“We asked developers, ‘How do you increase the size of your budgets?’ Mind you, these are the top 100 grossing developers, so the guys with the deep pockets, the guys with the highly monetizing apps,” Bryan Buskas explained during his session at Casual Connect USA 2014. “85 percent or so have said that they continue to increase the size of their campaign. For the indie developers out there, I think that shows the importance of publishing today.”
AdColony’s Bryan Buskas started his career in games on the console side of the business, working in research and brand marketing in 2005. This was the year Xbox 360 was launched; an amazing time as they worked on titles like Call of Duty 2 and Guitar Hero. He loves the opportunity the games industry gives him to work on products people use every day and work with people and the technology that continues to evolves. He says, “There’s always something new and exciting happening in gaming, especially in mobile. There’s always so much innovation.”
Just as the industry is constantly changing, Buskas’ roles in it have continued to evolve over the past ten years, from console to social and now to mobile gaming. This is what keeps him going in the industry: the notion of transformation and innovation.
Buskas runs AdColony’s performance advertising division, also known in the industry as user acquisition. He describes his work as such: “At the most basic level, I help mobile game developers find new players, using mobile video ad campaigns. Every day, we run campaigns in over 200 countries, which support developers in distributing their apps to audiences around the world.”
Because he spent over five years working with console game developers through the “green light process,” he has seen first-hand all the labor, skill, and collaboration required to bring new concepts and titles to market. He speaks the same language as game developers, so he is able to help build better products for mobile game companies. He believes this also gives him the ability to become a trusted partner to them, as opposed to just being the rep for an ad platform or a vendor.
Pride in the Partnership
Buskas has had many proud moments during his career, varying depending on the role he filled and the company he was working for. At Activision, one of these was the launch and success of Guitar Hero. Right now, he is very proud to be able to work with the top mobile gaming companies in the world, just as mobile is starting to dominate the time spent in everything from browsing on the internet to watching videos to playing games. He says, “Being one of the key launch partners that are helping these companies promote and bring their new apps to market is gratifying and really exciting.”
From the mobile ad perspective, Buskas believes the next big trend in the games industry is the move to mobile video. Video is the fastest growing segment of advertising today, so it makes sense that this growth is mirrored in mobile. He emphasizes, “All of the investment and interest from developers, advertisers, and users will lead to new formats and innovation across the spectrum of mobile video, mobile games, and mobile ads.”
He expects to see mobile video tying into more traditional channels such as TV or online. He explains, “Think of an AAA console game launch. The publisher might run mobile video ads that support or complement their TV campaigns. On the other end, a mobile game company might run a print ad with a scannable bar code that links to a mobile video demo.” He also expects to see the television interact with mobile devices as mobile games become richer and more immersive in both content and experience.
Because AdColony is a mobile video ad company, mobile-centric evolution and innovation is their DNA and is in everything they do. At Casual Connect USA 2014, Buskas shared insights and results from AdColony’s annual mobile game developer acquisition survey. For three weeks in early June, they surveyed the 100 top grossing game developers on iOS and Android. They believe their tightly focused data will provide important context into how the most successful developers are monetizing through user acquisition.
In Buskas’ free time, he is an avid golfer and surfer. He has been a surfer for nine years and his favorite place to surf is Point Dume, but overall, he has spent more time golfing.
These days, his gaming is mainly on iPad and his favorite games are Supercell’s Boom Beach and Grand Cru’s Supernauts. There is so much great content on mobile that he no longer feels a need to use his console. But he does own both generations of Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo consoles. On the next-gen consoles, he is a big fan of the quality and content but feels the newest entries have become a bit niche. And people no longer have hours a day to devote to gaming, so the idea of console gaming is becoming inaccessible to larger audiences. On the other hand, mobile gaming has experienced explosive growth because it is much more accessible.
Possibly the most unusual place he has played a game is on a golf course, and that illustrates the great advantage of mobile games and why they have grown so much in popularity. You can play them anywhere. Clash of Clans is the perfect example. You have to come back to it at certain times for clan wars, but because it is on your phone, it doesn’t matter where you are. So he played it while on the putting green waiting for the rest of the group to hole out.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.