Google’s “game developer advocate” Mark Deloura has announced on his web blog that he has officially left Google this past Monday, August 23.
He announces this less than a week after he announced the details surrounding Google Web Chrome Store, just a week before at GDC-Europe.
Coincidence? I think not.
Gamezebo covered the Google’s Web Chrome Store news and I personally proclaimed that Google could be on the verge of changing the world of casual games, with games downloads included.
In his presentation, Mr. Deloura stated that Google would only take a 5% revenue share cut from game developers, meaning they would make virtually no money on the sale of any game played through the browser (since credit card fees alone are at least 2.5%).
This is big news is that Google is still the biggest (or one of, I have not looked at the numbers lately and it’s changing with Facebook’s and Baidu in China’s ascendancies) Web site in the world and they can drive a tremendous amount of game plays and sales on its own.
It’s bigger news when you realize that now Facebook and Apple will be forced within a year to respond. Both take 30% cut now from their game offerings, but both are increasingly going after Google’s bread and butter, it’s advertising revenue stream. If Google sells games for 5% (and it would not just be Chrome, it would also be Google Me social network and perhaps Android), Facebook and Apple may have to follow suit and drop from a 30% to a 5% cut and focus entirely on making money off of advertising. This really could shake casual games on the app, mobile, downloads, and social sides to the core.
If this was Google’s intention, that is. My first reaction when I heard Google planned to take only a 5% cut for Google Chrome Web Store is that this is so crazy that it must have been said in error. My second reaction was that this is so crazy it is genius.
Now that the speaker, Mark DeLoura, has left Google a week after giving this presentation, suggests it was a mistake.
Make no mistake about this. As anyone who has worked in a big corporation knows, you announce something this big across the world thousands of miles away from headquarters with no public relations backing – this was not planned.
The question is what was the error? Did Google’s former game developer advocate err in announcing the details last week? Or was the mistake that the 5% cut off of revenue sales was not officially decided yet, and that is the reason he is leaving.
From an industry point of view, it does not matter. Now that Google has announced the 5% cut, there is no way they back down from it. To do so would make them look disorganized and be bad for business. Can you imagine having to send an email out to the thousands of game developers now developing for Google Web Chrome Store that says “sorry, we are really taking 30%.” No way that happens.
5% is the new 30% in the games world after last week. If Google is not sure about this, surely Apple and Facebook will be soon.
The questions are what is next for Mark Deloura and Google’s game efforts. Mark’s a sharp guy so I assume he’ll end up landing somewhere good or maybe start his own company to take advantage of Google Web Chrome Store (with his knowledge of what it’s going to be about, he has an advantage to develop on it).
Ironically, in this blog post, Mr. Deloura provides even more detail about Google Web Chrome Store as he describes it in detail. It’s very technical but if you are a techie and/or curious, it’s an interesting read.
Regardless of the intrigue surrounding Mr. Deloura leaving Google a week after announcing details on Google’s biggest push into gaming so far, that fact remains that the Web Chrome Store and it’s 5% revenue cut is among the biggest news to happen to games so far this year.
No matter what happens next, Google can't close its eyes and wish the presentation in Germany never happened.