Tapjoy, at NY Games Conference, Sees More Ads Coming to Mobile Games

9/10/12Follow @jpruth

Much like other contagious apps, mobile games can spread quickly through the populace with the right buzz. However, turning that attention into dollar signs can be elusive.

Developers might try to charge players who want to download mobile games, but let’s be realistic—not every game is going to sell like Angry Birds, even at just 99 cents a pop. Brian Sapp, director of developer partnerships with San Francisco’s Tapjoy, says pairing mobile games, especially causal titles, with marketing and ads is a growing way to glean revenue from this industry.

Tapjoy’s mobile ad and publishing platform recommends apps to consumers based on the apps they currently use while offering rewards for installing the apps. Sapp was a panelist at last week’s NY Games Conference, an annual gathering put on by Digital Media Wire that brought out local game developers such as Arkadium, Funtactix, Tylted, and PrePlay, as well as out-of-towners. Sapp spoke after the event about some of the changes he expects to see in mobile gaming.

“We have two different movements happening in mobile,” he says. One camp, which includes developers such as GREE in San Francisco, tends to create games with rich graphics and high interaction for players willing to pay. That leaves little need for revenue from in-game marketing. “Those games aren’t going to be looking for brands to be involved as much as casual games such as Draw Something,” Sapp says.

He expects money from brand marketing to flow to casual mobile games, which are often free, easy to play, and attract a broad audience. Though they can be popular, such games typically do not monetize on a per-user basis at the same rate as premium games. That is where marketers and advertisers can seize opportunities, according to Sapp.

“We’re going to see brands moving money into [casual games] more and more in the future,” he says.

From the marketers’ perspective, Sapp says, mobile games offer a novel way to … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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