Q&A with Google’s Global Head of Gaming Partnerships

AllChinaTech News

Sergio Salvador is the Global Head of Gaming Partnerships at Google. He gave a speech at the Going Global Summit at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing on Friday.

After his speech, he shared with AllChinaTech his views on how Google is helpful to international developers, the Chinese game market and virtual reality (VR).

1. What’s Google’s special competitiveness and what are the specific programs Google is initiating to help game developers globally?

Our philosophy is to develop and provide as many products and features as possible to our partners, clients and customers so they can achieve their objectives.

A very important thing for mobile developers, and games developers with whom I mostly engage, is acquiring users. A healthy ecosystem is essential, be it iOS or Android, where there are means of communication between users and developers of the apps.

Many of our products can help our partners deliver their message to users and engage with them, and hopefully take that engagement to the next level in a way where the users are downloading their app of the game.

Another type of tool we offer not only helps retain users, but it also generates revenue from that engagement. We have the mentality that our products will help developers wherever they are and wherever they want to be.

A neon Google sign. (Photo from Baidu)
A neon Google sign. (Photo from Baidu)

2. How do you view the Chinese game market and do you have any advice for Chinese game developers to help them compete in the global market?

I think the short answer to that is go global. I had a presentation today in the Going Global Summit for a very good reason. Going global, however, is very easy to say and a lot more difficult to do.

There is a big world out there, and every country works in an entirely different way. There is an opportunity for any developer to turn their app or game into a global business. We try to figure out ways of helping them to achieve that. Because in many cases, most developers don’t necessarily have the knowledge, tools or ability to go global. So that’s where we come in: we provide help in many different ways including providing advice.

We may just have the experience of some markets that you want to enter. The Chinese market is incredibly dynamic, with a lot of innovation and talent. And that talent and innovation can be supplemented by our knowledge. We offer the right tools and even contacts. The Chinese developers can have a greater chance of succeeding in becoming global.

According to Superdata Research, Japan is the world’s largest market in terms of game numbers. And China is the second, which is seemingly growing much faster. China has a larger population than any other country in the world, and that might be an advantage. In some time in the future, China may become the number one in terms of revenue, and it depends on what local developers in China decide to do.

As I said, that’s why I come here. I see that future amount of talent and innovation. I want to see more Chinese games go global. There are a number of them already making their way. But most of them, in my experience, are from the larger and established companies in the mobile app and mobile game subspace.

But I would love to see more and more games in China succeed outside China.

Sergio Salvador, Google's Global Head of Gaming Partnerships speaking at GMIC in Beijing on Friday. (Photo courtesy of GMIC)
Sergio Salvador, Google’s Global Head of Gaming Partnerships speaking at GMIC in Beijing on Friday. (Photo courtesy of GMIC)

3. How do you view the market potential for developing virtual reality (VR) games and will Google take a lead in VR?

VR is a very exciting technology. For people like me, we almost saw a VR revolution which never happened. I think most of us are very excited but also a little bit wary that we will work this out.

I have an impression that it is about time for VR. What it looks like in the future, no one can really tell. We can sort of figure out what’s going to happen in the next 12 or 18 months. But what changes or what revolution VR will be in several years is difficult to say.

I’m excited that there are a number of companies experimenting and innovating in VR, and Google is one of them. We have seen a lot of experimentation and innovation in different ways. We have comparatively costly devices like HTC Vive and Oculus that require a powerful computer. We have Sony Playstation in the middle place. On the other side of the scale, we have Samsung VR and Google Cardboard that use your smartphone for a VR experience.

So we can see many different things being tried out. As we have been working in games for many years, I have a certain amount of pride that, like in many other cases, games seem to be leading the push for the next steps in VR. That’s very exciting.

If VR is to be successful in reality, the real reality, I think a couple of things will need to happen. That’s where Samsung VR and Google Cardboard can help, because anyone can buy such a device at about USD 20. And VR will also have to be useful in themes that are not necessarily related to games.

Who will take the lead? I imagine it will be years before we see that. I want to say we are doing our part. We have done some innovating and creating for what may become a new platform or a new industry by putting our talent behind our own device, Google Cardboard.

Ultimately, users will decide which product and content is the best. We are going to add some exciting types to my opinion.

AllChinaTech has a media partnership with GMIC. AllChinaTech is a startup media platform dedicated to providing timely news and analysis on the Chinese tech industry in English.

AllTechAsia Staff

AllTechAsia is a startup media platform dedicated to providing the hottest news, data service and analysis on the tech and startup scene of Asian markets in English.

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