Sega cements 'growing' partnership with ad network InMobi, plans HTML5 rich-ads push for Samurai Bloodshow

Two parties speak out on blood bond

Sega cements 'growing' partnership with ad network InMobi, plans HTML5 rich-ads push for Samurai Bloodshow
| Samurai BloodShow

Having already formed a working relationship with the release of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing on iOS back in June, Sega and ad network InMobi are to come together again to push trading cards release Samurai Bloodshow.

The strategy this time, however, is far more mixed.

Whereas Sonic's outing was only available in paid form, Sega is is to launch a free version of Samurai Bloodshow and discount the existing paid release – which normally retails for $4.99 – to 99c until November 24.

Both versions will be pushed exclusively through InMobi's network, with HTML5 equipped rich-ads used to draw in new consumers.

We caught up with both Sega's Ben Harborne and InMobi's Gregory Kennedy for their take on the two firm's burgeoning relationship, which will see Sega launch only its second free app in the company's history.

Pocket Gamer: Sega linked up with InMobi back in the summer with the launch of Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing on iOS. As we head towards the end of the year, how would you say the partnership performed? Ben Harborne: So far so good! Sega's very excited to be working with InMobi and Sprout on a cutting edge HTML5 ad, which offers consumers a taste of the actual gameplay.

This kind of interactivity is something that you simply can't get with traditional video or static ads. When you pair that with InMobi's network size and reach you get the equivalent of a gigantic floodlight lighting up your product for millions of consumers to see.

Gregory Kennedy: Based on that success, InMobi and Sega continue to grow our partnership.

With the InMobi acquisition of Sprout, we can now leverage powerful HTML 5.0 creative resources and bring that to our massive network, which reaches 340 million people globally.

Our work for Sega's Samurai Bloodshed really showcases just how exciting rich media mobile advertising can be.

Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing was a paid release, whereas with Samurai Bloodshow, there are both paid and free versions. Why the change in approach?

BH: Since Apple first enabled In-App Purchases in early 2009, we’ve seen a surge in creative business models surface on the App Store.

With Samurai Bloodshow, Sega has the opportunity to try some of these new approaches which we couldn't with Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing. One of the awesome things about this free version is that consumers get a fun and rewarding game to play without having to risk any cash up front.

We’re hoping that consumers click on the Samurai Bloodshow ad, spend a few minutes getting a taste of the gameplay, and thinking "hey, this game is really neat", then having that OMG moment when they find out that they can get this, plus 2-player multiplayer, plus 20 additional levels and a richer game experience, all for free.

Besides, a samurai can never be too careful in this economy.

What kind of consumer are you looking to attract with the campaign?

GK: InMobi will target a broad range of iOS users on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices. The gaming space on iOS is big and we can access lots of inventory for advertising that will reach gamers directly.

BH: We’re looking to bring in anyone who likes high quality iOS gaming. iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch – we don’t discriminate.

What advantages does InMobi afford over other ad networks?

GK: Our ability to leverage both Sprout's technology and their team across our network gives us a huge differentiator over other ad networks.

Other ad networks can run rich media, but they don't have a world class design team, who can create award wining advertisements like we can. They also don't all have the massive reach and the ability to bring rich media to as many consumers as InMobi can.

The ads themselves are interactive HTML5 affairs. What kind of creative freedom does HTML5 afford on this score?

GK: HTML 5.0 is an amazing creative platform. The Sprout team was able to build a full mini-game, that demonstrates the actual gameplay in a mobile ad. It's a huge technical feat and amazing brand experience that is sure to please consumers.

With HTML 5.0, all kinds of creative doors open that make the mobile platform engaging and exciting. The simplicity of the experience on the phone, has the potential to rival PC Web rich media, which is cumbersome and complex to interact with.

Will the success of campaigns such as this push Sega more towards the freemium model in the future?

BH: Freemium is definitely winning big, as we saw in Flurry's analysis back in June - over 65 percent of App Store revenue from top grossing apps in the US now comes from freemium releases.

Freemium is going to continue to play a big part in Sega's mobile strategy, integrated alongside our premium and paymium offerings. With all these "iums", the App Store’s starting to sound a little like the periodic table of elements isn't it?

Thanks to Ben and Gregory for their time.

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Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.