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Scopely CEO on MonopolyGo Longevity, Building IP Portfolio

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Javier Ferreira, Co-CEO, Scopely speaks onstage during the Variety Entertainment & Technology Summit presented by City National Bank at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on September 21, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Variety via Getty Images)

In an industry on track to drive around $400 billion in revenue this year, it might seem fine for gaming companies to let go of the reins every now and then when hit games take off. But Javier Ferreira, co-CEO of Scopely (a mobile-first video game developer) argues that it’s very much a business of planning. He says, “We think of games as forever businesses.”

Ferreira shared his thoughts on best practices for engaging with today’s gaming communities and the best IPs to invest at the “Big Business of Games with Scopely” panel during Variety’s Entertainment & Technology Summit Thursday. The conversation was moderated by Variety Intelligence Platform’s president and chief media analyst Andrew Wallenstein.

“I would speak of Scopely as a games company, not just a mobile games company,” Ferreira says. While the company focuses on developing games for the handheld screen, it doesn’t limit itself. Through intellectual properties like Monopoly which led to its hit-game MonopolyGo. Ferreira claims the game sees over 10 million players a day, a large number driven by “players cooperating to achieve shared goals.”

“Passionate communities deliver long term outcomes,” he says. This way, games can become that “forever business” with strong retention over many years. “We are always looking for a hyper passionate and hyper engaged community that is durable and consistent. Because those are the types of communities that allow us to build a play ecosystem that will last for many, many years,” he adds.

“Everybody really is a gamer today,” Ferreira says in terms of demographic spread. “What we monetize is not the install or access, what we really monetize is engagement. We monetize engagement on a daily basis, over a long period of time and over an incremental basis. So, it’s really about the duration of engagement.” Which is why Scopely is looking at collaborations with IPs from brands like Mattel and Mr. Beast.

Gaming companies like Scopely also have to focus on updating their games in accordance with user feedback. Looking forward he says his team’s “first focus is on our portfolio of live games. We think of them not so much as products but as services.” This means making sure the current service is evolving and continues to be fun and new for players.

“Making a game is not particularly complex,” he adds. “But what is difficult is making a game that engages players for years.”

Watch the full panel above.

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