Mobile Entertainment: A Startup Network For Interactive Play

Jan 15 2014, 11:30am CST | by

Mobile Entertainment: A Startup Network For Interactive Play

The supercomputer in your pocket (i.e. your smartphone) is your connection to most everything: your contacts, social networks, and an increased number of options for entertainment — including a plethora of games.

Los Angeles-based startup games studio Scopely was created with the aim to be a mobile entertainment network.

They specifically want to change the way games are developed, distributed, and monetized. Their focus is on the mobile explosion and how devices and mobile consumption will play an even larger role in entertainment in the near future.

“We’re living in an insanely exciting time. There will be two billion smartphones by 2015, and there’s a history of new technology coming along and changing industry. What’s different about this revolution — you can touch the screen. You can participate in your entertainment,” said Walter Drive, CEO of Scopely.

“Gaming is an ongoing conversation with your users. The service can change over time, based on what consumers tell you,” he said.

Driver moved to Los Angeles the way that many creative people do. He optioned a screenplay, which landed him on the West Coast, after having studied creative writing at Brown University. In L.A., his storytelling and tech interests married and found their intersection at the foundation of startups — specifically in the games space.

He co-founded Ignition Interactive and founded O Negative Media, in 2007 and 2010 respectively; both aimed to build social games and apps on the MySpace and Facebook platforms.

Scopely was founded in 2011.


Like A TV Network Or Movie Studio
“There are going to be new companies that act like movie studios and television networks — taking content and making it better, then bringing it to a global audience,” he said. “We talk about being the HBO of mobile games.”

In operating like a network or studio, Scopely focuses on finding great content, financials, and distribution.

“Scopely wanted to let the makers of games focus on making the games. We focus on monetization and global scale,” he said. “We want to provide the central business development and technology infrastructure for the most talented game developers in the world.”

Their current business model works as a revenue share — the startup shares revenue they make from the games with their game developer partners.

So far, the startup has launched seven games (with developer partners), and has several others in various stages of development.


What’s Next In 2014
In 2013, the startup grew from 30 staff to 80. They launched three new games, and demonstrated that they could be a trusted partner to global game developers. In 2014, Driver’s goals entail amplifying their success further.

  • Greater monetization.  “We’re focused on higher monetization of our content, catapulting into the next level of games. Games that make tens of millions a year,” he said.
  • Working with Asia.  “Asia to U.S. access is very important. Working with multi-million and billion dollar market cap companies in Asia that want to come to the U.S.”
  • Bridging with traditional entertainment companies.  “Relationships between traditional entertainment companies and mobile is going to be more important. Both maximizing IP on mobile and tablet, and creating mobile and tablet-first content and taking it to them [large entertainment studios].”


The Mobile Entertainment Opportunity
As for where entertainment and technology are headed, it’s clear that since mobile hardware (i.e. smartphones and tablets) will only increase, and we already consistently text, photograph, take and watch video, and play games on phones — there’s an inherent reliance on mobile that we’ve fostered in society.

“Rather than a sidecar platform, we see mobile as the first screen,” said Driver.

He also mentioned an overall transition toward products tailored to each user.

“There will be a shift toward interactive entertainment, personalized just for you.”

He imagines that a bridge between mobile-first companies like his and large entertainment studios could result in a powerful combination of data-driven, mobile prowess and emotional, global storytelling.

Overall, Driver looks at games with a storyteller’s lens, considering the feelings of the players.

“In L.A., people want social products tied to emitting an emotional response. What is the thing people are feeling? And how’s that feeling different the 1st time versus the 30th?” he said. “For me, I care about providing enjoyable experiences for our users and the emotions they extract from our games.”

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

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