Com2uS' Eric Cho: The Whiz Kid
February 28, 2015
In 2012, an addictive smartphone puzzle game called Anipang took South Korea by storm, reaching 10 million daily active users at its peak. The craze captured the attention of Eric Cho, a new UCLA grad and lifelong gamer in search of a career path. And he didn't waste time: Today, the LA-based 25-year-old manages marketing for Com2uS, a leading Korean mobile game developer and publisher. We asked the global-minded rising star for insights on the international market for mobile gaming.Did you play a lot of video games growing up?Yeah, I grew up playing PC games like Starcraft and Diablo. Even as a very young kid I paid more attention to gameplay loops and trying to figure out how to beat the system rather than just consuming content.When you got started in mobile gaming, the industry was just beginning to take off. What did you do to set yourself apart?Right out of college, I landed a job at GAMEVIL, one of the biggest players in mobile gaming. I made it my mission to wear as many hats as possible and immerse myself in the industry. I took a very strict quantitative approach to everything I did and that really stuck out to the president of GAMEVIL. It helps that my major was very statistics focused ? it?s a big benefit in terms of reading and understanding data.What makes your games special?Our games are unique in that we have very strong offerings on the role playing game (RPG) side as well as more casual games like sports titles. Our developers have decades of combined experience developing all kinds of games, so their knowledge is really deep. We?ve successfully captured both the Eastern and Western markets for mobile games, and that speaks to the fact that our devs are really well-versed and able to take the data we have on audiences and make sure that the user experience for all players is high quality right off the bat.So what have you found are the main differences between the Asian and Western gaming markets?First, the Asian mobile games market is more mature in the sense that users understand how free-to-play games make money. These gamers grew up with PC games, which were pioneers of the F2P concept. Western gaming markets, on the other hand, grew up with console games, which use a very different, pay up front business model. This translates into higher paying user rates and average revenue per user in Asia because they?re more familiar with the freemium model. [Also] in Asia, top grossing charts change drastically week to week depending on what game is hot or relevant at the time.What?s the most exciting problem you?ve attacked in mobile gaming?The biggest thing for me is to how to effectively run ad campaigns around the world and make them feel local. We have huge global networks and user acquisition channels, but making your brand known in international markets is definitely a challenge.So how do you create global ads with a local feel?Honestly, it?s come down to just being present. We have offices in Korea, US, Japan, and China, and more recently, have opened offices in Southeast Asia and Taiwan to hit these emerging markets with a local advertising approach. The real brand recognition that we want comes from that local, on the ground awareness.What excites you most about the future of mobile gaming?In general there is a lot of merger and acquisition activity going on, and the focus is shifting to mobile. I mean you look at Facebook buying Whatsapp for $19 billion and you can really see that the mobile landscape is shaping up. I?m interested to see where big game publishers are going to make their next investments ? my money's on mobile.It?s also interested to see how mobile games are turning to more traditional forms of marketing ? you see all these ads for mobile games on TV now. And you?re seeing more pre-launch pushes going on for these games, similar to console marketing efforts in the past. Obviously the mobile market is here to stay, and there?s going to be a lot of growth, especially in emerging markets.Quick Facts about Eric:In five years, I hope to own a restaurant in Westwood.My job is awesome because of the people I work with.The first video game I ever played was Pokemon.The game I?m secretly addicted to right now is 2048.I get inspiration from my mom.If I had an actual superpower, I would choose speed because time is precious.