Written by Ι Stock Market Media — November 17, 2016
In 2016, the global games market grew to almost $100 billion according to Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report. In that report, China and the Asia-Pacific region account for almost half of the total revenue ($46.6 billion). SPYR, Inc. (OTCQB: SPYR) recognizes that getting its flagship MMO game Pocket Starships into that region and sharing in the revenue as that space continues to grow, should serve its shareholders well. SPYR recently added a video game industry expert to its team, in part, for the purpose of developing strategic partnerships for the company in Asian markets.
Mike Turner is SPYR’s VP of Strategic Partnerships and, in addition to developing partnerships for SPYR’s games in Asian markets, he will also launch a new eSports initiative for the company. A huge benefit to Turner is that Pocket Starships is a true cross-platform game that allows players to use PC and Mobile devices to play against other gamers all at the same time no matter the device they’re using. This is a significant sales tool as SPYR tries to move into the Asian markets because it allows SPYR to share in the market revenue for both PC and mobile. For the first time ever, mobile gaming is taking a larger share of the global games market revenue than PC with $36.9 billion, up 21.3% globally according to Newzoo.
Mike Turner says that his vision for SPYR and Pocket Starships is to attract gamers for the long haul, and he believes that when the company launches into the eSports arena, it should benefit the game’s growth even more.
“My focus for over a decade has been online, typically ‘Free to Play’ and operating our titles as ‘Games as a Service.’ Rather than finishing your game, manufacturing the ‘gold master,’ spending your marketing budget all at once, and shipping a DVD to retailers, we have a constant and ongoing relationship with our customers. We want people engaging with our product over months and years, not just short sessions of games you can pick up and put down easily.
“With Pocket Starships, there is real conflict happening in the universe. Every day we have people fighting it out for control of territory and resources in contested space. The struggle will continue, but some of that conflict will spill over into more tournament focused game play that will happen in the ‘real world’ outside of the fiction that drives the core game. This will be a highly engaging and rewarding experience for our existing audience, but could also satisfy the needs of gamers who simply want to know who is the best of the best. To be involved in competition at the highest level of skill in the game, or to watch these battles play out as a spectator.”
China has overtaken the U.S. in Apple’s iOS App Store revenue and it has become Apple’s largest software market in the world. According to Turner, a push into the Asia-Pacific and China region makes good business sense for SPYR.
“Historically these markets have been separate ecosystems, but the game industry is always changing. In the past, China was seen as an imitator, but now (especially with some internet products like WeChat) we are seeing innovation come from China. There are things we can learn from Asia, and, as App Annie recently reported, China’s $1.7 Billion Q3 2016 revenue pushes it ahead of the U.S. iOS store earnings by over 15%.
“Now we are at a point where there is a lot more interaction across the pond. Publishers from Asia are coming into Western markets, and companies in the West are looking for the best way to be involved in Asia. eSports, live streaming services, influencers, social networks, and the app platforms all have important roles to play in each market although the companies and strategies used are somewhat culturalized per territory. We will look for opportunities to leverage the global market for the benefit of our shareholders.”
As SPYR moves into the eSports arena, Turner believes that strategic partnerships could be the driving force behind the company’s success.
“I touched on the ecosystem of companies and services around the eSports space, and this is important for success in this area as well as partnerships in publishing games in general. There are established platforms that control a lot of the eyeballs and attention of gamers; Social Networks, App Stores, VOD or Live Streaming services and even key opinion leaders as well as technology companies that serve this space, endemic brands, and brands that want to be involved. Each type of company has its role to play in the ecosystem and when partnerships are executed correctly, it can really raise the value for all parties.
“One partnership that comes to mind is the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive sponsorship of E-League by Arby’s. This is an example of the brand really taking the time to understand the audience and executing a campaign that resonates well with the viewers. When this happens it is just as exciting for the viewers as it is for the brand because the advertisement is actually enjoyable to watch and shows the fans that Arby’s appreciates them and speaks their language.
“Another recent example of this was the exclusive partnership between Twitch and Rocket League, which is a futuristic sports-action game. This long term strategic partnership was announced last March and has been a win for both companies as Twitch provides the platform to view the Championship Series, and gives the teams and some new shout casters the audience to grow and find success. The live-streaming and competitive aspects of Rocket League have been the driving factors that have propelled the game to over 19 million players, with over 28 thousand peak viewers of their Finals broadcast on Twitch.”
Because Pocket Starships is a game that could potentially compete in both the eSports and Mobile eSports arenas, it makes SPYR’s flagship game a one-of-a-kind at this point. Pocket Starships is the only game that we know of that could support both eSports gamers using PC’s and Mobile eSports gamers using mobile devices. This fact alone could make Turner’s job much easier to find a strategic partnership or two that would want to be a part of SPYR joining the eSports revolution.