From launching the company’s new cloud platform to making a dent in the Brazilian market, Booster’s founder talks about what makes the company different.
BoosterMedia was founded in 2009 by Laurens Rutten, and is based in Amsterdam. The mobile games distribution company has grown quickly, moving beyond the borders of Europe and now has access to millions of gamers in more than 25 countries across a multitude of platforms.
With BoosterMedia growing so quickly, founder and CEO Laurens Rutten is a spectacularly busy man, but he sat down for a chat with ME to provide an overview of the company.
Laurens Rutten on…
…what BoosterMedia does
Basically what we do is creating white-label mobile gaming channels for online brands, often media companies. A lot of media companies have a strong presence in gaming on the full web already; they have news, entertainment, sports and games sections, but they find it difficult to include games in their mobile sites and apps, because of fragmentation and other issues. That’s where we help with our white-label gaming proposition.
So we use our games distribution platform to provide a fully customised mobile gaming channel that benefits from the marketing and distribution power of that brand.
…other companies Booster works with
We work with many traditional gaming websites too, who offer a broad collection of online games for PC, mostly Flash based, but have not been able to take that model to mobile. Other distribution partners for our gaming solutions include mobile carriers, social networks and OEMs.
What all these companies have in common is that they can reach consumers via mobile and we help with the gaming side of it. We essentially do three things for these partners: 1. We create a games channel. 2. We make sure there are good mobile games in there, suitable for their audience, and 3. We monetise the channel, with mobile advertising, freemium games or subscriptions.
…on HTML5 mobile games
BoosterMedia specialises in HTML5 games, so we offer games that customers click on and can play directly from the cloud. The user stays within the environment of the brand, without being sent away to an external app-store, very similar to playing Flash games on a regular website or on Facebook.
We were one of the earliest companies in this space, but it’s a young technology, HTML5 games have not been around for much longer than two years or so - much less than iPhone games or Flash games. So the technology is not fully developed yet for certain types of games, especially 3D action games or fast-moving platform games with intensive visual and audio effects.
However, we really look at casual and social games, as they are the games that are played by most people worldwide. And for those games, HTML5 is certainly good enough already.
Especially in the last year, we’ve seen a huge improvement in the quality of games coming to us from our developer network. Many of them look great and really have a native feel!
…BoosterMedia‘s own in-house game studio
Apart from aggregating games from developer around the world, we also develop HTML5 games ourselves. We ought to know the drill. If we’re talking to third party developers, we need to know what they’re talking about, and the best way to achieve that is to do it ourselves. It also gives us more flexibility; we can customise games for our clients.
We are currently working on a very extensive 2D social game, to be launched early next year. And although the core games-engine is based on HTML5, it will use native parts as well. These so-called hybrid-apps, using best of both worlds, are starting to become much more common now.
…BoosterMedia’s biggest markets
At the moment we have between 80 and 90 games channels live worldwide. A lot of them are based in Europe where we started, but we also have a very strong presence in Brazil and we will launch in Southeast Asia soon as well.
We have seen the most revenue growth in countries where we first launched, so France, Germany, the Netherlands and across Western Europe as a whole, but Brazil is our number one market at the moment in terms of traffic.
When we launched in Brazil in early 2012, we saw that 70-80 per cent of traffic was coming from feature phones, which is fine, our cloud platform supports all mobile platforms. But in just a few months, already 50 per cent was generated by smartphones, and iPad is now the number one device.
…the importance of Asia
A lot of European companies tend to look at the US first to see what’s happening in the market, but we believe that a lot of developments in mobile social gaming are coming from Asia. Actually, when I founded the company, I was partly inspired by the new mobile-only models of companies such as GREE and DeNA. At that time, not a lot of people outside Japan had heard from them, but now they’re the new giants of our industry. And in their slipstream, they have created an ecosystem that enabled a lot of young game companies to flourish.
The installed phone-base of South-East Asia is growing very fast too, with people playing computer games for the first time, on their mobile phone. Still very much dominated by feature phones, but it is just a matter of time before the majority is smartphone oriented as well.
…why BoosterMedia is the right choice for brands
What a lot of these companies initially do is developing an iPhone or Android game that sits between hundreds of thousands of other games in the app-store. Apart from the significant challenge of gaining traction in there, that app-store is not the ecosystem of their own brand – it goes into Apple’s or Android’s.
So if brands want customers to play online games in their own branded environments, there is basically no alternative to HTML5. BoosterMedia’s white-label gaming services provide all that is required.
We recently upgraded to a new highly flexible cloud-gaming platform. New games become available immediately to all our distribution channels worldwide. And any game-update will be received by everyone instantly.
If brands are looking to bring a next-generation gaming experience to their mobile users, they should consider HTML5 cloud-gaming. And this technology is developing so fast, that the best has still to come.
Find out more about Booster at www.boostermedia.com