Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

Gamesmondo Report Summary

Project ID: 719084

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Gamesmondo (A Distribution and Monetisation Ecosystem for Mobile Applications, Maximising Market Growththrough Affiliation)

Reporting period: 2016-05-01 to 2017-04-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Gamesmondo makes distribution of Android games profitable in distribution channels beyond Google Play. The Android operating system is open. A multitude of distribution channels exist, including stores run by tech giants such as Samsung, Amazon and Huawei. New forms of distribution such as social networks and chat are emerging. The market is transitioning away from its historical reliance on a single, dominant, Google Play store. However, this diverse eco-system creates technical and commercial fragmentation. To reach other distribution channels, developers need to rebuild their games and set up individual production lines and relationships with for each distribution channel. For example, developers need to replace Google’s in-app purchase system with other systems when distributing to other stores. The absolute and opportunity costs for developers to do this are high and the majority of developers do not execute on the full potential of the wider Android eco-system. Google’s dominant position means developers build for Google Play first. The end result is a market where:
1) Developers remain in Google Play which becomes overcrowded, with limited discovery forcing them to spend heavily on advertising
2) Remaining distribution channels suffer due to a lack of content
3) In-game monetisation is limited to what Google’s payments can support
4) Growth and competitiveness in the market is throttled back

Through the Gamesmondo project, Flexion addresses the technical and commercial fragmentation, making distribution to non-google channels profitable for developers. Gamesmondo combines technical enabling and service provisioning with pre-arranged distribution through Flexion’s commercial relationships with distribution channels. Developers get a consolidated route to a fragmented ecosystem through a single distribution partner. The project drives the creation of an open market.
Flexion’s patent pending enabling technology adds, removes or replaces features in existing games. The games become compliant with the technical and commercial requirements of other distribution channels. The process is automated, does not require access to the game’s source and involves no work for developers. Flexion’s service platform manages aspects such as integration of 3rd party payments and features, in-application purchase and user license management. The technical enabling is combined with pre-arranged distribution through Flexion’s network of distribution channels. Flexion manages relationships with stores, undertakes retailing and promotion and manages revenue conciliation and payment to developers.
The grant provided serves to drive progress in four main areas:
1) Recruitment and management of additional game developers
2) Recruitment and management of additional distribution channels.
3) Development of features which drive additional monetisation, facilitate self-service enabling for developers and distribution channels, and ensure platform scalability and technology readiness.
4) IP protection
This is manifested in 6 overall objectives:
1) Create the foundations for the open market with a core network of users, affiliates and payment providers.
2) Show the viability of the open market by building a catalogue of freemium games, optimising its performance.
3) Create a core feature set which can scale to support many affiliates and developers.
4) Drive user value and engagement by developing and enhancing novel Gamesmondo distribution and monetisation features.
5) Refine and deliver IP, marketing and commercialisation strategies.
6) Make the open market available to any developer or affiliate through creation of tools and features to allow partners to be fully self-served.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Work during the first 12 months of the project has focussed on technical and commercial evolution.
COMMERCIAL EVOLUTION AND OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES
The core of the Gamesmondo project revolves around providing distribution for developers through non-Google distribution channels. Achieving this requires active addition and management of distribution channels and payment providers, combined with growing the catalogue of developers currently served by Flexion.
1) Flexion has added more than 120 games from 20 developers during the period.
2) A wide spread of distribution channels have been added during the period
3) A set of additional 3rd party payment providers have been technically and commercially integrated during the period. Flexion’s payment provider coverage now extends to more than 320 mobile operators in 90+ countries. This is supported by 100 alternative payment providers and ewallets.
IP PROTECTION:
A patent relating to Flexion’s core enabling technology has been filed in the USA and Europe.
TECHNICAL EVOLUTION
Activities in this area have focussed largely on evolving existing features to TRL 9 and to drive increased monetisation performance from distributed games. Progression of feature sets and capabilities for Flexion’s products has been achieved across the board. In some instances evolution has been iterative, building on existing features – this has largely been the case for internal tools and interfaces and supporting features.
In other instances entirely new features have been developed - more specifically in relation to a) Flexion’s premium wrapper product, b) features relating to subscription based monetisation models and c) new self-service reporting and settlement features (as well as supporting back-end features).
These activities have been combined with development work which extends the capabilities of the core platform. This prepares it for a set of new features which will be added during the second half of the project. The core platform has been evolved in order to cater for ongoing user growth and scaling. Evolution has revolved around a) general capacity improvements and b) ongoing re-architecture to prepare the platform for easy integration of new modules, features and infrastructure components.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Through Flexion and Gamesmondo, game developers and distribution channels can achieve profitable distribution beyond Google Play.
Developers reach distribution channels which otherwise would not have been viable while distribution channels get access to content they otherwise would have been unable to attract. Flexion has more than 10 million monthly active users and monetises globally. The impact of this is:
1) Developers become less dependent on Google Play and can reduce their reliance on advertising in order to find end-users. This reduces the probability of developers getting caught in the “big developer squeeze” in Google Play
2) Developers get access to monetisation models and methods more closely aligned with the users and regions in which their games are distributed. This improves developers’ ability to monetise users and allows for the creation of new and innovative monetisation models. Developers benefit through increased revenue and profitability while more end-users are able to spend on games, in turn driving a better user experience.
3) Distribution channels beyond Google Play can play a significant role in Android gaming and can derive sustainable revenue from gaming. This drives employment and profitability but also increases the overall level of competitiveness in the market, ultimately creating better services for end-users.
4) The overall gaming eco-system becomes more open and competitive
5) The market becomes less reliant on a single store

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