Jessica Sachs, Director of Developer Relations at Big Fish Games, joined the company almost by accident, or perhaps it was fate. Her ambition was to become an archaeologist, and she was looking for a way to finance attending the University of Edinburgh Master’s program in Medieval Archaeology. She was overjoyed to get a job at Big Fish as Manager, Developer Relations, where she could not only earn the money she needed, but also do it by playing games and traveling the world. “I had no idea at the time that the job would turn out to be one of the most exciting and important experiences of my life,” she says, “Obviously Big Fish changed my mind about becoming an archaeologist.”
Since 2006, when Sachs joined Big Fish, she has seen the industry drawn to an exciting new opportunity on almost an annual basis. Unfortunately, not all these new opportunities have proven to be positive. “The last year has seen revenue hardships, but Big Fish, and developers working with Big Fish, have continued to make money,” Jessica states, “We believe strongly in the viability of the PC market, with 1.4 billion PC users worldwide, and are also optimistic about the mobile market, particularly Android and iOS.” Sachs believes the best opportunity will lie in maintaining revenue on PC and mobile while expanding into new business models and forms of content delivery.
“Succeeding with casual games requires developing great content that resonates with the end users,” says Sachs, “Big Fish has a large base of customers who are very forthcoming about what they want in games and what features, or lack of features, deter them from purchasing a game.” During her session, Sachs took the audience through features customers love and features customers hate, using examples from some of the top studios partnered with Big Fish of both successes and failures, showing how they learned to make great games.
Public speaking comes as a pleasant surprise
“I was pretty surprised,” Sachs remembers, “When the Big Fish executive team asked me to represent the company on a talk show.” The first talk show segment she did was for a show called The Balancing Act on the Lifetime Network, which aired November 24, 2011. “It meant a lot that Paul [Paul Thelen, Big Fish founder and CEO] trusted me to represent the company on national television.” Since that time, she has represented Big Fish on eight talk show segments as well as speaking at several industry events.
Loyal Customers, innovation in delivery
“Big Fish holds an important place in the games industry ecosystem as the world’s largest casual games marketplace,” Sachs explains, “They have a large and loyal customer base who love the content they provide to all the platforms they support, including PC/Mac, Mobile, Retail and Smart TVs through Big Fish Unlimited, their cloud gaming program.” According to Sachs, Big Fish also supports many platforms and offers business models that include transactions, subscriptions, virtual goods and advertising, making it an excellent option for game developers.
“Big Fish is moving into the future of content delivery with Big Fish Unlimited, its cloud gaming service. Big Fish Unlimited will be able to take premium casual games to new devices, such as Smart TVs, and to markets where previously piracy had been a significant problem, for example, China and Korea,” Sachs states, “Services like Big Fish Unlimited will carry the industry into the future and lead to the next opportunity.”