHuge opportunity for disruptive hybrid model.
ContactJonah HongFrank [email protected]
Thank You GDC China