Marco DeMiroz moderated a panel on mobile game market investments at Casual Connect Europe. “Really, for a game company starting — getting the funding, getting the user-acquisition model fine-tuned, and also, the main objective is to come up with an awesome game — it’s a huge challenge,” he said. For several perspectives on mobile game investments, see the video below.
Marco DeMiroz is a Managing Director at Evolution Media Capital, an investment and advisory firm affiliated with Creative Artists Agency, Participant Media and TPG Capital. Evolution focuses on investments in content and content ecosystems to bring strategic value across its vast network in sports, media and entertainment sectors. Marco met his colleagues three years ago and was attracted to Evolution because he realized they all shared similar vision and values for teamwork and building a top-tier investment platform.
The Multi-Directional Effort
Marco greatly enjoys his position with Evolution, appreciating the open and collaborative environment. He says, “We have an amazing team at Evolution Media Capital, and we all pull in the same direction to establish a premier investment firm.” And he feels great pride in being a member of this team.
They are all striving to assist their portfolio companies become massive successes. But to do this requires a multi-dimensional effort, and the needs of each company differ. Evolution are active strategic investors and as an affiliate of TPG and TPG Growth, they follow a similar disciplined approach when they engage with a company from deal flow through post-investment strategies.
He was inspired to become involved with Evolution through being an entrepreneur; he welcomed the opportunity to help other entrepreneurs realize their dreams. His work draws on the culmination of his past experiences together with the insights and instincts he has developed. “I feel that it is a never-ending learning process,” he says, “and experience alone is never sufficient.”
Games that Attract Attention
Marco became interested in the game industry when he was part of the early efforts to create smartphones and tablets at General Magic, an Apple spin-off. Mobile games were core to their vision, which united content with community and commerce through entertainment.
While he was CEO of PlayFirst Inc., the company had building games to delight and entertain users. He found this very gratifying, especially since it was combined with economic success. In fact, the team they assembled at PlayFirst brought the most gratification of his career. “They are second to none!” he says.
He describes himself as a casual to mid-core gamer and loves the new Diner Dash, a beautiful game designed by Tom Hall and Becky Ann Hughes. Other favorite games include: Dice With Buddies, Racing Rivals, Brave Frontier and OneFootball, which he calls a must for soccer fans.
To attract his attention, a game must be fun, challenging, engaging and rewarding within the first 30 seconds. Then it must unfold magically as he continues playing. Accomplishing this requires a fine-tuned game design, initial experience and progression model. But, as he points out, once that is accomplished and players feel gratified and challenged, they will spend money on the game. He also notes that the games industry is filled with incredibly talented people with unbounded vision for creative expression; that usually translates to highly engaging games.
Quality Content: The Main Differentiator
Marco believes top-quality content will be the main differentiator as the games industry moves forward. The mobile sector is maturing, and the emerging platforms, such as VR/AR, wearables and smart TV, must have engaging content to drive and expand adoption. Evolution’s main investment thesis is centered around high-quality content.
The games industry top-grossing charts have been dominated by the same players through the last two years, making the barriers for newcomers very high. So consolidation becomes a core strategy for talent acquisition, lowering the UA cost, diversifying the portfolio and expanding geographically.
Marco has interests beyond his work; the most important is spending as much time as possible with his children. He also plays soccer consistently and watches soccer, especially Arsenal and the European teams. He is a big 49ers fan and plays many mobile games.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.