Interviews

Majesco looks to become a force in mobile gaming with 10-12 titles planned for 2013

Expect its top brands and new IP

Majesco looks to become a force in mobile gaming with 10-12 titles planned for 2013
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US publisher Majesco has long ridden the stormy waves of games retail, successfully focusing on budget titles and handheld gaming.

But now the NASDAQ-quoted company is shifting focus to embrace the opportunities of the digital gaming future, and that includes mobile.

We caught up with its VP, digital product strategy and marketing Stephen Saiz to find out how it was approaching the transition.

Pocket Gamer: Why is this the right time for Majesco to move into the mobile games market?

Stephen Saiz: As we've been releasing online social games for more than a year, making the move to mobile was a natural progression for us.

In particular, we were witnessing many game types and genres start to work really well on both platforms and were using development tools that made supporting both manageable, such as with Unity. This combined with the tremendous growth both mobile devices and tablets were experiencing created a window for us to take advantage of.

What's your strategy in terms internal versus external development for mobile?

As we're just getting started in mobile, it's necessary for us to augment our internal development capabilities with external development. The great thing about using external developers is we ensure our product remains diverse while focusing on design such as great storytelling, character development and visual quality.

Legends of Loot is a free-to-play game, released simultaneously on iOS and Android. Is that something we should expect from Majesco in terms of future mobile releases?

Our strategy includes being a cross-platform mobile publisher and to support as many major devices as possible.

Some of us have been in mobile for many years, including the feature phone days where broad distribution and device support were instrumental to success. So with Android outselling iOS and the launch of Windows 8, supporting multiple platforms and devices will remain a priority for us.

You released Mini Putt Park via Zynga. Why did you decide to work with Zynga and is this something you'd consider doing again?

Having the opportunity to work with Zynga and the knowledge share that comes with the relationship has been invaluable.Mini Putt Park was a strong fit based on genre and demographics, so choosing to work with Zynga and leveraging all its new platform features made perfect sense.

Moving forward, we'll continue to be open to similar partnerships on mobile when there are synergies and strong alignment to take advantage of.

How big a switch is free-to-play considering Majesco's business has been heavily focused on retail?

The executive team recognised the growing importance of the freemium business model a few years ago when we entered the online digital space. We also anticipated free-to-play games coming to console, which is beginning to happen now, and there's be tremendous support to build internal F2P expertise for the whole company to leverage.

So as the digital team has continued to grow into mobile, there's been nothing but excitement for us to continue experimenting and developing our monetisation expertise.

But, while the approach of publishing through retail versus digital channels may differ, in the end, we still need to deliver quality, fun and engaging gaming experiences to be successful regardless of business model.

Where do tablets sit in your mobile strategy?

Tablets are extremely important to our overall mobile strategy. And as we continue to monitor device sales for the latest entries, including the Nexus 7, the iPad mini and Surface, they will likely become more important over time.

We're assessing tablet specific opportunities as well, since the market is substantial enough to support it.

Majesco has strong console brands such as Zumba Fitness, Cooking Mama and NBA Baller Beats, so when should we expect to be playing these on mobile devices?

We're always working with the console side of our business to assess the digital opportunities for our top franchises.

And while we're not ready to announce specific details yet, there are both existing and unannounced licenses that we'll be launching across both console and mobile next year.

More generally, can you talk about your plans for 2013 in terms of the number of mobile games you'd like to release?

We've spent the last few months putting together a competitive roadmap for 2013. You'll see a blend of compelling original IP targeting core audiences and a strong casual line up made up of our top brands/licenses as well as new IP we'd like to introduce.

Overall, you'll see 10-12 titles from us next year and we look forward to seeing how our audience reacts to the games we're working on.

Thanks to Stephen for his time.
Jon Jordan
Jon Jordan
A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at PG.biz which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.