Interview: Matt Turetzky of RealNetworks on mobile game styles and interfaces

January 16, 2008 at 12:30 am

realnetworks.jpgLast month we talked with Matt Turetzky, RealNetworks‘ vice-president responsible for mobile games. His division offers games on more than 800 handsets, in more than 30 countries, on more than 70 carriers and on every major mobile platform. We asked him about his company’s business focus, and what he sees in the future for mobile gaming.

You specialize in casual games – simpler arcade-style products – instead of massive combat fantasies. What are the most common misconceptions about your games?
Turetzky: People often think that casual games are just for women. While women do represent a slight majority of our mobile customers, we find that men enjoy the challenge of our casual titles as well.

How do gamers benefit from your EMERGE technology?
Turetzky: EMERGE enables Real to efficiently produce games for more than 800 handsets. We pride ourselves on being first to market on new handsets. When someone buys the latest handset, it’s important to them that they have a wide range of choices for content. With certain more limited circulation handsets, like the Blackjack, HTC 8525 or the brand new LG VX10000, many publishers are hesitant to develop games because of uncertain payback and we find ourselves in a very strong position. The carriers come to us and ask for our help in getting games onto these devices.

What kind of relationship do you have with mobile operators? Do you offer services that don’t depend on them?
Turetzky: The carriers like us because we bring well-known IP [intellectual property], fun games and the best handset support. In various markets, we offer a number of direct-to-consumer services, selling both a la carte titles and subscriptions. We don’t promote these heavily, as the current consumer is much more focused on the carriers for content.

Do you see any threats to your mobile business model?
Turetzky: As with most publishers, the majority of our sales come through the carriers. As carriers shift resources around their organizations, there may be less time available to deal with all the publishers out there. In the U.S., we are a top 10 publisher, so we don’t feel much of a threat, but there are always other publishers breathing down our necks.

Do you foresee any promising new mobile gaming interfaces?
Turetzky: I’m a big fan of touch screens. It’s an incredibly intuitive interface and is a natural way to control the leading casual game types, like match-3s, click management and hidden objects. There’s a lot of buzz around accelerometers because of the WiiMote but I don’t see how that lends itself well to a mobile handset. When you’re swinging the phone around, you can’t see the screen. I don’t see someone bowling and golfing by themselves at the bus stop. Actually, sometimes I do but those people usually don’t have mobile phones.

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Entry filed under: interview, matt turetzky, mobile applications, mobile content, realnetworks.

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