“Not so long ago, it was all about North America, Western Market,” Josh Burns told his audience at Casual Connect USA 2014. “But the reality is today, the market in Asia, depending on what you define as Asia, is very significant.”
Josh Burns is a consultant in the games industry working with game developers, game publishers, and service providers focused on online and mobile gaming to support key business areas, including strategy, market intelligence, marketing, game publishing, business operations, product management, and business development. Before becoming a consultant, Burns worked at 6waves, leading the US product management team for one of the largest publishers of games on Facebook, iOS, and Android, where he managed and launched over 100 apps including those from top developers such as Kabam, Nexon, and Atari, as well as games based on IP from Eminem, Disney, Dungeons & Dragons, Starz, and BBC.
Helping to Find the Opportunities
Much of his work these days is focused on helping smaller to mid-size mobile game developers find opportunities and partners to bring their games to market. The rising marketing and development costs, as well as decreasing organic visibility for new games in the app store, has made partnerships much more important for the majority of mobile developers. It also makes Burns’ work much more valuable to developers, especially smaller studios, which are most likely to be interested in considering partners to bring their games to market, while larger studios are more likely to be interested in partnering to release content from external developers.
The trend of rising costs and decreasing organic visibility was one of the primary reasons Burns formalized his consulting business. The proudest moment of his career occurred when he decided to take the plunge and go out on his own as a consultant. He enjoys working with a varied group of companies and helping them with a diverse set of issues related to their businesses.
Burns emphasizes that it is difficult to predict what the next important trend in the industry will be. He believes we will start to see mobile games with production levels starting to reach those of PC and potentially consoles, perhaps in less than three years. As well, since the mobile market is already very crowded, he is waiting to see what the next mass market gaming platforms will be.
A Mobile Focus
His focus these days is almost entirely on mobile, so it is not unexpected to find his gaming is only on his smartphone or tablet. He is playing so many different games from the mobile market and developer partners that he rarely plays any one game on a regular basis. Right now, he is playing Puzzle Raiders, a new match-3 game from one of his partner studios. The core gameplay is like Candy Crush, but with an exploration theme and more depth and complexity.
Burns is enthusiastic about the F2P model because it allows developers to reach the mass market with their games; on mobile, this market is truly global. Small development teams are able to scale their games to millions of downloads and users, something that previously was extremely difficult except for the largest gaming companies. But, he admits, “The downside is that there are some bad actors in the industry abusing the F2P model and engaging in questionable activities to generate revenue.”
When not working, Burns enjoys running, DJing for friends and charity events, growing his already too large music collection, and playing with his one-year-old daughter.