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Like you say, there are certain genres, and I can see that. But with some of the titles it's more of a "I see what you did there." For example, there's a game that's clearly Castlevania-inspired. That game is clearly aesthetically very deeply inspired by the Castlevania games on the DS.
GDV: I think that our game developers are big video game players; it's the same, in they are also taking inspiration from the movie industry, so it's part of the creative process. And we are trying, and we are creating also some innovative titles -- so it's a balance.
There is so much competition in the mobile space; how do you identify as a company where you want to go?
GDV: What we think is that the mobile and the tablet platforms will be growing platforms in the future. So we want to take part in the adventure there. By bringing, as I said, again, really the different genres for different audiences, our goal is to be the leader in the mobile, and smartphone, and tablet gaming space -- in the years to come.
And we think that the competition will progressively -- it's like when we were in the feature phone business, a couple of years ago, after the early days, where there is a proliferation of applications coming to the market. And we think that if we keep bringing the best possible experience, then we will create a brand, and we will capture progressively a bigger part of the business.
When you say "leader" -- you want to be the leader -- how would you define leadership? Is this market share? Is this quality of titles?
GDV: Yeah, it's in terms of market share, but market share will come with quality and diversity. The simplest metric in terms of leadership is market share.
As more and more people take up smartphones, are you finding that there is demand for different kinds of titles?
GDV: Oh, yeah. There has been, I would say, two big evolutions in the last 12 to 18 months. One is the target audience of the smartphone gaming business. I would say [for] the first guys that bought the iPhones and were ready to download, gamer type of titles were more suited to maybe this audience. And in the last 12 to 18 months, it's really, with the explosion of the smartphone install base, it's so much more casual, and much more, I would say, diversified.
My kids play on my iPad, my bigger sister plays on her iPhone, so that's why we need to create different games for different audiences. So that's one big move that has been happening, and the second is the business model. The emergence of... more than the emergence, the explosion of the freemium business model, that has really taken over the whole iOS and Android ecosystem.
You've had success with premium-priced iOS titles.
GDV: Our original model was the premium model. We are progressively switching, I would maybe say "balancing", the premium and the feemium model. Because it's the mass market audience that plays, really, freemium.
For more gamer type of titles, it's a balance between premium and freemium both -- what we call now "paymium". So Order & Chaos is sort of a paymium; so you pay to be subscribed, to be able to play the game, and if you want to get quicker or faster in the experience, you can, inside the game, do some in-app purchases. So those three business models are now cohabiting.
Can those three coexist comfortably, or are we going to see transitions?
GDV: It varies every day. We'll see how that moves. For the moment, they cohabit, but it's true that the freemium model has a tendency to take a bigger space. Because if you have the choice between 90 free games and 10 paid games, I think these are not gaming consoles, these are smartphones. So people have the choice between free and paid -- they will certainly go to free. Except if you show -- that's what we try to show -- that we bring a layer of quality that deserves a premium price. But it's challenging.
Order & Chaos is a good example. It's a game that's sold at $6.99, and that has been out for six months, and we're still doing really well. If you bring something really unique, there is room for that, but you have to really raise the bar to justify that you will ask for a price up front, which is challenging.
It's challenging, I think, for the whole industry -- this switch from a secure business model where people pay, and then they play, and you know what you invest, and you know what you can get -- to the freemium way of saying, "Okay, I'll see how the consumer reacts, and adjust, and then I'll do updates." It's a whole change of organization.
It's a bet, but we believe that if we do things well, in the casual space, we can show that the freemium business model could work. And in the PC world, on the other side of the spectrum, Riot Games, League of Legends. Or in Asia, there are many games there. Or Ubisoft, Settlers, in Europe, showed that there is also a way to develop high quality on the freemium model.
How do you communicate to your audience that your premium games are worth it? Especially with the Android Market or the App Store? There's very little room for discovery, and very little room for marketing.
GDV: That's why we built this community of fans or followers three years ago -- it's that we knew that marketing would be important, and getting the feedback from our consumers. So we communicate through those media with the fans, because it is true that it's important given the number of applications that are on the store, and how sometimes not visible you can be if you don't directly reach the consumers.