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Going global with Local Help

发布在 October 28, 2013

By Zoya Street on October 25, 2013

The relationship between developers and publishers is changing. It changed four years ago, when mobile games self-publishing became an option. As Nicholas explains in How to Publish a Game, this has allowed agile game developers to test ideas in the market without first asking for permission from a big corporation.

Now, just like how games have become services, publishing is emerging as a service too. Developers can outsource user acquisition, monetisation and localisation to companies with the reach and skillset to execute those tasks well. Companies that used to specialise in services such as security, payment processing and ad networks are bringing their userbases to app developers, fulfilling the global distribution roles that were once the specialty of publishers.

Inmobi countered this with their own data. They see the highest user acquisition costs in the UK, Australia and the US, in part because of a high average lifetime value for users in those territories. It’s also a question of demographics; these are smaller populations, with a high density of smartphone users, making them more valuable to advertisers than China. Demand for English-speaking smartphone users is high, and supply is limited.

Nevertheless, VP of Products Piyush Shah concurred that the Chinese market has to be on every developer’s map. ‘China is a huge monster,’ he said. ‘But it’s a monster that you cannot afford to ignore.’ He listed developments in payment systems, Apple’s clampdown on grey market apps, and the rise of a few dominant players in the fragmented app store ecosystem as major shifts in the past year that have made China a more accessible market.

While it is primarily an ad network, Inmobi also aims to position itself as a localisation service, with teams based in each major territory specialising in helping developers to improve their apps’ acquisition and monetisation in that region. Shah gave the example of incorporating cute characters for the Chinese market, as well as making sure that social and monetisation features integrate with services that work well in that region.

Not only is it becoming easier to launch in different territories, but cross-platform development is becoming more approachable. The fragmentation on Android devices is by no means gone, but Inmobi’s data suggests that Samsung’s Galaxy range has dominated the marketplace, along with Kindle and Nexus devices.

Does that mean that developers can ignore HTC and LG? ‘The question is, if it’s not that hard to port to all Android devices, why not do it?’ Shah responded, pointing out that with Gingerbread, cross-device compatibility is becoming easier. As a user of a low-end Android smartphone, I was sceptical; games often run on my device, but they are not as stable as they would be on a Galaxy. Surely developers are still having to prioritise which devices they optimise for? ‘Making sure that your app runs without bugs on different devices is labour-intensive’, Shah conceded.

Shah also warned that fragmentation remains an issue when it comes to different Android OSes built for international markets. Baidu in China has their own flavour of Android, which doesn’t benefit from the cross-device capabilities of Gingerbread. It’s these kinds of complications that platform service providers such as Inmobi want to help developers to iron out.

Read the full article here.