“If you look at the Top Grossing and the Top Free charts today, you probably see Kim Kardashian being number one, you’ve got Game of Thrones up there even thought its not in season on network right now,” Ben Chen said when introducing his panel at Casual Connect USA 2014. “So I think it is probably more indies and blockbusters: a match made in heaven, how you find success here.”
Ben Chen is executive vice president, global developer relations and business development at Fyber (formerly SponsorPay) and is responsible for the global supply portion of their ad monetization platform. He says, “Working in large mobile game companies, you learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t from a business, creative, and operational perspective. You also learn that challenges are everywhere and not to get overwhelmed by the small stuff.”
Pathway to Gaming
Chen relates that the beauty and magic of games grabbed him from the moment he first played Combat on his Atari. But his path to the games industry took an indirect route. He started his career in the film and television segment of the entertainment industry before transitioning into games. He began working at Playdom as games were first starting on Facebook, and his passion and love of games continues to be the compelling, fun aspect of the industry for him.
He has gained the most satisfaction in his work through seeing non-console gaming becoming a mature and growing business through the lens of a startup and seeing validation come through acquisitions from traditional media companies.
“We’re in the early days of the industry,” Chen asserts, “and as connected devices continue to spread, gaming will always be the content that leads the way through its creativity, innovation, and passion.” He feels the beauty of mobile and connectivity is that you can play anywhere – and he has, including while standing in front of the Berlin Wall. His mobile gaming is done on iOS, purely out of habit.
Connected in the Future and at Home
As Chen considers the future of the games industry over the next several years, he believes that connected devices, including wearables, home, and auto, will drive more and more of the user experience in the app ecosystem. And he states, “We’ll want to be there supporting all the companies playing in that space so they can continue to innovate, push boundaries, and take us to places we would never have imagined going.”
When Chen is not involved with his work, his main hobby is playing with his two small daughters, aged three-and-a-half and fifteen months. But he is also a huge sports fan and enjoys gaming. It is no surprise to know that he is playing FIFA14 these days. This is what he claims passes for exercise when you are a parent of young children.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.