e27 managed to do a short email interview with John Goodale, Unity’s Asia General Manager to find out more about the gaming industry and Unity’s future plans for the region.
What changes in gaming trends do you see in the Asian markets?
We see quite a few changes throughout Asia, and we notice country by country trends, as well. For example, what is driving our growth in China is the flight from traditional client-based MMORPGs to web-based MMORPGs and other web games. Our Unity Web Player plugin serves this market quite well, and allows for a great 3D game playing experience right within a browser – no standalone client application needed. However, what is driving our growth in Korea is the flight from, again, traditional client-based MMORPGs, to this time mobile games. With strong players like Samsung, LG and others in the mobile phone space, Android gaming is really taking off in Korea. Whereas in much of the world our iOS platform and Android platform sales are largely at parity, in Korea our Android platform outsells iOS by a margin of 3 to 1. In Japan, what is fueling our growth is the immense popularity of SNS platforms; we are tightly integrated with GREE and DeNA, for example, and game development for those platforms is a huge part of our business there. Throughout southeast Asia, we see most of these trends, as well; however, throughout most of southeast Asia a dominant SNS player has not yet sprung up. It will be interesting to see how recent investments by some of the “northern Asia” SNS players pan out in southeast Asia.
Another trend that we see is the increasing talent on the part of game developers throughout Asia. With every road show I do throughout Asia (which amounts to about three weeks out of every month), I find amazing content being created by Unity developers, that just blows me away. I have been doing business in Asia for 20+ years and I have always said that the quality of content coming out of Asia would regularly surpass that coming out of triple-A studios in the West; those days are upon us.
How is Unity poised to capture the opportunities from these rising trends?
Unity is poised to capture opportunities from these trends in a couple of ways. First of all, we have products to meet these needs of all of these trends. From our web player plugin to our support for iOS and Android platforms, to our upcoming social APIs in version 3.5 to our support for Flash, we are in a position to meet the region’s needs. Secondly, we have both a technology and a business model that scale: If you’re an Indie working with limited resources, or a multinational publisher working on triple-A content, we have technology that scales, as well as business models that support both extremes and every case in between.
What support can game developers on the Unity platform expect, and how is Unity looking to engage/support them further?
We recently announced that the Unity community has surpassed 750,000 registered users. While that’s a significant number, it may be more significant that more than 20% of those users are very active users, contributing heavily to the community. Unity has a large (and growing) technical support staff, yet one of our field engineers recently told me that of ANY question he gets in his line of work, 80 percent of the time the answer can be found in our forums in five minutes or less. For Asia specifically, we are growing our team quite rapidly. We recently opened offices in Seoul and Tokyo, retained staff in China and southeast Asia, and there is more to come. One year ago we had a single individual (me!) covering all of Asia; by the end of the first quarter of this year, we are on track to have Asia teams surpassing 20 staff members. Our staff growth in the region is to meet sales and support needs, and with that expanded staff we are also partnering with channel partners, academic institutions, government agencies and so on. You will see a growing Unity presence throughout all of Asia, and we look forward to serving the communities there.