Pursuing passion, seizing an opportunity: Daryl Lau leaves OffGamers to start own game publishing company, Mason Games

Earlier this month, digital marketing and e-Commerce veteran, Daryl Lau, launched a hype-casual game developing and publishing company, Mason Games, after resigning as Chief Marketing Officer of Singapore-based online retail and distribution platform, OffGamers, in February.

Daryl’s decision to leave OffGamers after 11 years with the company was inspired by his passion to become a publisher and developer himself in the video gaming industry which he believes is a people-based industry where ideas, creativity and effort from various individuals are thrown into the mix to produce excellent end products. 

Speaking to MARKETING Magazine, Daryl shared that his inspiration to start Mason Games stemmed from the many conferences he’s attended over the past 5 years as means of keeping up-to-date with industry developments and staying ahead of the competition. 

“One of the conferences I attended last year focused on hyper-casual games and after being exposed to the hyper-casual games industry and the hard data that was shown during a couple of the sessions in the conference, I had a gut feeling that hyper-casual games have great untapped potential, especially in Asia,” Daryl told MARKETING Magazine. 

Daryl Lau (middle) poses on stage with President of Malaysian CMO Awards, Professor Harmandar Singh (left) and CEO of Visual Retale, VK Sailendra (right) after accepting his Special Mention award for best Best Marketer in e-Commerce Marketing at the Malaysian CMO Awards 2019.

A hyper-casual game is a mobile video game that is easy-to-play and usually free-to-play with minimalistic user interfaces as it uses simple mechanics that offer instant gameplay.

“Pairing hyper-casual games with mobile devices is a gold mine as mobile hyper-casual games are embraced by gamers of all ages because it’s easily picked up by non-gamers and doesn’t always feature traditional competitive elements,” Daryl explained. “It could be a relaxing therapy for those who’re looking for a break from reality every now and then which makes these types of games engaging and convenient to play.”

In 2020, data from SensorTower revealed that hyper-casual games were the most downloaded genre in mobile gaming worldwide, accounting for 31% of all installs compared to 17% in 2017. When looking at the overall gaming market, in 2019 the revenue from mobile games alone reached USD 49 billion, making up 60% of the overall global market revenue. 

Sensor Tower’s Mobile Game Taxonomy Report 2021: Hyper-casual accounts for nearly one-third of downloads

According to Daryl, the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the gaming industry as a whole, creating more opportunity for anyone who ventures into it. 

“Hence, I took up the challenge and started my journey in establishing Mason Games,” Daryl added.

As CEO and Founder of Mason Games, Daryl’s priority at the moment is to establish a robust team by appointing the right people for key roles within Mason Games. 

“In my 11 years of working for OffGamers, I worked with and met wonderful people that shared the same passion as me and  I am blessed to have these talented people be part of the core founding team and put their belief in the Mason Games project and the potential it holds,” Daryl said.”We are looking for a few more talented individuals to join us and be able to fit in right into our company’s DNA.”

As for Daryl’s vision for MasonGames, he says it is to be the leading ASEAN hyper-casual and casual games publisher and developer by 2025 and he also hopes to expand it to a few countries. 

“We would like to integrate talented individuals hailing from the ASEAN region in order for us to have more ASEAN representation in the gaming industry,” Daryl said. “Our first step in achieving this goal is by establishing our development office in Vietnam the moment international borders are open and the pandemic is under control as we want to house our development team there in a safe and conducive environment.” 

According to the Southeast Asia Gaming Market report published in January by the world’s largest market research store, Research and Market, the gaming market in SEA is expected to register a CAGR of 8.5% over the forecast period of 2021 to 2026. The increasing popularity of players in various sports and growing investment in internet infrastructure are cited as the primary factors that will offer immense growth opportunities to the market.

“Games are the largest app category in the emerging SEA market and paired with revenue growth of over 100% for mobile games last year, it is safe to say that the accessibility nature of mobile games will continue to bring more growth into this segment of video gaming,” Daryl said. “In terms of gaming revenues, Malaysia comes in close with Indonesia in second place as Thailand currently has the largest market so we hope to be part of the local team that makes local products with homegrown talents, creating a unique niche that is imbued with local cultures, art and humour.”

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