Trends and challenges in gaming with Brian Corrigan, known for PUBG & Guitar Hero

Jan 25, 2024

In this episode we chat with Brian Corrigan, Chief Scientist at Rocket Science Corporation, renowned for his contributions to gaming classics like PUBG and Guitar Hero and breakdown a wide range of topics like UA and distribution, which platforms and business models are thriving, and the rise of streamers in the gaming industry.

Brian shares insight into a multitude of topics reflecting on the success of mobile games like PUBG and the challenges of choosing the right platform for game development. Our conversation dives into various aspects of the gaming industry, covering the challenges of game discoverability driven by the increasing number of games being published on platforms. We talk about market trends, highlighting the increasing number of players but decreasing revenue per player. We end with some exciting developments in the gaming industry, uncovering the rise of streamers dabbling in game publishing.

About Brian Corrigan:

Brian has over 15 years of experience in the gaming industry and helped make some of the greatest games in the world, like PUBG, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, League of Legends, Fortnite, and Guitar Hero - to name a few. He’s spent time as a CTO, CEO, Strategic Advisor and Investor at amazing companies like Riot Games, Konvoy Ventures, Agora Games, Major League Gaming, MadGlory, and Krafton.

In this episode, you'll learn about:

01:19 - Rocket Science Corporation, what they do, and why the company was started.

02:10 - The types of customers that Rocket Science takes on and what they like to work on.

02:58 - Brian’s favorite and most memorable experiences working in the gaming industry, including work on Guitar Hero, League of Legends and everything Riot Games, and PUBG.

08:46 - The story behind PUBG and the ingredients that drove its massive success.

11:54 - The most essential lessons learned during the development and launch of PUBG. And why it was such a good idea to license the game to Tencent for the mobile version of PUBG.

14:52 - How Brian looks at player and gaming data across different platforms and the trends he sees across the mobile, PC, and Console.

17:27 - Brian’s thoughts on which platforms are most important moving forward and where developers should build to serve their players and make the most revenue, including his thoughts on the emergence of webstore in mobile gaming.

21:19 - The challenge of distribution in PC gaming specifically, and why Steam is considered the predominant platform.

22:11 - The importance of streamers and influencers in the PC gaming space and how influencers have a massive opportunity to step into the Publishing business.

24:13 - Brian’s tactical recommendations on how to approach an Influencer-led GTM strategy with a focus on finding the right influencers while the game is still being developed.

26:46 - The benefit of involving influencers in your play testing and product market fit research and the virtuous cycle that it can produce.

28:11 - The imbalance in the industry between the supply of games and the number of titles that can be sustained by existing publishing opportunities and the overall player demand. Including the resulting challenges like lack of monetization, discoverability and distribution.

29:49 - Brian’s POV on current and emerging business models in gaming and how game developers should approach monetization differently based on the audience and their habits.

32:17 - Brian’s thoughts on subscription models in gaming like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

33:35 - The importance of the direct to player relationship for any game.

35:33 - Brian’s view on which types of games have the highest chance of success in today’s market, the importance of novel gameplay and visual styles, and the need to innovate within the 5-pillar mental model of how games are built.

38:25 - What Brian is excited about in gaming today and moving forward, including UGC, unlocking the walled gardens, and the emergence of new player markets around the world.

39:44 - How Brian balances a busy family and career life and the role his kids play in his professional life.