Mobile game developer resource PlayHaven announced a new hire today with Charles Yim joining the company as Chief Operating Officer. Yim was previously at AdMob, which was acquired by Google in 2010.
PlayHaven’s mission is to maximize the lifetime value of a mobile game player; a large part of this strategy comes from advertising, which is where Yim’s expertise comes in. With more mobile developers turning to native video ads as a monetization solution, it makes sense to bring in a guy that helped AdMob launch mobile video on iPad and Android tablets. PlayHaven has grown to 60 since closing an $8 million third round of funding late last year.
The following is a brief interview conducted with Yim earlier this week.
Inside Social Games: Do you see Tablet emerging as the dominant “mobile” games platform in the next year, or are we already there?
Charles Yim: If you look at the games industry holistically, it’s pretty broad. Each different game genre — a casual game, a casino game, a hardcore game — they lend themselves to different users and tablet is a good platform for certain genres, but not all genres. I don’t think tablets are the end-all, be-all of the industry.
ISG: We’ve seen a lot of advertisers and ad platforms focus on video in the last year — including AdMob. Where can native ads go beyond video?
Yim: The ongoing debate that you find is in the advertising technology perspective — on one side of the spectrum, you have super native and then on the other you have scalable. When I think back to AdMob in 2009 when we came out with our own video ad unit, the companies were developing niche swipable video ad units, but the industry couldn’t scale those. Integrating with a large number of publishers was a difficult process to manage. Whenever you look at a new channel in native ads, there’s a natural dynamic tension between delivering a native, unique experience and something that can be scaled. AdMob’s [ad unit] was the first that really gained traction because it was easy for advertisers to understand. The things you could do outside of video is really a question of how much deep integration are people willing to do and are advertisers willing to buy into that experience.
ISG: What’s the biggest mistake game developers make in implementing ads on mobile?
Yim: Game developers have gotten much better at this, but they think about building their game before they think about monetizing it. They’re very focused on the player experience and afterwards, they slap ads on top of it. Savvy game devs in mobile understand that ads are a important part of the business model and they incorporate that into their game from the get-go.
ISG: Anything to add?
Yim: My motivations for joining PlayHaven are asking what are game developers doing well or not doing well. As the industry matures, the needs of the developers mature. As their business scale and grow, they run into growing pains they haven’t anticipated. PlayHaven has an incredibly talented team and the best perspective on what’s coming and on helping game developers manage their businesses.