The video game distribution market is broken. With most of the focus on “walled gardens” and fee structures, the larger problem of cost effective and scalable distribution is left unaddressed. We believe that distribution is an advertising game, when it should be a social game. User acquisition (UA) in gaming, especially when it comes to mobile, should not just be about who has the most ad spend. We think your social circles should be more intertwined with the games you play. The people you interact with on various social platforms should also be the people you engage with through games. This is why we recently led an investment in Quicksave. Quicksave is building the engine, infrastructure, and distribution platform to support immersive, social, instant games across all messenger platforms.
When we think of social platforms, we traditionally think of social media but at the core of what makes them social are the features that allow users to interact with each other. Game distribution should be the same, yet it’s primarily driven by marketing spend today. What mobile app stores lack is a true social component which makes distributing games more about user data and targeting than bringing people together and allowing commonality between friends to drive sales. Game Pigeon was a great example of merging game distribution with social because the games were best played with a friend and without an “online” mode you would ask friends to play through iMessages and playing the game would feel almost like a conversation. To continue that conversation your friend would have to download Game Pigeon as well and then you’d engage in an asynchronous gaming experience. This process was integral to its virality.
While Game Pigeon laid the foundation, we felt like innovation stopped when it should have powered on and focused on what made those games viral and “what’s next?.” Here’s what we observed:
- Messengers today can support not only asynchronous experience but also synchronous directly in the app without the need to download a separate app.
- the infrastructure and tools for messenger games don’t invite developers to build.
- No one has cracked cross-messenger games.
These are all problems that Quicksave is directly attacking while also developing and publishing 1st and 3rd party games.
Messenger platforms have the largest audiences on mobile and most people have more than one messenger on their device. Apps like WhatsApp are also expanding outside of just messaging, with WhatsApp Business, as they take inspiration from WeChat and look to extend their platform. To continue to expand their offerings, a lot of these apps are offering integrated HTML5 games to further monetize and engage users. Through the messenger players are able to connect easily with friends and play together.
The Quicksave team live and breathe instant games, have extensive experience in the space and have been building successful companies together for over a decade. Elina Arponen, CEO of Quicksave, was the Head of Chat Games at Palringo, Ville-Kalle Arponen (“VK” for short), Creative Director of Quicksave, was the Head of Chat Games Product at Palringo and Timo, CTO of Quicksave, was the Principal Engineer of Chat Games at Palringo. All three of them joined Palringo through the acquisition of Tribe Studios where they were all founders and were building (you guessed it) chat games. They’ve seen this market grow from day zero and we believe they are going to build the future of it too.
We are excited to support them and their vision to build the future of instant games. The Quicksave infrastructure will allow any social platform to integrate, distribute, and manage instant games. We are also thrilled to have invested alongside Raptor Group and Lago Innovation, both of whom have extensive experience in early stage investing.
“Elina is one of the most experienced and passionate operators in the instant games space. She has a clear vision for the future of how games will be distributed and we are thrilled to be supporting her and the rest of the team as they pursue that new reality. Quicksave is showcasing how developers and publishers can access hundreds of millions of players through platforms outside of the app stores. We believe instant games are the tip of the spear challenging the current mobile game system duopoly.” - Jason Chapman