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Zattikka's Matt Spall

Company's product development head talks digital monetisation models and the iPhone gold rush

For a company that was only formed this year, online and mobile gaming network Zattikka has made some bold moves. Last month the firm acquired Gimme5Games, gaining its development team and gaming portals in the process. Shortly afterwards, it revealed investment had been secured from Atomico Ventures - money that would be used to fast-track the fledgling firm's growth.

As Zattikka prepares to stamp its name across flash gaming communities and a range of digital and mobile platforms, Matt Spall, founder of Gimme5Games and now Zattikka's head of product development tells us how the company plans to do things - the best models for digital, why the PSPgo is looking attractive and why monetisation methods need to be less "grotesque".

GamesIndustry.biz First off, could you give us an overview of the Zattikka business - its aims and where it is at the moment?
Matt Spall

I'm coming very much from the product side of the business, so this is my viewpoint from that side. Right now, the focus of the company is kind of two-fold - they're very closely connected to each other. We are producing game content that's specifically designed for online and downloadable play - so no focus on retail or boxes or any of that. But what's important for the business is that we take a very joined up approach.

One of the things that I did - the focus in the last few years - was to make sure that we produced product in the market space that expects that sort of product. So you don't produce a cartoon-based children's game for a market that's predominantly filled up with adults and stuff like that. We're thinking about which formats we take product to. What that means is that the initial approach will be to produce Flash content, initially downloadable and freemium content through the portal and portals that the company is generating. So it bought Gimme5Games, which is a portal that carries a lot of third-party content but also a lot of its own IP content and will continue to produce content in that market but also to then produce portals and places to go for different sectors of the market space.

Gimme5Games is a very family-focused site so that means you can't have very violent products on there, or stuff with bad language, or questionable content. The approach would then be to produce another site, Bad Hed, which we've talked about, which is very much aimed at the blood and guts market, so a younger more male market with darker and more action-orientated content. And then, off the back of those, what we're then looking at is taking the IP and the kind of games we pick up through those services and take them to other content platforms.

GamesIndustry.biz You've just announced you've received investment from Atomico Ventures. What's that money going to be spent on?
Matt Spall

The initial focus on the company is to continue to grow, and what we're doing now, which is to grow the free and premium content online and also to expand into the smartphone markets. So we're already working on a couple of iPhone products and we've got a Blackberry game on the way.

GamesIndustry.biz Do you know if that growth is going to be fuelled by further acquisitions? (Spall's own company, Gimme5Games was Zattikka's first purchase last month)
Matt Spall

Yes, beyond the blend of videogame and internet platform and mobile stuff that we're working on right now the company is targeting a fast-track growth through acquisition long term.

GamesIndustry.biz And are you currently working with third-parties outside of Zattikka?
Matt Spall

Yes, that's one of the things that we do through Gimme5. Gimme5 has a kind of internal remit to release a game every week and there's no way we can do that through internal. So what we're doing is that we have a traffic growth strategy that's around distribution of existing content, so we go out and we work with a lot of developers that we've got relationships with from the past, look at the products they're working on now and then sign up through a sponsorship system. The strategy is to release a game weekly in order to grow the profile and the traffic of the site.

GamesIndustry.biz You mentioned you're also looking to put IPs onto other mobile formats. Are there any ones that stand out as most exciting for the company? Are you looking to bring products onto iPhone for instance?
Matt Spall

Oh yes, we've got iPhone games in development now that are built on the IP that we already own. This is where the very joined up strategy comes in, in that as we release product online we'll look to release on complimentary formats. It's the classic videogame strategy of releasing multiformat games so when you market it once, you're marketing it for multiple formats anyway.

The iPhone, obviously, is the most exciting right now. In relation to digital formats the PSPgo is very interesting but it's yet to prove its market space. Similarly DSiWare. We're not ignoring them, we just haven't had time to look at them yet – our focus has been on iPhone and we've also started looking very closely at Blackberry, because there's so many of the things. But again, it's about being very careful about what games you put on what format. There's no point doing a cutesy platform game for the Blackberry market because they just don't want it, they don't get it.

GamesIndustry.biz You mentioned PSPgo – so you're going to be keeping an eye on what level of popularity Minis achieve?
Matt Spall

Absolutely. The thing about the PSPgo and the PSP market is there are 50 million PSPs. The PSPgo isn't a new format, it's an extension of the PSP brand. It just doesn't have a UMD drive in it. You get your games on PSP the same way you do on PSPgo.

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