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GMIC SV Speaker: PlayPhone and the Future of Cross-Platform Mobile Gaming

Games have long been a way for people to come together and connect, but gamers and developers have never before been as connected as they are now. With mobile devices and mobile infrastructure getting more sophisticated day-by-day, platforms are continuing to evolve and new gamer-developer models are beginning to make their way into the the mainstream.

On traditional gaming platforms this is already a given. Two great examples of the gamer-developer social model are Xbox Live and Valve’s Steam platform on the PC, which both bring players and developers together and eliminate the middleman. This way, even the smallest of developers get exposure to a wider audience and every gamer gains a richer experience and a greater social environment.

It will not be long before these types of platforms move to mobile, and PlayPhone is at the forefront of this transition. As a cross-platform mobile social gaming network, PlayPhone is already present in more than 25 countries worldwide. Ron Czerny, CEO of PlayPhone, will be speaking at GMIC SV next week. We spoke with him about the future of mobile and the PlayPhone experience below.

How does your platform bring gamers and developers together?

The PlayPhone Social Gaming Network is the premier mobile games destination for iOS, Android and WP7 gamers. It provides gamers a seamless solution to play the most popular games with friends, send game invites, recommend games, and stay up-to-date on friends’ game-playing activities. Because PlayPhone supports cross-platform gaming—iOS vs. Android vs. WP7—gamers can play games with all their smartphone and tablet friends, regardless of OS.

PlayPhone offers a games service as opposed to being a games developer, so we make all mobile games more accessible, fun, social, viral and monetizable! We consider the PlayPhone Social Gaming Network the most “developer-friendly” gaming platform live today because it gives developers full control over the publishing and distribution of their game, customer experience and virtual economy. Developers have free access to a comprehensive suite of tools that lets them include world class social features, a unified virtual currency and deep social network integration into their games to optimize publishing, distribution, marketing, engagement & monetization.

Social interaction is a crucial aspect of popular games on computers. How do you predict this will transfer to mobile?

Social interaction is a crucial aspect of mobile gaming as well, which is why social network integration, friend invites and updates, gifting and game recommendations are all important features we built into our gaming network from the very beginning.  We’ve found that game engagement increases exponentially with the increase in number of friends a player is playing games with.

What do you plan to speak about at GMIC SV?

I’m going to look into my crystal ball and speak about upcoming trends and how carriers are going to make a significant impact on mobile gaming with major app storefronts, expanded distribution opportunities and a frictionless payment experience.

Where do you see mobile Internet going in the next year? In the next 5 years?

It’s going to keep getting faster, and we’ll continue to see mobile internet taking over a significant portion of the online tasks we currently do on our PCs.  Tablets will outsell laptops within 4 years, probably sooner, and tablet users already play games, shop, and read books more on their tablets than their laptops. We’re at the beginning of this amazing growth cycle, and we’ll continue to see spectacular developments and surprises in the category over the next five years.

How do you perceive your company’s role in new markets abroad?

PlayPhone has always had a strong global presence with our HQ in San Francisco and offices in Europe, Latin America and Asia.  We partner with game developers and have registered users from all over the world.  We are connecting games with global gamers,building one gaming community no matter where you’re located.

What are some of the trends you anticipate about platforms, for instance Android/iOS/WP for the next year?

As I previously stated, we’re at the beginning of a significant mobile expansion, so I see lots of exciting developments for all platforms in the next year and beyond. There will be greater fragmentation of mobile OS’s as Microsoft launches Windows 8 and moves to increase their market share. This escalates the need for cross platform applications so players can rise above the fragmentation and connect with friends regardless of OS or smartphone.  We recognized this trend early in the cycle and created the PlayPhone Social Gaming Network as a cross-platform solution that specifically addresses this issue.

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