My guest today is Mitch Lasky. Mitch is a partner at Benchmark and one of the leading figures in the video game industry. Over the last 30 years, he has built, led, and invested in a number of the best gaming companies in the world, including Activision, EA, Riot, Snapchat, and Discord. I couldn’t think of a better person to break down the anatomy of great gaming businesses and Mitch does not disappoint. His insights are remarkable. Please enjoy this excellent conversation with Mitch Lasky.
For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content, check out the episode page here.
This episode is brought to you by Canalyst. Canalyst is the leading destination for public company data and analysis. If you're a professional equity investor and haven't talked to Canalyst recently, you should give them a shout. Learn more and try Canalyst for yourself at canalyst.com/Patrick.
Today's episode is brought to you by Brex. Brex is the integrated financial platform trusted by the world's most innovative entrepreneurs and fastest-growing companies. With Brex, you can move money fast for instant impact with high-limit corporate cards, payments, venture debt, and spend management software all in one place. Ready to accelerate your business? Learn more at brex.com/best.
Invest Like the Best is a property of Colossus, LLC. For more episodes of Invest Like the Best, visit joincolossus.com/episodes.
Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week. Sign up here.
[00:02:31] - [First question] - Why there aren’t more famous gaming investors
[00:05:08] - The most important features of the modern gaming business model
[00:07:11] - Developing his aesthetic taste and investing decision skill
[00:08:03] - What makes a game fun
[00:09:26] - How delivering a pleasurable active user experience differs from passive content and media
[00:11:09] - The developers of Doom being the first real modern video game company
[00:13:09] - Half-Life’s important role in the development of the gaming industry
[00:14:50] - The powerful notion of the platform-based publisher model
[00:17:54] - How some of the big game aggregators get started in the first place
[00:19:58] - What Riot can teach non-gaming businesses about business writ large
[00:21:10] - Ways that the change from physical games to downloads changed monetization
[00:25:19] - How to quantify an economic model in the new paradigm of superfan monetization
[00:28:27] - What the shift in gaming platforms has done to the business model
[00:31:47] - The impact of Apple’s privacy changes on gaming revenue
[00:34:11] - How the access to professional game engines and a lower friction environment will change the industry
[00:37:04] - Whether or not there is a step beyond mobile
[00:39:42] - Ways platforms like Twitch and Discord have influenced gaming
[00:42:26] - What he’s learned about games that allow them to seemingly exist forever
[00:45:17] - Signs of a healthy gaming community
[00:46:21] - The role of celebrities and influencers and generating retained audiences
[00:47:45] - Whether or not crypto will unlock new opportunities for in-game monetization
[00:52:50] - Key categories of motivators that could replace a ponzi-style in-game inflation
[00:54:36] - Contrasting League of Legends versus a Ready Player One style world
[00:58:22] - Emerging technologies and trends that may revolutionize the industry
[01:00:29] - A future with further consolidation on distribution and power
[01:02:41] - The most genius game pattern he’s ever played
[01:04:44] - What attributes will define the great game investors in the coming decades
[01:06:59] - How much his experience lends itself to investing in other sectors
[01:11:07] - The kindest thing anyone has ever done for him