Desmond Lee is the Co-Founder and CEO of Appxplore, a renowned mobile game development agency based in Kuala Lumpur. He was kind enough to spare his weekend to give TOA students an intimate sharing titled ‘Insights about the Development & Career in Mobile Games Industry’ where he talked about how he got started, the struggles he went through, the size of the mobile game market and how to get the most out of original games.
Appxplore was started in 2011 by Desmond along with TOA alumni Lim Jenn Yu as a very small incubator office funded by an investor. They successfully released their first game 8 months later in 2012 with only 4 staff. That first game, Lightopus, was eventually featured by Apple, and managed to make USD$10,000 in its first month.
But their debut success was short-lived as earnings decreased and within 18 months, they ran out of funds while in the process of developing their second game. Due to their perseverance and hardwork, they found a new investor and subsequently developed more successful games and won Google Play Top Developer in 2015. As of February 2018, they have released their 9th game.
Perhaps their initial struggle stems from the competitive and oversaturated mobile games market. In 2016, the global games market was worth 91 billion, with the mobile sector denoting 45% (41 billion), the rest being console, PC and other types of game platforms. There were a total of 800,000 mobile games on the App Store and Google Play, and according to Desmond, only 1-2% of those games are able to make profit.
The best way to stand out from other games is by creating good games and having a great marketing strategy, which includes the usual platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and getting influencers to play the game.
“A good game without marketing will fail. Marketing without a good product will also fail,” Desmond said.