Guy Charusadhirakul manages business development for Google Play in Southeast Asia, helping to grow the ecosystem of game and app developers in the region as he assists them to build successful global businesses using Google Play. Guy especially enjoys working with the creative people who are building fun, unique games, helping them reach millions of players globally and succeed with their businesses. Recently Gamesauce was able to interview Guy about his work with Google Play.
Gamesauce: Tell us about the work you do at your company. How did you come to work at your current company?
Guy Charusadhirakul: I manage business development for Google Play in Southeast Asia. Basically, that means I help grow ecosystem of game and app developers in the region and help them build successful global business with Google Play.
Gamesauce: What is your favorite thing about your job?
Guy: Working with creative game developers who bring fun, unique games to life and helping them to distribute their game to millions of users globally and grow their business is incredibly rewarding.
Gamesauce: How have your past career experiences been helpful to you in your current position?
Guy: My previous experience managing business development at various tech companies has been very helpful. Technologies and platforms are only as useful as the strength of developer ecosystem around it. I am able to leverage my previous experience to bridge the platform to developers and help them grow their business.
My experience with my own startup is also very helpful. It helps me understand first-hand what developers and startups think and make trade-off about technologies and business. This in turn helps me better communicate with developers in ways that are relevant to them.
Gamesauce: What inspired you to pursue this career?
Guy: I have always believed in the power of technologies and platforms to enrich and transform lives of people around the world. What is a better way to affect that change than to be part of a platform like Google Play? It’s humbling and inspiring to be part of a platform that helps make innovative apps and games that enrich users’ lives globally.
Gamesauce: Do you have any advice for someone interested in pursuing the same career?
Guy: For someone interested in a similar career, being able to understand technologies but also to communicate effectively to variety of audience on how technologies impact users, developers, and business is a critical skill.
Gamesauce: How did you become involved in the game industry? How did you make your start?
Guy: My first involvement with the game industry was when I was working for a global handset manufacturer. However, the biggest immersion with the game industry is when I join Google Play team focusing on growing developer ecosystem in Southeast Asia.
Gamesauce: What are some of the challenges you have faced in your current position? How have you overcome these challenges?
Guy: One of the challenges in my current role is to help developers understand and navigate the complexity of growing their business in Southeast Asia. SEA is a fast-growing market for games but it requires nuanced understanding — since the market is made up of multiple countries with differences in languages, game preferences, payment methods, marketing channels, etc.
However, developers have come a long way in gaining better understanding of the region and we are seeing tremendous interest in the region. For example, we are seeing top global/regional game developers localizing in Thai, Bahasa and Vietnamese. Supercell started to localize Hay Day in Thai this March. Kabam localized Marvel’s Contest of Champion in Thai and Bahasa in Q1 as well. We are also seeing developers having better understanding of investing in the region to support gamer communities. For instance, some developers are opening office or leveraging partners in the region provide community management, customer support, live operations, PR & marketing, etc.
That said, we will continue to educate developers around the world about SEA market potential and knowledge required to be successful here.
Gamesauce: What do you do in your free time? What are your hobbies?
Guy: In my free time, I enjoy traveling and cooking interesting dishes.
Gamesauce: If you were not in this industry, what would you be doing?
Guy: I will probably be working in a startup.
Gamesauce: What was your dream job as a child?
Guy: When I was younger, I wanted to become an architect. Although today I am not doing anything related to architecture, my current role still allows me to work in an industry that is still very driven by creativity.
Gamesauce: What has been your proudest moment during your career so far? What led to this moment happening?
Guy: Helping developers exponentially grow their business in SEA and globally is really rewarding. When I see a successful game by local developer that I have worked with doing well globally, it’s incredibly satisfying.
Gamesauce: What do you think will be the next big trend in the industry in the next three to five years? How are you incorporating this trend into your future plans?
Guy: Continued focus on user engagement & retention will be important for all successful game developers. User attention is the most precious resource and several games, apps, media are competing for that limited commodity. User acquisition are also getting more expensive becaue of this.
So, games that can continue to keep users interested, excited, and engaged with content, live events, community, etc. will be successful in the long-run.
Gamesauce: What interests you about the game industry?
Guy: It is a fun industry. It has a great mix of creativity, storytelling, technology, behavioral psychology, community, and of course business. It is an industry that helps push the envelope for tech, business, and creative worlds.
Gamesauce: Are you a gamer? What are some of your favorites?
Guy: I love playing and discovering fun Indie games. Some of favorites include The Last Vikings, Mekorama, and Badland.
Gamesauce: What should a game have to catch your attention?
Guy: I am speaking from personal capacity. As mentioned, I love exploring games with very unique concept, design or game play.
So, games with those elements that can surprise and delight me — like “I havn’t quite played something like this before” — will catch my attention.
Gamesauce: What have been some of the most effective tools for mobile marketing at your company?
Guy: Knowing in-game metrics like cohort retention and Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) are important fundamental tools for mobile marketing. Without these, you don’t know if marketing dollars you spend will be worthwhile or can justify returns.
How have you handled constantly changing technology? How have you been able to incorporate it into your business?
As part of the role, I also about changing technology. Google is also great at providing resources for Googlers to keep abreast of changing technologies. However, supplement this with just reading and trying out new games, apps, technologies on my own.
Gamesauce: Tell us about the mobile games market in Southeast Asia. What unique characteristics do developers need to be aware of when entering this market?
Guy: SEA is made up of multiple countries with differences in languages, game preferences, payment methods, marketing channels, etc. Key things developers need to know are:
Game Localization — very critical for market like Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam
Payment — Credit card does not have strong penetration in most markets in SEA. So, letting gamers know that they can pay with direct carrier billing and gift cards are also important.
Pricing — consumers in SEA has lower ability to pay high-price. Pricing appropriately for the market, including sub $ pricing is important to ensure you get new buyers for the game.
Community & Support — Having community & support in local languages are important to build a strong, engaged and viral user base in the region
Gamesauce: Are there types of games more likely to succeed in this region?
Guy: RPG, strategy, and action games monetize well in this region. Game with popular Asian IPs also perform well in this region.
Gamesauce: Do you have any other suggestions for success in the Southeast Asia games market?
Guy: Leverage your own existing channels to maximize user acquisition and monetization. It can be very powerful and also cost-effective. For example, we have seen that in-game messaging can be very effective in communicating to users that they can pay with direct carrier billing or with gift cards. This can also help cross-promote games as well.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.