Video Coverage

Ken Asakura on Party Track | Casual Connect Video

August 20, 2013 — by Catherine Quinton


At Casual Connect in San Francisco, Ken Asakura opened his presentation on Asia Expansion: Mobile Trends and User Acquisition Strategies in Japan and Korea by exclaiming, “Self publishing in Asia is possible!”


Opening Doors and Finding Gamers in Asia

Ken Asakura is General Manager of Adways Interactive, specialists in mobile app distribution and user acquisition with 80 percent of their clients in the gaming industry. Adways Interactive’s home company, Adways Inc., runs the largest CPI ad network in Asia. Adways has a proven track record of helping Western developers succeed overseas.

Announcing “Party Track: User Acquisition Analytics for Games”

Aside from distribution, Adways Interactive has been hard at work developing a powerful analytics platform. At Casual Connect USA, they announced the launch of Party Track, a user acquisition analytics tool for games. Party Track enables game developers to discover where their most valuable players are coming from. Utilizing a single SDK and reporting dashboard, Party Track enables developers and advertisers to accurately track, attribute, measure and compare all of their UA campaigns and their impact on user acquisition, retention, in-app engagement, ROI and life-time-value(LTV).

Party Track has been in closed beta, working with the likes of Square Enix and Namco Bandai, and is now officially ready for launch. Ken is responsible for all business decisions for Adways Interactive, including product management for Party Track.

Adways’ app UA measurement tool, Party Track.

Change is the Constant

In terms of mobile user acquisition, I think it’s impossible to predict the future because the industry changes so quickly. Who knows what’s next?

As Ken looks toward the future in the gaming industry, he contends, “In terms of mobile user acquisition, I think it’s impossible to predict the future because the industry changes so quickly. 2011 was the year for Tapjoy and incentivized CPI networks. 2012 was the year of non-incentivized CPI networks such as Chartboost. Now it’s all about Facebook. Who knows what’s next? I believe when the mobile industry matures, it will become more like PC.” He considers that OS will become 65 percent Android and 25 percent iOS, as iOS takes their share of premium users and the remainder use Android. He also sees this becoming the most accessible global market ever, with content providers from South America shipping contents to Asian consumers within hours of release. Why? Because mobile is affordable and Apple and Google have become a global gateway for all. In his opinion, the primary internet interface for 95 percent of people will be on mobile sooner than expected.

He believes many fragmented rules and standards, and particularly privacy issues, must be settled as this globalization occurs. He sees brands becoming more active in providing content and increasing spends on mobile advertising.

His final suggestion is directed to Google and Android – “PLEASE accelerate UX optimization for GooglePlay!”

Establishing a Company 101: Teamwork is Everything  

“Go with your gut feeling… not what your supervisor says.”

Ken believes the most important emphasis for his company is to build an energetic and motivated team. He has been able to form a well balanced team, which is a critical aspect of meeting their clients’ needs. Leading this team with optimism and a willingness to take action is what energizes him in his everyday work.

Ken tells us the greatest learning curve in his career occurred when he signed a highly lucrative deal which indirectly victimized another entity. He is determined to ensure that this never happens in the future. The most important thing he learned from this unfortunate experience was, “Go with your gut feeling… not what your supervisor says.”

About Ken Asakura

Ken considers his analytical proficiency as his main strength, which is undoubtedly a tremendous asset in his varied responsibilities. However, work is not the only emphasis in his life. In his spare time, he enjoys golf and is currently studying Business Management at UC Berkley. He is also passionate about music and appreciates many different genres including rock, hip hop, electro and house.

Video Coverage

Square Enix’s Antony Douglas on new challenges in mobile gaming and creating worlds for the smartphone

February 8, 2013 — by Catherine Quinton


Antony Douglas is responsible for Square Enix Europe’s mobile development and publishing business across smartphone and tablet. He has profit and loss responsibility for the creation, production and commercial sales of internal and external IPs, working internationally across the Square Enix Europe studio group and 3rd party development. Douglas has spent over ten years in mobile content; prior to Square Enix, he was Telefonica O2 UK’s Head of Content and European Director for Korean mobile game pioneers Com2uS.

Antony Douglas was inspired to enter the video game industry because of his desire for creativity. He likes the people who want to evolve with a way of creating something of value for people, but feels that the video game industry is the hardest business in the world because you don’t know what people will enjoy. The challenge is to create something people will take to their hearts; something that people value and that has meaning to their lives. And, although it is tough, the challenge can also be fun.

The challenge is to create something people will take to their hearts; something that people value and that has meaning to their lives. And, although it is tough, the challenge can also be fun.

Bringing Mobile Gaming to Square Enix

Douglas is responsible for finding ways to weave mobile into the world of the big game titles that Square Enix has traditionally produced. He believes that more and more core gamers will be playing on their tablets and smartphones because technology is developing to meet their expectations. Along with the growing demand for mobile technology, gamers desire more from the games themselves. To meet this expectation, he has learned to be respectful of the game and its meaning. “You have to understand what the game is about and what it means to people, says Douglas, “And then you have a blueprint to start creating a smartphone version of that world.”

Douglas tells us that although the company’s headquarters are in Japan, at Square Enix Europe, they run their own contact program and brands. They set up an operating business that ran itself and gave a guide to western tastes. Although they share ideas with their counterparts in Japan and have an excellent relationship, they are culturally very different, and it is essential to be aware of those differences. It is necessary to study the different brands and determine how they will appeal to the different customers.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is available on multiple platforms, including iOS. It is one example of what it means to bring familiar, big-title worlds to mobile.

Building the Team

According to Douglas, the key to succeeding in his area of responsibility is the ability to build and manage a good team. He emphasizes the need to find strong talent and put the right people in the right role. He says, “I don’t attempt to tell them what they should be doing; they should be coming to me with ideas. I learn from them on a daily basis because mobile is changing hourly.”

The team Douglas has developed is diverse, with people coming from countries such as Poland and Lithuania. They all have different skills and interests, but share a common interest in games and communicate with the language of games. As Douglas says, “Games is the prism with which we see our world.” So, despite differing skills and backgrounds, the team works well together.

The Maturing of Casual and Social Gaming

“Games is the prism with which we see our world.”

Douglas emphasizes the importance of understanding the free-to-play business model for gaming. Game design elements that suit this concept and effective ways of creating economies in the game are essential. Not only do you have to create a great game, you also have to be sure to avoid letting monetization ruin the game; these should be side-by-side aspects. And, as Douglas says, “It’s not a launch and forget mentality.” It is critical to continue updating and servicing the game.

Square Enix is examining its established properties for mobile development. Look forward to a few familiar faces to appear on smartphone tablets soon.