Today’s guest on the For Your Innovation Podcast is Andrew Paradise, CEO and Founder of Skillz Inc., a publicly traded company and mobile games platform that connects players and developers, enabling competitive social games. ARK analysts, Nick Grous and Andrew Kim, are discussing with Andrew Paradise his thoughts on the mobile gaming market, the technology stack necessary for mobile gaming platforms, monetization of mobile gamers, the importance of social experiences within and outside of games, and the rise of casual and professional esports.
The Skillz platform hosts billions of casual esports tournaments for millions of mobile players globally and distributes millions in prizes each month. Prior to Skillz, Andrew founded AisleBuyer LLC, a provider of mobile self-checkout and in-store mobile payment solutions for retailers. We begin with Andrew’s background as an avid video gamer throughout his childhood to the founding of Skillz in 2012. We discuss historical trends in mobile gaming and its market size, and we share our predictions for the future opportunities of mobile gaming. Andrew dives into the main issues he saw within the mobile gaming market when he founded Skillz, and he focuses on the need to detect and prevent cheating and fraud on video games, employment of robust data science and algorithms, and smarter ways to monetize users via in-app purchases and targeted advertisements. He also shares his thoughts on the technological differences in employing anti-cheat and anti-fraud measures across different video game formats, including synchronous one-on-one, asynchronous one-on-one, and multiplayer. We delve further into the in-game advertising market, and Andrew shares additional commentary on Skillz’s acquisition of Aarki, Inc. Finally, we discuss the rising importance of developer communities, social experiences within and outside of gaming platforms, and ever-growing demand for esports, both as players and audiences. We conclude with open-ended thoughts on the future of the video game market as a whole. Enjoy the podcast!
Key Points From This Episode:
- Andrew’s background, experience, and founding of Skillz, Inc.
- The landscape of mobile gaming from the founding of Skillz in 2012 to today and his projections for the near future.
- The importance of employing anti-cheat and anti-fraud measures within social and competitive gaming.
- The economic moat provided by real-time statistical detection of cheating and matchmaking optimization.
- Consumer trends and market opportunities of one-on-one games vs. larger multiplayer formats.
- Different ways Skillz monetizes its platform beyond entry fees.
- In-app purchasing on Skillz vs. the average mobile app and the current landscape of in-app advertising.
- Commentary on the acquisition of Aarki, Inc., a demand-side platform (DSP).
- The evolution of developer communities on Skillz and future developer-oriented strategies.
- The social aspects of gaming both on the platform and off the platform.
- The rise of esports spectating, strategies to target the esports community, and differences in consumer behavior between casual and professional esports.
- A bird’s eye view of the entire gaming market from arcades to the future of Skillz.