Sramana: What is your most successful game title, or your sweet spot, for the casual gaming audience on the PC?
Keela Robison: There are three key gaming sub-genres within casual gaming that we enjoy a lot of success with. We have a franchise title in time management games. Our franchise title is “Delicious,” and it features a character named Emily. Time management games tend to be oriented where you are doing many things at one time. It could be something like serving customers in a café.
The second genre is the hidden objects game. Before I came to GameHouse, I was not even aware that this game existed, let alone that it was as popular as it was. These games are almost puzzle-like in nature, and there are often mini-puzzles throughout a game. The primary mechanic is where the player is attempting to find objects within a crowded theme. The most sophisticated games weave in a story line where a player is attempting to solve a mystery or a crime. They use bits and pieces of information and objects they find along the way to unlock more components of the game.
These types of games tend to be longer, taking around 7 or 8 hours to play. They tend to be played linearly and won. Players will do a new game every week or so. This type of game does not have as much replay. I come from Amazon, and my background emphasizes cross-selling. At GameHouse, that is a key component of what we do. We create opportunities for our partner titles by matching customers with the right players.
The third genre consists of “match three” games. A good example of that type of game is “Bejeweled.” We have an internal title called “Collapse” that is a match three game. There have been a lot of wildly successful games in this category. The primary mechanic of the game is to move something on the screen to create collections of three of more similar objects. That causes some sort of transition where the matched objects leave and new objects arrive. It is a visual game that matches collections.
Sramana: What is the total audience you cater to?
Keela Robison: Our audience worldwide is north of 10 million a month for PCs. We have a sizable audience outside of the U.S. As of right now we do not focus on Asian countries for distribution because they use mobile devices as the primary gaming platform.
Sramana: How many of your 10 million unique monthly visitors are you able to monetize?
Keela Robison: It is not dissimilar to mobile where a large audience is not interested in playing. We offer a subset of our catalog via web games that are ad sponsored. We will run video pre-roll or inter-spatial ads during the game. In effect, we are able to monetize everyone. Of course, the flash game experience is not as of high a quality as a downloadable game, and there are those advertising interruptions, but consumers are interested in playing them.