About Us

Casual Connect is produced by the Casual Games Association and is the premiere event for the casual games industry with over 6,500 professionals attending Casual Connect each year. Casual Connect brings together the most talented and knowledgeable experts in the casual gaming field to further the casual games industry with the best of networking and learning.

To learn more about the people behind the scenes, visit our website at: casualgamesassociation.org.

Contact Us

To inquire about advertising or sponsorship email us at info@casualconnect.org. To submit a session proposal or magazine article proposal use the online submission form if you have any additional questions about the submission process email us at submissions@casualconnect.org.

     

    ADVISORS


    Magnus ALM


    CEO, Free Lunch Design 

    Magnus Alm is CEO of Free Lunch Design, a Swedish game studio behind indie hits such as Icy Tower, a game with 3 million fans on Facebook. The company also develops games for external clients such as Disney, Marvel and Stardoll. Magnus believes that sharing is caring and regularly speaks at industry events such as Casual Connect and Develop Conference. Originally trained as a chef Magnus is as passionate about games as he is about the culinary arts.

    email Magnus


    Rami ISMAIL


    Rami Ismail

    Business & Development  Vlambeer 
    Netherlands

    Rami Ismail is the Business & Development Guy at Vlambeer, a Dutch independent game studio known best for Wasteland Kings, Ridiculous Fishing, Super Crate Box, LUFTRAUSERS, GUN GODZ, Serious Sam: The Random Encounter & Radical Fishing. Believing sharing knowledge openly is the cornerstone of independent development, Rami has spoken on a variety of subjects at dozens of game events around the world, ranging from the Game Developers Conference to Fantastic Arcade & from University seminars to incubator mentorship.

    email Rami


    Alla KHRAMTSOVA


    V.P. of Business Development INTENIUM GmbH
    Germany

    Alla has been in the casual games industry since 2003 working on the managerial positions in business development, sales and marketing in Absolutist, the biggest casual games company in Ukraine. In 2007 she left the company after a year of being its CEO and continued her career as VP of Business Development with Germany-based INTENIUM, the leading European casual games distributor, publisher and developer. In this position she is responsible for several strategic directions of the game holding, cooperation with developers and distributors, as well as game development/producing. She holds an MA in English and Literature, BA in Marketing.

    email Alla


    Neal SINNO


    Neal Sinno

    SVP. Business Development Nickelfish IDM
    USA

    Neal Sinno is digital media executive with over 15+ years of online, mobile and market opportunity experience. Neal is currently the SVP of business development and strategy for Optimatic Media, a leading RTB video advertising platform.

    Prior to joining Optimatic, Neal was the SVP of business development at Arkadium. As a member of Arkadium’s executive team, Neal was responsible for leadership and oversight of the new web and mobile application product development, business development, account management and production.

    Before joining Arkadium, Neal was the vice president of business development at Game Trust. There he developed and managed key new content syndication and advertising opportunities and was a member of the executive team responsible for the company’s acquisition by RealNetworks.

    Neal has also held key roles at Mellon Financial, The New York Times and Lucent Technologies. Neal also serves as an advisor for the Casual Games Association, Nickelfish IDM and Playbuzz Media.

    email Neal


    David NIXON


    David Nixon

    Program Advisor, Community & Social
    USA

    David is Co-Founder and CEO of "Gemini Hive, Inc." - a boutique investment, advisory, and consulting firm focused on helping small social and social mobile game companies get started and find growth. David has been involved in video game development since 1989. In 1999 he dedicated his career to the publishing of "casual" games and pioneering ways for these games to reach new audiences. He has played a key role in the launch of RealArcade and the establishment of the casual games industry. He was also deeply involved in the rise of Oberon Media, and the launch of Xbox Live Arcade. He has a passion for online communities and social interactions in online cross-platform game services.

    View David's sessions in the archives.
    email David


    Jan WAGNER


    Jan Wagner

    Managing Director Cliffhanger Productions 
    Program Advisor, Browser MMO
    Germany

    Jan Wagner has been involved in the industry for almost 20 years with his experience spanning producing, PR and product management along with QA, localization and game design. He was Head of Product Management at Vivendi Universal Games and worked on over 100 titles during this time including Half Life, Warcraft, Empire Earth and Diablo. Trying to get back to the creative side of the industry, he co-founded a consulting agency whose customers included Blizzard Europe, Vivendi Universal, Massive Development, Tilted Mill and JoWooD and worked on titles like SpellForce, Gothic and Ground Control. He went on to found Cliffhanger Productions, a production studio, with his partner Michael Paeck in 2006 trying to support the creation of more original games. Cliffhanger now focuses on premium cross-platform games for gamers like it’s upcoming AERENA and crowdfunded Shadowrun Online.

    Jan is a co-founder of a local initiative called gamearea frankfurtrheinmain as well as a member of a counselling body on games for the German government, teaches game studies at the University of Darmstadt and is jury member for the German Developer’s Award, the German Games Award and the European Innovative Games Award. He never won one of those though.

    email Jan


    Brock PIERCE


    Brock PIERCE

    Entrepreneur & Investor Bitcoin, Games & Gambling 
    Program Advisor, Casino Games
    USA

    Brock Pierce is a 15-time entrepreneur best known for pioneering the market for digital currency. He has raised more than $200 million on behalf of his companies and led more than 30 acquisitions. Pierce was called a "guru" of the Bitcoin space by USA Today in 2013, given his numerous businesses and contributions to the Bitcoin economy going back to early mining activities in 2009. Prior to his Bitcoin activities, Pierce launched his first of many digital and virtual currency startups in 1998, which have collectively processed billions of dollars in sales. Pierce is currently a Managing Director of the Clearstone Global Gaming Fund and sits on the boards of IMI Exchange, GoCoin, ExpressCoin, KnCMiner.cn, Robocoin Asia, Mastercoin Foundation, Xfire, Playsino, FGL, and Spicy Horse Games. He is also BitAngels Los Angeles City Leader and an angel investor in numerous Bitcoin related startups such as BTC China. Pierce also speaks regularly about Bitcoin at leading conferences ranging from the Milken Global Conference to the upcoming BTC Miami.

    email Brock


    Eric GOLDBERG


    Eric GOLDBERG

    Managing Director Crossover Technologies 
    Program Advisor, General Industry
    USA

    Eric is a 30-year veteran of the game, consumer Internet, and wireless data industries, serving in capacities ranging from game designer to executive. Since 2002, Eric is or has been a board member of, advisor or consultant to AOL, AT&T Wireless, Centerscore, Digital Chocolate, Electronic Arts, Exponential, Gaia Online, HipLogic, In-Fusio, Juice Wireless, Kayak (dba Blaze), Lifetime, LimeLife, Meredith, Mforma (dba Hands-On Mobile), Moloon, Openwave, PaymentOne, PickTeams (fka GoCrossCampus), Playdom (fka YouPlus), PlaySpan, Reaxion, rmbr, RocketOn, Thumbplay, Unplugged, Vindigo, Warner Music, and three US venture capital firms. Eric was most recently the President and Co-Founder of Unplugged, for which he secured distribution with four of the five largest North American carriers. Previously, he served as President and Founder of Crossover Technologies, one of the first consumer online companies, for which he secured AOL, BMG, Discovery Channel,Intel, Microsoft, Prodigy (IBM/Sears/CBS joint venture), Random House, Sony, Time Warner, and Viacom as clients and distribution partners; and, prior to that, as President of West End Games, the adventure game company for which he published, among 40+ titles, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Star Trek, and Junta. His award-winning games include Paranoia, Tales of the Arabian Nights, The Tom Peters Business School in a Box, and MadMaze, the first online game to draw one million players. He is a three-time winner of the Origins Award for Best Role-Playing Game and a two-time winner of the Game Designers Guild Select Award. Eric is a regular speaker at the major North American games, wireless and online conferences, including CTIA, MECCA, Internet World, The Conference Board, DMW, GDC, GDC Mobile, MES, AGC, MGC, Casual Connect, LA Games Conference, and E3, and has served as a programs advisor or advisory board member for the latter seven conferences. He was previously a board member for the New York New Media Association and New York University`s Center for Advanced Digital Applications.

    email Eric


    Jussi LAAKKONEN


    Jussi LAAKKONEN

    CEO Applifier
    Finland

    Jussi Laakkonen is the CEO and founder of Applifier (http://www.applifier.com), the largest cross-promotion network for social games and applications that now reaches over 55 million monthly active users on Facebook. He pivoted Everyplay (http://www.everyplay.com), a social gaming startup he had founded in 2008, into Applifier to help other developers and publishers grow their social applications through cross-promotion.

    Previously Jussi was the business development director for Bugbear Entertainment (http://www.bugbeargames.com), a console racing game developer, where he closed several multimillion euro game deals and produced console and handheld games including Sega Rally for PSP and the FlatOut series. Jussi has been an entrepreneur since his teens and for nearly 20 years he has been one of the main organizers of Assembly (http://www.assembly.org), an annual 5000 person, around the clock, four day computer festival Finland.

    Jussi blogs infrequently at http://jussilaakkonen.wordpress.com and tries to remember tweet more often at @jussil.

    email Jussi


    Pepe AGELL


    Pepe Agell

    Sr. Director, Publisher Relations  Chartboost
    USA

    Pepe Agell leads the International Expansion at Chartboost. In his role, he oversees the global expansion of the company’s publisher base, strategic partnerships, and customer relationship management (CRM) to ensure the highest standard of service and support.



    email Pepe


    Valeriya MALLAYEVA


    Lerika Mallayeva

    Director of DevGAMM Absolutist
    Ukraine

    Valeriya Mallayeva is the Managing Director and Founder of the DevGAMM Conference - the biggest game event in Ukraine and one of the major in Russia. She is also the co-manager of Ukrainian Adobe Flash Platform User Group and active member of indie game community in UA/RU.

     

    Program Advisor, Indie Games

    email Valeriya


    Jens BEGEMANN


    Jens Begemann

    Founder Wooga
    Germany

    2009 Jens founded wooga (world of gaming). With 15 million Monthly Active Users wooga is the 7th largest developer of social games worldwide and the leading developer based in Europe. The 4 games wooga has lauched so far (Brain Buddies, Bubble Island, Monster World and Happy Hospital) are all hits on Facebook. Bubble Island was awarded the best European Social Game for 2010. wooga employs a team of 60 people from 18 nations in the heart of Berlin.

     

    Program Advisor, Community & Social

    email Jens


    Christopher NATSUUME


    Christopher NATSUUME

    Co-Founder Boomzap Entertainment
    Japan

    Christopher Natsuume has been developing games for over 15 years. He has been working in the Southeast Asian region since 2004, including founding Singapore-based Boomzap Entertainment, one of the leading independent developers in the region. Boomzap has shipped 8 casual game titles, including the top ranked Jewels of Cleopatra series, using developers in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan.  


    Content Advisor, Casual Connect Magazine

    email Christopher


    Jay MOORE


    Founder & Head of Special Ops for The Strategery Group
    President/Co-founder, BitRaider 

    Jay is a massively parallel entrepreneur, who thrives on building successful new ventures in the gaming sector. As President of BitRaider, Jay is helping deploy a next generation streaming technology for games. As Founder and Insight Merchant with The Strategery Group a consulting group, Jay has gathered a talented team to help their clients realize their full potential. Jay has been an evangelist and brand manager in the games industry since 1994, a partner in GarageGames and creator and host of Indie Game Con `02-`05. He isa frequent speaker at GDC SF & Austin, e3, ECGC, DMW LA Games Conf., LOGIN and Casual Connect. As a start-up advisor to game entrepreneurs, he is an insight merchant focused on building strong business teams and advising on brand, business and corporate development.

    email Jay


    Josh BURNS


    Consultant 1212 Consulting

    Josh is a consultant in the gaming industry working with game developers, game publishers and service providers focused on online and mobile gaming to support key business areas including strategy, market intelligence, marketing, game publishing, business operations, product management and business development. Previously he worked at 6waves, leading the US product management team for one of the largest publishers of games for Facebook, iOS & Android where he managed & launched over 100+ apps including those from top developers like Kabam, Nexon & Atari as well as games based on IP from Eminem, Disney, Dungeons & Dragons, Starz & BBC. Prior, he worked at Electronic Arts, in EA’s Pogo.com division supporting one of the largest casual games websites focusing on product management, customer insights, new platforms, market strategy & analytics.

    email Josh


    Tadhg KELLY


    Developer Relations & Free-to-Play Advisor, OUYA, Inc.

    I work with OUYA to help second-party developers make their games shine on the platform, help free to play economics work on the platform and also act as point of contact for potential content - especially in the Seattle area. I also write the leading game design blog What Games Are (www.whatgamesare.com), as well as for publications such as TechCrunch, Edge and Gamasutra.

    email Tadhg


    Kris SOUMAS


    Advisor, USA


    Kris Soumas specializes in branded games and entertainment. She has created award winning, blockbuster, digital properties for History, A&E, Lifetime and The Walt Disney Company. Most recently, she was SVP, Games/Digital Media for A+E Networks where she launched social/mobile games for hit shows like Duck Dynasty (#1 Paid Game on iOS) and Pawn Stars (played nearly a billion times). Prior to that, she was the Head of Lifetime Game Studios, with offices in San Francisco, New York, and Seoul.

    email Kris


    Melissa BLAU


    Director iGaming Capital

    Melissa Blau has been in the Internet Gaming sector for the past nine years as both an operator and advisor. She is currently the Founder & Director of iGaming Capital, the leading iGaming consulting and advisory company in the US. Clients include state regulators, US and Native American casino operators, payment processors, game suppliers, and social gaming companies. Prior to launching iGaming Capital, her experience in the Internet Gaming sector included senior roles at a number of Internet Gaming operators and marketing companies as well as in a banking advisory capacity. Since 2006, Melissa is as appointed the Finance Editor and regular columnist (iGaming Global Index) for iGaming Business Magazine. She is also part of several leading expert financial networks within the Internet Gaming sector and sits on the advisory committee of G2E for the Internet sector. Prior to her Internet Gaming experience, Melissa was a General Partner and founding member of Constellation Ventures, a $450m media & technology venture capital. Melissa has a BA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard University.

    email Melissa


    Reinout te BRAKE


    Managing Partner, GWC Investments
    Program Advisor, Funding

    Reinout te Brake is regarded as one of the leading thought leaders of the gaming industry. He is a successful serial entrepreneur, kickstarter, prolific investor and business leader, currently mentoring and investing in early stage companies and focusing on developing a strong eco-system of gaming companies in the Netherlands.

    He is founder and Chairman of iQU, a Haarlem based company, which is recognized as the top intelligence and performance marketing specialist for the gaming sector. He led iQU as CEO until 2012, establishing it as the leading marketing and intelligence partner for games companies.

    He is also one of the co-founders of Spil Games, one of the largest casual games networks in the world with over 200 MAUs.

    He is presently Managing Partner of GWC Investments, a specialist gaming consultancy and seed investor in many high profile games companies in US, Sweden, Netherlands and Finland, and GameOn, a VC fund investing in gaming start-ups with differentiated IP and business models from across the globe wanting to establish a presence in the Netherlands.

    email Reinout


    Wybe SCHUTTE


    Wybe Schutte

    VP Business Development, Newzoo

    Wybe is VP Business Development at Newzoo, the international full service market research and consulting firm, 100 percent focused on the games industry. Newzoo aims to provide the best independent market data across all game segments and business models based on our proprietary market research projects, financial analysis and tracking of data globally and in-depth in a broad range of countries. Newzoo tends to share a lot of free information with the Games Industry to share knowledge and data.

    Wybe has been deeply involved with the games industry for 6 years now, regularly travelling the globe to attend events & expand his knowledge of the market. He began his career as Business Manager with Newzoo and is now responsible for International Sales & Business Development and Analysis/Consultancy for some of Newzoo’s top global Clients.

    email Wybe


    Kalle KAIVOLA


    kalle kaivola

    Senior Vice President Publishing, Rovio

    Kalle Kaivola is senior vice president of product and publishing at Rovio. Prior to joining the Angry Birds flock, he worked at Recoil Games and before switching to game development he spent almost a decade as a games journalist.

    email Kalle