Steam Updates Storefront: Is Discovery the Key for Mobile?

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Steam’s slogan for its new update says it all: A Smarter Storefront. Personalized Just For You.

The update introduces a “smarter” homepage that recommends games based on past purchases, what you’ve been playing, and friends’ recommendations. While this type of personalized targeting has been widely popular with music and video platforms like Netflix and iTunes, the game industry has been slow to follow suit. Steam’s new update may be the push we need towards better discovery tools in a saturated content industry. 

In the past nine months alone, over 1,300 new titles have been added to Steam, which brought the total catalog to over 3,700 games. For indie devs with little to no money to spend on advertising, getting page traffic was difficult to say the least. By far the most interesting feature of the new update is the ability to follow “curators”. Curators can be any individual or organization with an opinion on games and wants to share them. Steam’s curator pages now offer a place to organize these recommendations and following a curator will also send their recommendations to your homepage. To become a curator, you need to create a group, or already be an officer or moderator in a group.

 

After less than a week, the update has been having a big impact as one Gamezone article notes:

Developers have been very open about how the update has affected them, taking to both their blogs and Twitter accounts to reveal the changes they’ve seen on their Steam Store Pages. Andrew Spearin, the Creative Director at New World Interactive took to his blog to reveal the affects of Steam’s Discovery Update on Insurgency (a tactical FPS). Spearin cited how much trafficInsurgency‘s Steam Store Page received prior to the update and post update, here are the numbers:

  • Sunday: 5,800 (pre-update)
  • Monday: 21,500 (post update)
  • Tuesday: 83,284 (post update)

While he did admit that the game was recommended by prominent figures (and Curators) in the gaming world, the spike in people visiting the store page is obvious. If you’re wondering just how visible Insurgency has become on Steam due to the update, the figure is “370% over night.” Spearin is not the only one discussing the potential that Steam’s update has allowed for indie devs.

Curating on mobile

If 3,700 games to sift through seems like a lot, consider that the Google Play Store now has 1,500,000 live apps. Even if only 1% of that were high quality games worth playing, that would still be a whopping 15,000 titles to sort through. With more apps added every day, discovery on both Andriod and iOS is becoming difficult for studios on shoestring budgets. So could a curator model much like Steam introduced be the answer? Korea has been experimenting with that very idea for a while now.

Afreeca TV is a popular video streaming service, though it is not well known outside of Korea. Given that live streaming popular online games like League of Legends and Starcraft are by far the most popular streams on the platform, it made sense when Afreeca TV dipped their feet into the mobile gaming pool last year with the introduction of the Gamecenter.

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Broadcasting Jockeys, known by the unfortunate acronym BJs, create “clans” where they can live stream their favorite mobile games, and even play with their fans. Their audience can reward them by buying “chocolate”, a premium currency on the platform that can be exchanged for items in the store, and even real cash. Users, in turn, earn chocolate by downloading games, making in-app purchases, and participating in the platform in other ways.

So far the platform is quite small and experimental, with just 178,000 Gamecenter subscribers, but engagement levels are high with the average user playing 5.5 games on the platform.

Is this the next move for Google and Apple?

With such great results for video and music services, and impressive possibilities being explored by Steam, could this be the future for mobile gaming as well?  This would work particularly well in Korea where word of mouth from trend-setting power-bloggers is a powerful marketing channel. Do you think this would work on a scale as big as Google Play and Apple? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think!

Weekly News Round Up: May 17th

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The weekly news round up is another new weekly feature here on the Latis Games blog. We’ll be summing up the top 5 news stories in Korea’s mobile sphere to keep you up to date on what’s happening on the peninsula.

 

#1 Line Opens Band Game 

Naver is stepping up competition with Kakao games with their debut of Band Game, a platform that runs on their Line Band service. Line Ban is similar to Facebook and Kakao Story. Users can create “bands” (groups) and share photos, videos, and messages with people in their band. Band Game will open with 10 games, and though everything at this point is speculation, there are great expectations that this will be the next platform to really compete with Kakao.

 

#2 Kakao Releases Bank Wallet Feature

kakao-talk-2Kakao will be releasing a new money transfer service this June. Users of the platform will be able to send up to 100,000 KRW to friends on their list, or use it to buy items for KakaoTalk or the operator’s other services including Kakao Style and Kakao Music. The company will will partner with 15 different banks and the Korea Financial Telecommunications and Clearings Institute (KFTC) to release the service. The Financial Services Commission and The Financial Supervisory Service are currently investigating whether the service has enough data protection and security. Both authorities will have to give their approval before the service can be officially released.

 

#3 Google Held a ‘Play Day’ for Korean Developers

google-play-dayGoogle held the first ‘Play Day’ event for Korean developers earlier this week, the first ever since the Play Store launched in 2012. The company said it expects the Korean market to continue to grow as an important revenue source, with Google’s VP of Digital Content stating that they plan on continuing to support local developers. Last year, Google Korea increased their size dramatically, and it will continue to be a market they focus on as it ranks in the top 5 markets for revenue.

 

 

#4 Has Offers Opens Korea Branch

has-offers-korea-officeHas Offers, the Seattle-based, online advertising attribution software, opened its first Asia-Pacific office this week in Seoul. This is their 3rd international office, and to celebrate they held an opening party with Latis Global on Thursday May, 15th.

 

 

#5 Afreeca TV is holding a pre-release registration event for 통통용병단 (Ton Ton Mercenary Clan)

tontonmercenaryclan-prereleaseThe highly anticipated dungeon/puzzle mix game, Ton Ton Mercenary Clan, is having a pre-release regristration event hosted by Afreeca TV. The game will be released on Kakao and has a familiar card collecting system.