It should come as no surprise that the online gaming market is exploding. In fact, last year online gaming attracted 28 percent of the total worldwide online population — almost 217 million people!
For a long time gamers were thought of as young guys with glasses and zits playing for 14 hours a day but all that has changed. The market has been embraced much more by women and the age range has expanded from 7 to 107.
Opportunities for product placement as well as experiential branded games are close at hand for us as marketers. Now that games are becoming so prevalent, we’re beginning to see specialized ad networks focused on in-game advertising as an untapped channel. Microsoft and Google have already made acquisitions in the space and start-ups are chomping at the bit.
So to get a better understanding of the gaming space, I had the opportunity to interview Roman Nouzareth the President and CEO of Café.com. Roman is no stranger to online gaming, having successfully founded Boonty, Inc., a leading digital distributor of casual and hardcore games, and ushered in the try-before-you-buy downloadable business model. This time around, his business is focused on entirely new revenue streams – advertising and micro-transactions, or virtual items you buy and use in and around the games. He has a unique perspective on where the online gaming trend is heading.
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Roman is one of the founders of Boonty.com, the worldwide leader in the digital distribution of video games. Boonty offers Internet portals, ISPs, mobile phone operators, advertisers and PC manufacturers a complete solution that combines all areas of expertise needed for a generic video game digital distribution offering, the negotiation and selection of content from publishers, the design and management of a complete e-commerce and downloading platform, online marketing know-how, and a leading role in managing websites’ Games component. Casual and hardcore gamers can thus access a catalogue of over 1500 PC and mobile games for an optimal gaming and purchasing experience.
After successfully being in charge of sales strategy, marketing, and publisher relations in Europe and Asia, Roman is now responsible for the North American market. From Manhattan, Roman also took the Product Management lead for the company in order to design and release the new social gaming site cafe.com. Roman was also a Jury member at the famous advertising Cannes Lion Festival in 2000 and a speaker in various events like CES in Las Vegas. He holds a Law Degree from the University of Paris II Assas and is an investor in several start-ups.