Marketing, localisation, customer service — these are not necessarily the top priorities on of the average game developer. This pain point is why the mobile arm of Japanese gaming company Sega —Sega Networks — made a multimillion-dollar investment into Singapore’s goGame, announced Thursday at an event in the startup’s new office.
The precise amount of the investment was undisclosed. Additionally, notable early-stage Japanese VC firm Incubate Ventures contributed to the investment. “People keep telling me that I’m crazy. To build gumi to the global stage for three and half years and then just leave. People said, why did you leave? Who in their right minds would leave? But I’m excited to show you what I have,” said CEO David Ng at a launch party in the new office. What does Ng have that convinced Sega to invest millions of dollars into his company?
The flagship product is called goPlay — a free-to-publish system that allows developers to drag and drop services necessary to launch, market and support the game. In 10 minutes, goGame can drop SDKs (software development kits) into the game to solve problems, or improve upon, a game’s localisation, customer management, global marketing, payment and 24/7 live operations. If a company were to attempt to replicate the SDKs by themselves, the process could take months depending on the situation.
“Most developers do not know what is out there. They don’t know how to market, they don’t know how to manage a global operations team. Or they’ve done it and failed. Working with us, we can help you improve your chances to succeed, because I’ve done it before, I’ve been there,” said Ng. goGame has SDKs for payment gateways, dashboard demos and payable ad units.
Additionally, one of goGames major initiatives is to bring Sega’s marketing product, called Noah’s Pass, to Southeast Asia. Noah’s Pass is a cross-promotional network that according to a Sega Sammy (the holding company for Sega) meeting document from February 2015 has nearly 90 million users in Japan. To put into context the incredible nature of that number — the population of the country is 127 million. Noah Pass is free for developers and, by putting their game onto the platform, they can soft market and expose the product to the network’s millions of users.
Maybe the coolest feature, and one for which Ng’s body language betrayed obvious excitement, is the mobile advertising dashboard called 1App — which allows users to play the game being advertised before purchase. The problem of ‘mobile adverting burn’ is not unique to gamers. Every person with a mobile phone knows the pain: The game looks incredible, or the app looks like the next Uber. Epic Video. Cool screenshots. But, after downloading, it only takes 10 minutes to figure out the game, well, sucks.
1App is bringing to Southeast Asia a Silicon Valley technology that, without touching the source code, allows developers to put demos on to potential customer’s phones, which may be the difference in allowing the creme to rise to the top.
The goGame event last night was full of palpable excitement, the next step is execution, and bringing Sega’s mobile gaming ecosystem to Southeast Asia. “Instead of launching Sega Games in Singapore, we decided to go with goGame. We have a huge potential in this market. But why let only [goGame] publish Sega games? Why not let [goGame] help others publish the games? Why not create a solution to offer and expand the gaming experiences? Help other devlopers to bring the game to worldwide audiences,” said Haruki Satomi, President and CEO of Sega at the event.