As any other VC in the country, we have seen hundreds of Business Plans of gaming companies. More often than not, these BPs go little beyond their cool game and how they will get 2 million active users.
For us, it is really hard to bite into that pitch that the game you have designed is so awesome that, by itself, it will become an instantaneous hit.
As a consequence, we’ve gotten more excited with businesses that create methods to ensure the success we are looking for. Some go through the proprietary advertising network route for cross promotion, others focus on SEO.
Yet, what we have not seen and would love to, is the next generation of games. We see a few major trends and questions and would love to find companies ready to answer these:
How do we bring the heavy user of games into social and mobile games?
Of course targeting women and kids is fun, and it has been the fastest growing market. But the $70 billion gaming industry was built on Young males. These are typically console players and have, so far, been alienated from the social /mobile space.
There was a technological barrier in having complex graphics on Flash 10 and old phones. But Flash 11 is around the corner (with direct access to the video board rather than the processor) and smartphones and tablets are becoming quite powerful.
How do we create cross-platform/cross-screen games?
There is no reason why one should play different games in different platforms. How do we create meaningful interactions on the phone for when the gamer is away from his computer?
Answering these questions will have direct impact in the monetization potential of the game as well as cost of acquisition
Clearly, different consumption occasions demand different types of interaction, but do they also demand different games or just different interactions within the same game?
Furthermore, there are questions regarding the future of console gaming.
How do this come online in order to avoid distribution costs of hard copies? How will the consoles evolve/disappear/morph given the proliferation of computing capacity (laptops, tablets, smarTVs) and interconnectivity?
How do we leverage that most people sit in front of the TV with a mobile device in hand?
And more interestling, what can consoles learn from social, mobile, and Wii?
Do we really need the control complexity in order to achieve the game depth or could we have the same games with simplified/more natural commands?
Wii and Kinectic took the first crack at this, but we can still imagine thousands of ways of making the interaction more human like. When will we talk to our consoles as we do to IPhone 4s?
At last, there is another big question around augmented reality.
Is there a meaningful role for Augment reality in gaming?
Can it be used to bring advertising more strongly into the games? Are there new game modes to be developed?
For most of these, we still do not have a clear answer but would, for sure, love to meet companies testing this limits because although they might not be successful in their first few games, they will already have learned more in order to be successful in the gaming market of the future.