Home / News / Speaker Spotlight: Xsolla president David Stelzer on the importance of web store | Pocket Gamer.biz

Speaker Spotlight: Xsolla president David Stelzer on the importance of web store | Pocket Gamer.biz

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Speaker Spotlight: Xsolla president David Stelzer on web stores as "the next big opportunity" for mobile games

Xsolla president David Stelzer is a games industry veteran with more than a quarter-of-a-century of experience.

Starting as an attorney, he became the lead counsel for Sega’s North American operations. Since moving into the business side of games, Stelzer has worked with a number of games companies while working as the global head of video games for Creative Artists Agency and as the director for Unreal Engine business development and licensing at Epic Games.

As the president of Xsolla, he’ll guide the future of how game developers publish and operate their games with the help of the company’s products and services.

Stelzer is one of more than 250 expert speakers delivering 29 conference tracks at Pocket Gamer Connects London on January 22nd to 23rd. We asked him to tell us more about his upcoming talk and get his opinions on the latest industry trends.


PocketGamer.biz: Can you tell us what you’ll talk about at PG Connects London?

David Stelzer: I will be speaking on a panel about the importance of web stores as a means of selling for games revenue outside of the traditional platforms like Apple and Google. Based on the current state of the Google and Epic lawsuit and other ongoing legislation globally, off-store means of revenue generation are the clear future of our industry.

What was the fundamental appeal of the mobile games industry that brought you to it?

I’ve always loved playing games. Working in games, I love being at the forefront, and mobile games is always trying something new as an industry.

What do you enjoy most about working in the mobile games industry?

The pace of making and releasing games allows you to see and experience more than you do in the world of PC/Console where the cycles are much slower.

What’s the most common mistake you see being made in the games sector?

Thinking that making the game is hardest part, and not putting enough thought, money and effort into post-launch.

If you make a great game, but it can’t be found – or it doesn’t continue to offer content that delights your users – the life of the game will be very short lived.

David Stelzer

If you could give other mobile games companies one piece of advice, what would it be?

Plan earlier for marketing and live ops. If you make a great game, but it can’t be found – or it doesn’t continue to offer content that delights your users – the life of the game will be very short lived.

Where are the next big opportunities in the mobile games market?

I think web stores are the next big opportunity. These stores allow developers and publishers to keep more of their revenues. Going cross platform and having cross-play into mobile is another big area.

Tell us more about your thoughts on cross-platform games

I think cross-platform is where game developers need to look as their future. Allowing for cross-platform, cross-play and cross-progression gives the customer the power and the option to play when they want and how they want. As with any industry, we need to pay attention to the customer’s wants and needs and look for ways to keep them happy and playing longer.

What’s the most important key performance indicator (KPI) for you – and why?

I think 90-day retention numbers are super important. With this number, enough time has passed to really see where you have drop off and where you are getting traction, allowing for a refined adjustment of a content plan, offers etc.

What is your biggest aspiration/goal in mobile gaming?

I’d like to help find a way for mobile game developers to find their way back to success and help create a new golden age of mobile gaming.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received that you can pass on to others?

Stay curious.

What company do you most admire in the mobile games world?

Supercell – they are so dialed in on making their players happy, and creating great LTV.

What is the single biggest challenge facing the mobile games industry today?

I think the biggest challenge still lies in implications from IDFA and how to work directly with your consumer.

What leaders/pioneers in games do you find inspiring?

I admire what Walter Driver and his team at Scopely have built from the ground up. Their story, their growth, their amazing acquisition is amazing. I look forward to their bright future.

What developments do you think have been undervalued by the mobile games industry?

The use of and power that cloud gaming represents. Being able to play anything from anywhere is a very cool aspiration for the games industry.

The mobile space evolves at a much faster pace than console and PC gaming, but is there a console or PC trend that you think has potential within the mobile space?

Cloud gaming, and cross platform play/progression.

What is the most overhyped trend from the last 12 months – and why?

Probably NFTs – They misaligned with player interests, environmental concerns, market volatility, friction, perception and regulatory concerns

I’m not sure if the future is NFT, but owning the items you buy and being able to freely trade or sell them creates a lot of value for a player.

David Stelzer

What role do NFTs play in the future of games?

I’m not sure if the future is NFT, but owning the items you buy and being able to freely trade or sell them creates a lot of value for a player. Creating a market and demand for items is still hindered by contractual restrictions and other frictions in the process.

Is hypercasual gaming here to stay?

I think hypercasual will always have a place. Timespans are short. The need for quick hits of fun transcend the trends.

When not making/selling/playing games, what do you do to relax?

I love to cook. Cooking relaxes me and has a certain amount of creativity to it.

What was your first mobile phone?

Either the Motorola Star Tac or the Nokia Brick

What’s your favourite ever mobile game?

I still love Jetpack Joyride.

What game from another company do you wish you had worked on?

Clash Royale.

What game has been on your phone the longest?

Solitaire.

What sessions/speakers are you planning to attend at PG Connects London?

I’m looking forward to the sessions on AI and generative content.


Meet David Stelzer at PG Connects London

Not only will you have the chance to see Stelzer take part in one of our panel debates, but you can also arrange to meet him at PG Connects London. Our online organiser MeetToMatch is free to all event attendees, connecting you directly with more than 2,500 decision makers from the global games industry.

Stelzer says, “I’d love to talk to anyone making or publishing games.”

As well as the 29-track conference schedule, the two-day event also features a series of side-events like The Very Big Indie Pitch, Publisher SpeedMatch, Investor Connector and a host of other networking opportunities all aimed at helping you level up your skills and business.

Book your tickets now! 

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