Gigataur Interview

Gigataur Interview

The debate on freemium games vs premium, pay-once content has been raging since the dawn of the mobile market. For a while it looked like the likes of Square Enix would win out, porting solid retro-console releases in updated format that guaranteed hours of happy play at a price tag similar to a budget release on a contemporary console. Then games such as ‘Puzzles and Dragons’ appeared and blew the mobile market wide open with a game that features a heavy lean toward in-app purchases (IAP) but critically offered its core experience for free. Since then there’s been a massive trend toward this style of release and although a few well-made premium titles appear, they’re becoming something of a dying breed on mobile. Truly free games, those that don’t rely on IAP and are there for the players to enjoy are a rare breed indeed. Today MBU sits down with developer/publisher Gigataur, who have their own strong views on the future of these games.

MBU
First and foremost, thank for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for us today. For those not in the know, can you introduce Gigataur for us?

ANDREW
Gigataur is a publisher and curator of mobile entertainment experiences. People may remember us as Glitchsoft (we changed our name in 2015) or from some of the games that we have developed including Star Wars Rebels: Recon Missions, Uncanny X-Men: Days of Future Past, and He-Man: The Most Powerful Game in the Universe.

Now we are working with some really talented developers to bring fun, entertaining, sponsored mobile content that users can play forever and will never be asked to pay a dime.

MBU
What is your specific role within the company?

ANDREW
I am the Chief Executive Officer.

MBU
What titles have you already got out there that people should be aware of?

ANDREW
In the last month we have published five new iOS titles on our Playmium network (which we can chat more about later). They include:

• Mighty Match – a 3D RPG and puzzle mashup.
• Treasure Tides – a match-3 puzzle adventure.
• Caveman Clash – a tower/lane defence game.
• Nano War – a causal real-time strategy game.
• Rolling Jump – an endless jumper.

More details can be found at Playmium.com

MBU
You have an upcoming RPG release called ‘Mighty Match’ which you’re billing as a 3D Puzzle RPG Adventure. Can you tell us a little about it?

ANDREW
Sure. We partnered with a French developer, Spinbot, to release Mighty Match worldwide on the Apple App Store. It focuses on Chouchou, the ultimate warrior chicken. Each level has three challenges and you have to complete at least one to move on to the next level. Not only are you matching items along the way, you battle against enemies and epic bosses. It has a simple one-handed tap and swipe mechanic so it is extremely easy to pick up and play. The best part is there are more than 150 upgrade options, including 10 spells that you can earn at no cost.

MBU
How long has this been in development?

ANDREW
We met Spinbot at a games conference about six months ago. They had originally released the game as a paid title under the name Chouchou. The game saw limited success even though it is a great game. Like a lot of developers, they found it challenging to maximize monetization and discoverability on mobile – one of the things we solve with our Playmium model. In discussions with them we saw that our philosophy lined up well with their goals and we started working together to re-release the game as Mighty Match using the Playmium model.

MBU
Am I right in my understanding when I say that this title is going to be released absolutely FREE with no IAP, micro-transactions or premium updates?

ANDREW
That is correct. We believe that free should mean free forever. All the content on the Playmium network is paid for by our sponsors so that users never have to pay a dime for content, upgrades, or boosts.

MBU
How did this decision come about? What exactly is Playmium?

ANDREW
We spent years as a developer and earned our fair share of battle scars. The mobile market has gone through a lot of changes and growing pains and today’s landscape is proving quite challenging. The “free” to play market has lead developers to build games based on exploitive monetization mechanics in order to make any money. On top of that, with so many apps on the store, games can easily get lost unless you have huge acquisition and marketing budgets.

At Gigataur, we believe users should play and not have to pay. That is why we created Playmium by Gigataur, which is a network of high quality, sponsored mobile content. Our goal is simple; we take the best mobile content on the market and match it with non-intrusive ad sponsorships. It is a model that provides users with entertainment that doesn’t cost them anything to enjoy and ensures developers can focus on making games that are fun and entertaining.

MBU
What is your view on the current state of markets such as the Play Store or iStore?

ANDREW
Figuring out discoverability is hard. There are thousands of apps going on the stores everyday and most developers don’t have the big marketing budgets in order to gain even the slightest traction. We have found lots of great content out there but it wasn’t necessarily easy to find. One of the key aspects we designed into the Playmium network is the cross promotion of titles. For users this means when they see the Playmium name on a game, they know they are getting a high standard of quality and fun at no cost. Our goal is not to just build an audience for a single game, but one that spans across the entire portfolio of games, which helps developers immensely with discoverability.

MBU
Do you think others will adopt this model?

ANDREW
That’s the plan! We are meeting with and signing developer partners all the time. At the end of the day, many developers want to focus on building pure play game experiences and our platform lets them do that, while still creating a consistent revenue stream.

MBU
So what is in it for Gigataur if there’s no financial benefit?

ANDREW
We have adopted a sponsorship model for all Playmium games, meaning our sponsors pay for the delivery of content so that our users don’t have to. Occasionally throughout each game users will be asked to watch a non-intrusive sponsored ad in order to gain more lives or download more content. But where the true value for everyone lies is when it comes to upgrades and boosts. In addition to simply earning them through regular gameplay, users can decide to opt in to view ads in order to unlock these items. In the case of Mighty Match, in just a couple of minutes of consuming sponsored ads, you can really increase Chouchou’s abilities and weapons.

MBU
It should be stressed that you’re not bedroom coders, Gigataur is staffed by experienced and respected game developers/publishers and used to be Glitchsoft (which produced the excellent He-Man platformer). How did you come to work there?

ANDREW
First off, I am really lucky to work with a group of amazingly talented gaming and entertainment professionals. Machines don’t make video games, people do, and I work with some of the best in the business.

Gigatuar is part of the Wesley Clover group of companies. Wesley Clover’s mandate is to find entrepreneurs with a good business plan and provide them with the guidance, resources, tools, training and infrastructure to help them build a strong portfolio and be successful.

In 2009 I was working with Wesley Clover on identifying these companies when a group of industry gaming veterans came to us with the idea to start Glitchsoft. A couple of years later I officially became CEO. I’ve always wanted to work or be part of a video game company. So when my business side and my video game side came together, it was obvious that this is what I was meant to do.

MMatch 1

Mighty Match uses videos for sponsorship instead of IAP.

MBU
Do you have a favourite game you’ve produced to date?

ANDREW
With the portfolio of games we have now, it is hard to narrow it down to a specific favourite but my kids and I have become big fans of puzzle adventure mobile games so He-Man and Mighty Match are some of our favourites to play together.

MBU
Mighty Match looks like it stands apart from other match-3 games by placing your character actually on the board with it serving as the dungeon. This seems like a massively original take on the concept. Are there other innovations we can look forward to?

ANDREW
Our goal is to discover great content and work with the developers to build an audience for it. As a company we have always put a huge focus on creating innovative entertainment experiences and will continue to seek out apps that are similar – whether it is in game design or putting a twist on a known mechanic.

MBU
When will Mighty Match be released?

ANDREW
Mighty Match is live on the Apple App Store right now HERE

MBU
Are there plans for more RPGs in the future?

ANDREW
We don’t have any specific titles coming up this summer but there is always room for more RPGs in our portfolio. We would love to hear from developers creating RPGs to see if it is a fit to work together.

MMatch 2

Mighty Match is completely rendered in 3D with 2D art assets.

MBU
Are further expansions to Mighty Match planned post-release?

ANDREW
Based on user feedback, we are planning a couple of updates to the game. Spinbot has created an excellent product and we hope to continue working with them on future content and new projects.

MBU
Thanks again for your time. For those interested in learning more about Gigataur, their official website can be found HERE, whilst more information on Playmium can be located HERE. For those especially interested in signing up with Playmium to beta test games, check out their community page HERE.

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