Gamee on its plans to become the ‘YouTube of mobile gaming’

The startup, which has already worked with NASA, Coca-Cola and Manchester City, insists mobile gaming is becoming a key channel for marketers.

Gaming is expected to generate $109bn in revenues in 2017, with mobile now the most lucrative segment of the market. And this year, smartphone and tablet gaming will grow 19% year on year to sales of $46.1bn, claiming 42% of the total market, according to Newzoo. It says mobile games have been boosted by the popularity of the likes of Candy Crush, Mario Run and Pokémon Go.

However, with mobile app usage and downloads also experiencing a decline – Adobe says app downloads have fallen 38% since 2014 in the US – it’s clear not everyone necessarily wants another app taking up space on their phone. Step forward Gamee.

The Prague-based startup, which was founded in 2014 and now has 70 original games, presents mobile games that don’t require an app download for you to play. Utilising the flash in people’s browsers, Gamee’s games work instantly on your browser or social network. For example, if a user is to share a link to a Gamee game to a friend on a platform such Facebook Messenger then users don’t need to leave the messaging app and can instantly play it.

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Gamee’s co-founder and CEO Bo Rezab says it now has over eight million monthly active users, growing from fewer than 100,000 a year ago. And she’s confident Gamee can now become the YouTube for mobile gaming.

“We want to do for gaming what YouTube has done for video,” she tells Marketing Week. “YouTube videos are so sharable and embeddable, and that’s never really been the case for mobile games. We want to make our games playable, sharable and available anywhere on the internet.”

Working with brands

Gamee has already partnered with brands such as Coca-Cola, Bershka, Manchester City and Nasa on creating sharable games. Nasa has launched four games on Gamee, with their educational gameplay based around the anniversary of iconic space missions such as Voyager 1 and 2, and clocking up in excess of 16 million players.

With Facebook recently launching instant game technology for Messenger, Rezab says it’s an important time for the industry. She explains: “Marketers are realising you can be reactive on social media with mobile games and not just videos or tweets.

“The Nasa games we have made have been played over 50 million times, which is exciting as gaming is one of the best channels for engagement. People play games over and over again so a brand or educational message is going to stick a lot more than someone scrolling through a post in their feed.”

Looking to the future

With the majority of its users based in America and Latin America, Gamee, which makes 50% of its games in-house, has an ambitious target to take its monthly active users to the “tens of millions” range by the end of 2018.

However, Rezab says this won’t be built on a traditional marketing strategy and more about utilising influencers and data: “Our strategy is based on data and behavior. We use this to make sure every game has maximum sharability and then ride off the word of mouth buzz. The traditional way of doing advertising doesn’t really appeal to us.”

She says Gamee’s most engaged user is – surprise, surprise – in the 18- to 24 year-old bracket. But she also insists thousands of its users are in the 40-years-plus range.

Rezab concludes: “Gaming isn’t just something young people do anymore. You can see older people playing Candy Crush on their phones on the train. This is only going to get bigger and bigger.

“I genuinely believe marketers are realising advertising with a few posts online to promote a product launch isn’t enough anymore. The brands we’ve worked with are all realising creating a game can achieve so much more engagement and cut-through.”