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Interview: Exent Unveils Subscription Game Distro For Android

Interview: Exent Unveils Subscription Game Distro For Android

July 18, 2011 | By Leigh Alexander

PC games on demand company Exent today unveils a distribution service for games on Android devices it calls GameTanium, and the company hopes to create a value add for developers and carriers alike.

The company's content and mobile head Rick Marazzani says the intent is far from just adding another marketplace to the crowded space: "There are lots of markets for android; right now, there might be a hundred different Android markets by the end of this year," he tells Gamasutra.

But app discovery is enormously challenging on the Android marketplace right now, and moreso the more popular it becomes. Monetization, as a result, can be tough: "Android has had a lot of problems monetizing content," Marazzani says.

"There are 20,000 games available in the Android marketplake and only a few of them make any money, even some of the big companies that used to make big money in mobile," he adds.

Another interesting issue is there's something of a psychological barrier for the situation: "On Google you actually have to put in your credit card number to pay for a game," says Marazzani. "People don't think of paying Google... so there's significant friction."

"Apple came in with thousands of people already credit card enabled because they were primarily a retail service," he adds. "Google isn't known for that -- that's why Amazon has some traction, because they have people already integrated."

Exent's GameTanium aims to approach the market differently. "Our business model is very different; it's an all-you-can eat subscription, like Spotify for games, with trophies, and integration with different payment models," Marazzani explains.

gametanium.pngIt's a service users can opt into when they purchase their devices -- "all users have to do is click 'yes, please'... our model is different, and the fact we're going to integrate with operators for payment is an advantage that neither Amazon nor Google have," he adds.

A platform like GameTanium puts some control back into operators' hands, he suggests. The company will work with game developers to curate a selection of games that will be available to users who subscribe monthly to the service, and then through its sophisticated tracking tools, it pays a revenue share to the company based on usage.

The aim with such an approach isn't necessarily to grab share from other marketplaces, either. "We encourage our partners to be on as many platforms as possible," Marazzani explains. "It's better for us to have games that are popular... I want to be their largest partner, but I want them to have lots of [partners] too, so they're successful."

"At the end of the day we offer something that doesn't compete with the Google market," he adds. Users will appreciate not having to sift through broken or poor-quality games, developers will appreciate the level playing field, and operators will be pleased with an overall higher quality bar, too.

The subscription will be priced at $5 a month, a likely value add for users who purchase even a few apps on a regular basis. "If you play two games, you've already made your money back," Marazzani says.

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