Interview: Asmodee Digital's Philippe Dao On Playdek Partnership14 Feb 2018 3
Asmodee Digital has been making waves in the digital boardgame space, from partnerships with Nomad Games, to bringing the LOTR LCG to digital with Fantasy Flight Game’s new development studio. Now they’ve partnered with mobile legends Playdek to do some heavy lifting for four of their iconic titles.
We managed to get some time with Phillippe Dao, Chief Commercial & Marketing Officer for Asmodee Digital, to ask some questions about this new endeavour…
Pocket Tactics: One of our readers expressed a mild confusion as to not really knowing where the line is between ‘publishing’ and ‘developing’. While this new partnership news is great, the games in question have already been out for a while, so what specifically will Asmodee’s role be as the new custodians of these titles?
Will your partnership enable additional dev work? More expansions for Ascension or Summoner Wars, perhaps?
Philippe Dao: Playdek’s main role will consist in developing new content for all the games included in the current partnership. This means upgrading with new extensions for the Playdek games. A new interface for including Asmodee Digital’s proprietary features like cross-promotion, single sign-in, player clock, etc.
Asmodee Digital will take the responsibility of publishing and marketing the games from now on. Publishing means the discoverability of the games on each app store and setting up pricing and promotions. Marketing will encompass communication with players and reaching out to new customers on social media, through direct marketing and partnerships with influencers.
Pocket Tactics: Why Playdek? And Why these titles specifically?
Philippe Dao: Playdek has brought digital adaptations of iconic board games to the digital stores which fit perfectly with Asmodee Digital’s catalogue. Integrating games like Ascension, Summoner Wars, Agricola and Twilight Struggle definitively make our catalogue even more compelling and attractive.
Pocket Tactics: I know many people would be excited by the possibility of Playdek’s version of Agricola moving over to Android. Does this deal allow you to port these games to new platforms?
Philippe Dao: At this stage [Playdek's] Agricola remains available only on iOS, although this doesn’t exclude the possibility for the development of a new version which then would be available on all platforms.
Pocket Tactics: Are Asmodee interested in any of Playdek’s other titles? Obviously, the current deal is clear as to which titles it covers, but would you want to expand to the others at some point?
Philippe Dao: It is very possible new games will be added to our agreement.
Pocket Tactics: Who now owns the games outlined in this deal – Playdek still, or Asmodee Digital?
Philippe Dao: Playdek remains the developer while Asmodee Digital is now the publisher of these 4 games.
Pocket Tactics: Asmodee Digital has been expanding its reach in terms of digital boardgames. What’s your opinion on the digital market compared to the physical one?
Philippe Dao: We are very confident in the growth of digital board games, be these on mobile or on PC or even on console. Our latest market research shows digital board games steadily gain popularity across all app stores.
According to App Annie the board game category on iOS and Google Play grew by 36% in volume in 2017. We count a couple of hundreds of digital board games available on mobile and on PC for instance.
Moreover, there is a virtuous circle when adapting a board game for digital. Digital games and physical games are related but distinct in many key ways. Recently, one of the most exciting developments we saw after announcing The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game was a resurgence in interest in the table top game. We’ve seen new players connect with seasoned veterans online and in game stores, and it’s wonderful to watch those communities grow.
Pocket Tactics: Talking hypothetically, is there a ‘wishlist’ of other digital board game developers you’d like to work with? Who can we expect you to target next?
Philippe Dao: Asmodee Digital is always on the lookout for new or existing digital board games to complement our catalogue: our wishlist includes games for all types of audiences: casual, family, expert players, etc. Watch out for our next announcement in March at the Game Developer Conference.
Thanks to Phillippe for taking the time to talk to us!