In this episode of the LevelUp podcast, Mike Taramykin, CEO at HypGames, sits down with our host Melissa Zeloof, VP Marketing at ironSource. They discuss the evolution of sports games, including the challenges moving from console to F2P, how to work with licensors, and what to expect in the future. 

Tune in here or keep reading for the edited highlights:

Building mobile games that can easily fit into more people’s days

“Technologically, we’ve crossed the line where people even notice the difference between what your latest Xbox can do and what your latest iPhone can do. The part that is more challenging is how do you design games and experiences that are made for mobile moments. How do you create games that you can play with one hand in the time it takes for a red light to change? How do you create games that you can play in under a minute? It’s a challenge but it’s also exciting. Once you do that, you can fit into more people’s days.”

Piggybacking on the real world of sports to keep people’s attention 

“The hardest thing with mobile is the nature of how fragile audiences can be. The device is always with you, everything on it is free, and you’re dealing with modern society where people don’t have long attention spans. One of the biggest challenges is boredom. People play games for a while and then something new comes along and they go play that. One of the unique opportunities about sports games is that it’s piggybacking on an existing passion that somebody has. No one wakes up one day and is like, “I’ve been playing golf my whole life but I’m over it,” or “I’ve been following the NFL my whole life but I’m done.” Because the real world of sports continues to move on, we are able to piggyback on that.” 

Understanding your partners to make it easier to work together 

“The important thing to remember when dealing with a license or an IP is that it’s a partner. It’s somebody that has gone out and created something that has value and you’re now joining forces to deliver another product to gamers. You’re partners, they’re not selling you something. So, from a financial standpoint, it has to be equitable from both sides. You both have to get something out of it and both parties are going to be looking after their own interests - you can’t just do what you want because you’re paying them and they can’t make you do what they want just because it’s their brand. The more you understand what it is that the licensor is looking for from the relationship, besides the financial part, it makes it a lot easier to work together, whether it’s access to new users, technology, etc.”

Scratching the competitive itch with mobile sports games

“We try to make games that are easy to play but difficult to master. We try to make games where people can jump in and get familiar with the game very quickly. Then we pair them up with somebody that is just as good at it and then it’s all about the competition between them. The sooner we pair players up with someone that’s the right challenge for them, the more likely they are to be successful and then not successful and then want to get better and continue to play. It’s just like the cycle in real life. The thing with sports is that it scratches that competitive itch that everyone has. For sports games developers, it’s about instilling the need to beat someone else. It’s not about who’s good and who’s bad, it’s about who’s good and who’s great.”

Connecting players to the real world with new technology

“The more you can connect to real life the better. The fact that we have games that respond to what’s happening in real world sports in real time is exciting. The fact that a mobile game knows that you’re at a stadium or near a stadium and what town you're in and what team is popular there is exciting. The more you can personalize the experience and connect your players to the real world, the better. For example, rather than matching players with someone that is just like them, you can match players with someone that’s near them or in the same stadium.

I love to see the amount of technology coming into sports because that gives us more opportunities to connect, such as in simulation, VR. I’m also really excited about digital media and gaming coming together.”

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