Playing the game

Mobile games studio Neon Play started in May 2010 and already forecasts revenues of £2 million for the next year of trading. SmallBusiness.co.uk talks to founder Oli Christie.

Where did you get the idea?

I spent the previous 11 years as a creative director of two digital marketing agencies and in my time there I had made over 200 viral flash games for clients. I was frustrated that even if they did really well and got millions of hits, you were only paid a fixed fee by the client, with no additional reward for success. When the iPhone came along people started making good money out of small casual games and I thought I could take my knowledge and monetise the games through this portal.

What are Neon Play’s revenue streams?

There are three main areas, paid apps, free apps supported by advertising and, most recently, freemium games where players pay only for in-app purchases – features that enhance the playability of the game. Only a small percentage of people actually provide the revenue for that but the download numbers are a lot bigger, and they support adverts too.

How was it financed and marketed?

I funded the project myself from savings. In terms of marketing, we teamed up with Miniclip.com to promote our original offering, a football game, which really took off; it was a fantastic launch platform. Now, the cross-promotion between our games is key. When we launch a new offering we display in-game dynamic banners which we can change at the flick of a switch to the latest game. Social media is important for us too, with 50,000 followers of our games on Facebook.

What’s next for Neon Play?

We’re going to carry on making more games on iOS for Apple devices. We’re also going cross-platform, primarily to Android so we are working closely with Amazon in the US and Google to get our best games onto Android, and we’re also looking at working with nokia blackberry and facebook so people can play our games on all mobile devices.

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