Star Arcade CEO speaks to ME about the company’s tournament gaming platform and the monetisation of cross-platform, multi-player games.
With over a decade’s worth of experience in the mobile entertainment industry, Star Arcade CEO Harri Myllyla has become something of a specialist when it comes to monetising mobile content. Since 1999, he has been in the business of monetising ringtones and apps, as well as operating in the world of mobile licensing before forming Star Arcade in 2011.
So, having founded the company almost two years ago, Myllyla decided to set about creating a platform upon which he could begin monetising cross-platform, multi-player games.
Rather than charging players to download individual games, Star Arcade instead opted to create a tournament model, whereby users could participate to play against fellow gamers in a truly cross-platform fashion for a monthly subscription fee.
“We offer real-time, cross-platform, multi-player gaming, so with our games you always play with someone else; you never play alone,” explains Myllyla. “Our philosophy is that, for the end user, is that you don’t have to worry about which device you are on. So, you can be on your choice of device; I can be on my choice of device, and we can play together.
“In terms of monetisation, we run tournaments for end users to take part in. Generally our customers are telcos, mobile operators and other companies with access to end users, and they can then market those tournaments to the end users.
“As an end user, you can participate by paying a monthly subscription fee to be included in tournament gameplay.”
Considering the company’s philosophy towards creating a truly cross-platform multi-player experience, one of the first key challenges for Myllyla was making sure that the company’s technology allowed gamers to play against others using any device. “The fundamental problem we started off solving was the function to play multi-player games on any device, be it mobile phone, tablet, or even Facebook,” he offers.
“We began this process by identifying some technologies that we knew already existed in the market and acquiring them, before adding some new talent to our development team. “
From this moment onwards, Myllyla began implementing the Star Arcade tournament system with a host of operators and expanding the company on a global scale. “We are now live and active in the Middle East and are looking to move further towards south East Asia, with a view to operating in India as well,” he elaborates.
The tournaments work on a regional basis and offer users both virtual and real-life prizes. “Players can win prizes within the tournaments. There are some where the only real prize is the bragging rights for winning the tournament, but some offer players the chance to win a range of mobile-related prizes, such as tablets, handsets and virtual content to be used within the games.”
This form of monetising by offering participation in games and tournaments on a monthly subscriptions basis is something that Myllyla is clearly expecting to see much more of in 2013. And, with the company’s tournament model still in its relative infancy, the coming 12 months could prove to be a significant period for the future of Star Arcade.
“People are now less likely to pay for a download but are more eager and willing to pay for something that they would like to participate in. This is definitely a trend that will grow throughout 2013.”