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Exclusive Q&A with Alexandre Salem, Global Director of Gaming Partnerships at Huawei

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Exclusive Q&A with Alexandre Salem, Global Director of Gaming Partnerships at Huawei
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We have had an enlightening interview with Alexandre Salem, Global Director of Gaming Partnerships at Huawei.

Here he talks about the Huawei Gaming Ecosystem, how it’s gearing up to challenge the near duopoly Google Playstore and Apple Appstore, and why game developers shouldn’t miss it.

Here is the full text of the interview.

 

Q. Let us begin with a brief introduction to the Huawei Gaming Ecosystem. How does it help to facilitate the ultimate mobile gaming experience for users?

A. AppGallery is the official app distribution platform at Huawei, and the third-largest app marketplace in the world. We’ve designed it as a gateway to some of the latest and most exciting mobile game experiences for consumers.

When we look at the increase in people gaming around the world, it’s clear just how significant a role app marketplaces will have to play. We’re looking at 3.2 billion global gamers by 2023, and from that we’re predicting over two thirds will be on a mobile device.

To drive the global growth that we’re seeing, we provide our developers with the innovative technology they need to create the ultimate gaming experiences for their customers. Developers can integrate with elements of Huawei’s HMS Core for example to harness the unique software and hardware capabilities – all in the name of imagining new gameplay for mobile gamers.

There’s also the choice of integrating with app development tools for different Huawei devices, enabling gamers to switch between a MatePad and a P40, for example, with little effort and an overall seamless and enjoyable experience.

We’re already proud of our reputation for building quality hardware to facilitate a superior gaming experience for users, bringning some really unique gameplay to the table. Take Perfect World Games’ ReEvolve, for example. It’s the first mobile game that you can play on folding screen technology.

We’re also continuously looking to grow the number of mobile games available on AppGallery, with the aim of establishing Huawei as a true powerhouse of mobile gaming. Last year for example we launched a one-stop gaming platform for our more committed gamers called GameCenter, promoting an even richer gaming experience to those interested in exclusive discounts, unique gameplay and an exciting reward scheme. While AppGallery is Huawei’s comprehensive marketplace for all app categories, users who particularly love games can download GameCenter for an end-to-end game service.

 

Q. Could you provide some key stats regarding the number of users, games and developers in the Huawei Gaming Ecosystem currently?

A. AppGallery’s progress is something we’re really excited about. Considering the platform is only three years old in overseas markets, we already have a huge selection of convenient, fun and innovative gaming options to choose from. AppGallery caters to the different interests of its committed mobile gamers, from role-playing, action, MOBA, and MMORPG, to puzzle, turn-based and idle games.

In line with the growth of mobile gaming that we’re seeing more generally, AppGallery is also expanding – there are now 500% more games available on the platform compared to a year ago. Our users are often amongst the first to experience innovative new gameplay from around the world, with launches from the past year including AFK Arena, Asphalt 9: Legends, Clash of Kings and many more.

AppGallery continues to see strong growth in gaming availability, with over 12,000 games available and over 80 million games installed overall. Furthermore, there has been a 100% growth in games revenue in 2020 compared to 2019, and a 120% growth in paying players.

Thanks to the ongoing development of the HMS ecosystem, AppGallery now has 540 million monthly active users. There are 2.7 million registered developers worldwide, 134,000 apps integrated with HMS Core and, in 2020, we saw 384.4 billion app distributions (174 billion more than the previous year) – many of which are attributable to the mobile gaming sector.

 

Q. Huawei AppGallery boldly attempts to challenge the near duopoly of Google Play store and the App Store. What do developers and publishers gain exclusively by choosing AppGallery?

A. Something that sets AppGallery apart from competitors is the close relationship that we have with developers. We work closely with our partners to identify their own aspirations and desires – and not just in the gaming space.

Something that receives a lot of great feedback from developers and mobile users alike is our dedication to technical and marketing support. We implement a “Global + Local” Strategy, designed to help developers utilise our platform. It works both ways, because not only are we supporting smaller developers at the local level, but we’re also providing our diverse global customer base with the most relevant apps and games for them.

We also provide one-stop, full-spectrum operational support for developers worldwide, covering the entire development cycle. From ideation, development, distribution, operation to data analytics for global developers, we’re there to help. And the partnership doesn’t end at launch – we have dedicated teams to provide ongoing business and commercial support.

Building an ecosystem from scratch is something that takes a lot of time – we’ve been working on this for three years and the progress is so exciting. We’ll continue to prioritise our partners, providing them with an opportunity to tap into the competitive mobile market.

Another differentiating benefit we bring to our gaming partners is an in-depth expertise in the Chinese market, the largest in the world in players number and revenue. For the developers interested in penetrating this market, we can bring a suite of tailor-made services to maximize the chances of success.

 

Q. Tell us about the advantages and support that game developers can enjoy as part of the Huawei Ecosystem.

Mobile gaming is a huge market and one that is growing significantly. Something that we advocate for at Huawei is helping developers to get their foot on the ladder and grow within an increasingly competitive space.

With this in mind, we empower local developers with our on-the-ground support. We now have five global developer centres in Romania, Egypt, Mexico, Malaysia and Russia. We also have three ecosystem labs in Germany, Poland and Russia, as well as over 20 online Huawei Developer Day (HDD) events throughout the year. Developers can also utilise the seven DigiX Lab Innovation laboratories – they’re based in Dublin, Moscow, Düsseldorf, Mexico, Dubai, Johannesburg and Singapore. Here, developers can access real machine debugging, development capability experiences and other tools and guidance.

Our collaboration with developers doesn’t stop when a game is on-boarded in AppGallery. Our goal is to support gaming developers in attracting, converting and retaining as many players as possible. We don’t hesitate to roll up our sleeves alongside our gaming partners to run co-marketing campaigns to boost games discoverability.

 

Q. What are the options for monetization and the advertisement support that publishers can enjoy as part of the Huawei Ecosystem?

A. Something that we’re passionate about at Huawei is aligning our partners’ business development goals with the tools they need to achieve them. There are a variety of different HMS Core Kits that developers can choose to integrate with to harness the unique software and hardware capabilities we have on offer.

This includes the Huawei Ads Kit which empowers developers to create high-quality and personalized ads within their apps. Alongside the easy-to-use Publisher Service, developers can work seamlessly with third-party advertising and tracking platforms to monitor ad success. We also have a range of platforms to encourage our partners to boost their revenue, from the traffic monetization platform − a one-stop platform for developers to earn more − to advertising identifiers and conversion attributions.

In a nutshell, we provide a flexible set of services for gaming developers to fit their business models, whether they monetize through IAP, ads, premium paid games or a mix of those revenue streams.

 

Q. Could you enlighten us on the user data protection measures that Huawei has taken to ensure that the personal information of users is not compromised? This is probably an area where even the biggest companies on the internet have an inconsistent record.

A. AppGallery has a full-cycle security and protection system, including developer real-name verification, a four-step review process, download and installation protection as well as a prevention mechanism for secure app operation. Protecting user privacy and security is something that we take very seriously.

In addition to ensuring that all default apps fully comply with privacy compliance requirements, EMUI provides permit management, notification management, audio/video reminders, location service management and other privacy settings for apps, giving users visibility and control over their permissions.

Huawei has also established local data storage in six regional centres and 15 data centres worldwide. Complying with the localized service distribution and deployment policy, personal information is encrypted and stored in the area to which the user belongs. For example, Huawei stores all European user data in Germany, where rules and regulations call for the highest standards of user privacy.

To further ensure the safety of our users, we have implemented an age rating system globally, which intelligently blocks non-age-appropriate content according to user settings to provide a safe and healthy application environment for underage users.

 

Q. Huawei is betting big on the Internet of Things (IoT). How do you think the IoT is going to make its mark in the gaming sector? 

A. In two years’, time, we expect to see 2.6 billion gamers streaming and competing together on mobile devices. The IoT is another area where we have a reputation for taking the lead and driving an industrial-scale digital transformation. Through our all-scenario, modular solutions, we’ll ensure that our mobile gamers have access to the smoothest possible gameplay experience.

In the next few years, we expect to see gamers having access to an increasing number of smart devices and wanting to play their favourite games in a frictionless manner across those devices. Let’s imagine the following user journey: a gamer might receive a notification on their smart watch reminding them to a play the next shooter game level. They might pass a few levels during the commute to work on a smartphone, and continue playing at home on a tablet, before competing with friends on a smart TV over the weekend. This type of cross-device and cross-platform gameplay will require developers to evolve their game development practices.  It will mean that we need to bring hardware and software making this “omni-channel gaming” possible.

 

Q. Finally, what are Huawei’s major initiatives in the near future to deliver the ultimate mobile gaming experience?

A. Our top priority remains our users – we’ll continue to provide them with access to the best, most relevant mobile games in the world. There are a number of unique ways in which we’re able to do this. For example, we listen to our global customers’ needs through Wishlist – a tool that AppGallery users can use to recommend an app that they’d like to see available on the platform.

We also have staff dedicated to reading users’ feedback in Wishlist and analysing apps with the most votes. This allows us to prioritise the most wanted apps and ensure that consumer appeal is addressed, so that AppGallery is adapting to the fast-changing mobile app landscape.

We are also keeping in mind gamers needs and preferences when we design and launch new hardware on the market. I am extremely excited about our line-up of smartphones, smart TVs, connected watches and other devices and I am intimately convinced that this hardware ecosystem will bring the gaming experience to a new level.

Looking at the growth that the gaming industry has seen this year alone, it’s our mission to ensure that Huawei remains at the forefront of mobile gaming.

Baltics

In gaming culture, phones are replacing computers: “Charge your dopamine for the whole day in 5 minutes”

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It is common to think that gaming culture and its best experiences are only associated with computers and consoles. However, the gaming environment has changed significantly over the past few years. Once considered quite niche, mobile devices have now become the dominant force in gaming. Games on smartphones now account for more than half (according to Statista, 51%) of the global gaming market revenue.

According to one of Lithuania’s most famous gaming community members and the country’s most popular streamer, Karolis Jankauskas (“LTU Republic”), whose broadcasts are followed by more than 130,000 followers on the “Twitch” channel, we are living in a time of transformation.

User engagement and the number of game downloads illustrate that gaming culture is rapidly migrating to phones. Do you think it is starting to catch up with traditional gaming among true enthusiasts?

In the Baltics, events for games with mobile devices are just beginning to be organized, but the number of interested participants and their level of engagement is rapidly growing. Observing this activity, we can assume that gaming culture on phones can not only match but in some cases even surpass the traditional one.

We used to have many various popular consoles and other devices — from “GameBoy” to “PSP.” Now, the experiences they created are also available on phones. Does gaming on a smartphone match the quality of gaming on consoles? How is the gaming community reacting to these technological changes?

Comparing mobile games and gaming on consoles or computers is quite difficult. I would say it’s like comparing a car to a motorcycle. Both move, but one offers more entertainment, excitement, and emotional experiences, while the other offers more practicality.

A similar situation exists with gaming devices. You could say that smartphones have worse graphics or a more superficial gameplay experience, but their simplicity and pace open up a completely different gaming experience. Additionally, they are accessible anywhere and anytime. You don’t have to play only at home.

Currently, true gamers who play on consoles or computers don’t yet consider themselves in the same category as mobile device players. However, I think this attitude will change over time.

At the end of May, you invite your community to meet at the “Brawl Stars” mobile game tournament “Gaming tournament by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.” Is it true that this is a gaming phenomenon? It is already estimated that “Brawl Stars”

downloads have exceeded 500 million. What is the secret of its popularity? How does this mobile game already have its own e-sports team today?

“Brawl Stars” stands out with its brilliantly designed combination. The game is extremely simple, and its concept is very straightforward. Defeat your opponent, and you will be the best. And the matches are super fast. You can play 3-5 matches in 5 minutes and charge your dopamine for the whole day. This is probably the main secret of the game’s success. Plus, there are various game accessories and special events that are very engaging.

Additionally, these are the reasons why this mobile game has its own e-sports team. It is competitive and easily understandable to a wide audience.

What will make the upcoming tournament of this game different from others?

For the gaming community, this “Gaming tournament by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra” is relevant because it gives us an impression of how many people are engaged in gaming with smart devices. “Brawl Stars” players have a unique opportunity to test themselves against the best players. Participants are also motivated by the impressive prize—a “Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra”.

In the qualifications and selections, players will play in teams of two, and in the finals, the teams will be changed—the players who make it will be assigned one of the Lithuania’s famous content creators participating in the event. This should add a lot of intrigue and excitement, as it will show how well the best players can communicate with content creators who may not be as good in the game as they are.

More and more gaming-oriented phones are being introduced to the market. For example, the new “Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra”. How do they help the culture of gaming on phones grow? Can a phone even influence game results?

Just like athletes or racers need the best equipment or gear, a powerful phone gives a player an advantage. The fewer technical issues you have in the game, the faster you can progress.

Meet the most famous gamers

All gaming enthusiasts and professionals will have the opportunity to experience the best gaming moments on May 24-26 in Vilnius at the largest popular culture event in the Baltic States, “Comic Con Baltics powered by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.”

The “Gaming tournament by Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra” will take place at the impressive “Galaxy AI” booth. Here, visitors will also meet K. Jankauskas (“LTU Republic”), Simas Anužis (“Svarbeuse dariti”), Edvisss, and other famous players in the Baltics. There will be an opportunity to get up close with the most advanced “Samsung” smart devices, discover new opportunities that innovative “Galaxy AI” artificial intelligence features open up for gaming.

At the beginning of this year, “Samsung” was the first to offer its users a smartphone with artificial intelligence features. These change many ways of using and controlling the phone, as well as the habits users have adopted until now. At the event, you will have the opportunity to get acquainted with and try out AI features such as “Search by highlighting,” “Photo editing,” “Notes assistance,” “Live translation,” “Chat assistance,” and others.

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Gaming

Dr. Shocker set to prove an ‘electrifying game’ from Galaxsy

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Galaxsys continues to light-up the game’s vertical with the release of its electrifying game, Dr. Shocker, a thrilling action-packed game.

Main Release

Galaxsys, a games studio that creates high-energy games preferred by players who enjoy quick wins and something unique, is gearing up for its next major game release, Dr. Shocker, which will be available on the web and mobile.

”Dr. Shocker’ offers a thrilling, fast-paced experience where players connect electric cables to win. The ”doctor” in question is the game’s central character, who busily tries to connect electrical cables without being ”shocked”. The aim of the game is to win with the highest possible odds, and the electricity running towards the cables is electrifying!

Vigen Safaryan, Chief Product Officer of Galaxsys, commented, “We are always looking to make our games fun, engaging, relevant, and authentic around a central relatable character such as Dr. Shocker. It won’t come as a shock that this game includes all our key player engagement features, such as the Bonus Game, Auto Bet, Buy Bonus and 3 Bonus modes enjoyed by casino players.

This new turbo game not only expands our reach but also enriches the gaming experience for players. It has the potential to become a star in our portfolio, much like Ninja Crash, which recently won the ‘Most Played Game’ award in Latin America. Galaxsys is focused on our commitment to expanding our games, ensuring players always have access to the most exciting gaming experiences.”

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Baltics

The best European gamers will meet in Vilnius: global tournaments and the latest technology presentations

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As Lithuania increasingly finds itself in the spotlight of the global gaming community, country’s gamers can once again rejoice at significant news. Lithuania will host “Trackmania World Tour” stage. With this news, it is planned that 24th to 26th of May, in Vilnius the “Baltics Gaming Expo” will bring together the best gamers from across Europe and the world.

International tournaments and showcase battles

“We love to play, and we’re really good at it at the highest level. This is the second year that the “Baltics Gaming Expo” will gather video game enthusiasts and professionals from all around Europe. If last year, 29,000 participants and visitors came to participate or watch tournaments, explore the latest technologies, and try out newly released games, this year, we expect even bigger growth. After all, we have some special news – the “Trackmania” game tournament at the event is included in the global rankings. In other words, all the best players are coming to Vilnius”, says Šarūnas Tamulis, one of the organizers of the “Baltics Gaming Expo”.

Players from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, Latvia, and other countries will participate in the global ranking tournament. Among the participants will be representatives from Lithuania.

The largest gaming and technology event in the Baltic States will also feature “Counter Strike”, “Valorant”, “Rocket League”, “League of Legends”, and other international tournaments.

“There will also be special showcase battles. The best players and streamers in the country will meet on the main stage and compete playing “Counter Strike” and “Valorant”, the organizer says.

From famous streamers’ to retro games

In the gaming community, it’s popular to watch other players remotely broadcast their matches via social networks (game-streaming). Streamers are like opinion leaders, whose popularity and influence grow every day.

“To the delight of our community, the very popular streamer AnnieFuchsia will also attend the event. She has gathered half a million followers on her Twitch channel alone. For those interested, we will create an opportunity to participate in a discussion with the gamer, get answers to significant questions, or even get a photo together”, says Š. Tamulis.

Attendees of the event will also be able to enjoy a space dedicated to exceptional retro games. It will feature dozens of classic arcade games from the 80s and 90s.

“The technology giant “Samsung”, has prepared special activations for the visitors. At the largest “Galaxy AI” stand, you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with the latest artificial intelligence news and try them out on smart devices. There will also be a special “Brawlstars” tournament at the stand, where well-known content creators and enthusiasts of this game from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia will meet. The winner will receive the latest “Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra” phone”, the organizer presents.

A weekend for popular culture

The “Baltic Gaming Expo” will take place during “Comic Con Baltics 2024 powered by Samsung,” the largest popular culture event in the Baltic States. From May 24th to 26th, “LITEXPO” will turn into a universe of popular culture.

Fans will have the chance to meet stars from iconic Hollywood projects. Among them are actors from the “Harry Potter” films Natalia Tena and Devon Murray, “Marvel” film actor Sean Gunn, “Highlander” actor Adrian Paul, actress Natasha Halevi, internet comic stars Rob DenBleyker of “Cyanide&Happiness,” “Natural Habitat Shorts,” “Nobody Sausage,” and Nathan W. Pyle, creator of “Strange Planet” comics.

The event will also feature the largest cosplay competition in the Baltic States, premieres of the latest films, presentations, and discussions, an interactive family space, the “Artists’ Alley,” which annually unites around a hundred popular culture artists, a space for vendors offering many curiosities, impressive decorations from the most famous films and series worldwide, and many other attractions.

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