At Casual Connect USA in San Francisco, Keith Katz’s session, Marketing and Monetization for Mobile Indies: Lessons from the Trenches, enlightened developers by sharing Keith’s real-world experiences. During his session, Keith offered this insight, “In figuring out what game to build, we look for a ‘goldilocks pie slice’. What I mean is that some game genres make tons of money, like collectible card games, but that space is very competitive and will be more challenging for indies to stand out. Other game genres are too niche, and simply won’t have enough players to be successful. The ideal is something in the middle, a genre that’s just right.”
Execution is Key
Keith Katz is Co-Founder and Business Chief at Execution Labs, a company providing the guidance and resources that will allow game developers to become entrepreneurs. Keith oversees the business aspects of Execution Labs and their game partners. His work also entails a lot of input on the games themselves, which is what keeps the job fun for him. Other facets of his job include player marketing, PR, business development, monetization, understanding player behavior and running a startup. Everything he has done throughout his career feeds into what he does now; he draws on it every day. He is especially looking forward to that moment when one of Execution Lab’s teams sees great success.
Keith’s interest in games began with playing on the Atari 2600, playing a lot of games! Shortly after business school, he began considering getting into games as a business, thinking “Why not do something that I love for a living?” He also loved the fact that gaming was becoming a nexus for many facets of the entertainment industry, including film, music and sports. His first job in the game industry was brand manager at Atari in New York. If he could not be in the games industry, he would be doing something else in entertainment or tech, but he says, “Why would you ever leave it?”
His career definitely has not been all clear sailing. The greatest challenge occurred when he had a really terrible boss. He says, “I didn’t overcome it, so much as survive it with some nasty scars.” The critical thing he learned from the situation was, “Always have a Plan B!”
When talking about his free time, he admits, “I have too many hobbies!” These include lots of Gaming, Running, Scuba Diving, BBQ with his smoker, Home Brewing, Travel, Hiking, Camping, watching Baseball and Football, and Boxing. His favorite music, because it reminds him of his home in Louisiana, is Country.
Tablet and PC Experiences Converge
Keith believes the next important trend in the games industry will come as gaming on tablets becomes much more like PC gaming. Linking smaller devices to larger screens will give an experience much more like that of consoles. He insists, “We are happy when our teams want to lead with their tablet SKU because we think core gamers will adopt this platform in greater and greater numbers over the coming months and years.”
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.