Lectures at Casual Connect are programmed to focus on cutting edge topics in the casual games space. On February 11-13 2014, over 2000 industry professionals came to Amsterdam for the 9th Casual Connect in Western Europe. Conference content was programmed by a set of industry advisors.
If you attended lectures at Casual Connect and want to see your favorite sessions again, or if you could not make it to Amsterdam this time and want to see what you have missed, press the icon to watch videos and download slides (all content is FREE!).
To email any of the speakers below, click on the email icon next to the speaker's name.
If you would like to speak at a future Casual Connect in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Singapore or San Francisco, please email Tennille Forsberg.
Join Bob Slinn, Facebook's lead gaming partnerships manager for EMEA, for a discussion about the state of the Facebook Platform and ecosystem, local success stories and how the platform can help any Game Developer build a great social game, acquire high quality users and monetize.
With revenues totaling $6.3 billion in 2013, the mobile games market is both the largest and fastest growing digital games segment across Western markets. After several years of spectacular growth, the mobile games industry is now showing signs of maturing. To be successful in the space today requires a more sophisticated understanding of the overall landscape and its key drivers. This presentation will provide the audience with in-depth insight into the underlying market dynamics, consumer spending across platforms, the rising costs of CPI and an outline for what to expect in 2014.
In this chat, Peter will be covering his journey from the safety of Microsoft Games Studio to the dangerous world of Indie Development.
Danger is what design needs, disruptive thinking is how we as an industry start to use some of the awesome technology that will appeal to the millions of new consumers we are creating games for. Peter will talk through his ideas of connecting millions of people together, showing for the first time detailed learnings from Curiosity: Whats inside the cube, and Steam early access of Godus and how this feeds into the re-invention of the God game Genre in Godus for Mobile
Takeaways from this talk include design re-invention and how to approach new technology and consumers in a structured way, as well as how to structure and approach ‘crazy’ ambitious titles for Indie mobile development.
Join Jeremy Wells from App Annie as he takes an in-depth look at some of the hottest trends from 2013: explosive growth in freemium games revenue, emerging markets to watch, app store games vs. game optimized handhelds, and the growth of chat apps and how they relate to games.
What are the major risks that entrepreneurs should be aware of when a VC invests in an early-stage gaming company? What are the DO´s and DON´Ts when drafting an investment agreement?
Mobile analytics expert Richard Firminger will present a research paper that helps the audience understand the life cycle of a) a mobile game and b) a mobile gamer. Using in-depth analytics data from over 1.3 billion mobile devices and 430,000 apps, CC audience will come away with a better understanding of how different types of users (casual gamers, in-app purchasers, social influencers) are typically acquired across game genres (casino, casual, puzzle, arcade, etc) and how long they stay active and engaged.
Competition, consumer expectations and mobile computing power are driving up the cost of developing and launching casual, social and mobile games. Independent game developers thus face a growing funding gap, as game publishers of all types increasingly avoid funding external projects and venture capital continues to shy away from equity investment in pure content plays.
This talk takes a fresh look at the changing economic value chain and provides strategies for sourcing alternative and project finance. While this session is aimed mainly at developers, it will also address investors, advisors, legal professionals and marketers. The session will provide all participants with insight into newly emerging portfolio-based and other funding options which favor game creation, design innovation and brand origination by independents.
During 2013, the rapid growth of the casual games market began to attract an increasing amount of attention from consumer protection regulators and other organisations. The UK Office of Fair Trading has stated that it will commence enforcement action after 1 April, 2014; in Germany, actions have already been taken with respect to similar issues. The distinction between gaming and gambling is also coming under increasing scrutiny which could have a significant impact on the future of the sector. Learn why virtual goods regulation is likely to be part of your business landscape before the end of 2014 and what you can do to mitigate the effects on your revenues.
Mobile Game User Acquisition is becoming a virtual war zone with the App Store, Google Play and other marketplaces proving to be a vicious battle ground where the strongest survive and reap billions of dollars in revenue and the weak stumble through a dreary download wasteland. User Acquisition is proving to be ultra-competitive with costs creeping higher and higher to acquire users that monetize and provide a solid LTV. Arming yourself with the right marketing technologies & platforms, analytics, social outlets and traffic sources is key to optimization and winning the UA battle.
Future years will be marked by radical growth and shifts in the game space. Current intelligence is key to knowing the difference between a sound marketing investment and a money pit. Glenn Kiladis is Vice President, Industry Solutions & Emerging Channels and also leads the Global Mobile Games practice at Fiksu. Glenn will present up-to-the-minute insights and strategies to win the UA War.
After having recently served as VP of Mergers & Acquisitions for Rovio, Teemu Huuhtanen is now a CEO at Next Games, and has raised capital in two different games companies. He will go over some tactics and failures from his own fund raising experience, focusing on the things to consider before doing an investment round, and will give tips on the company pitch and other relevant points that might come up during the round.
Spil Games’ CEO, Erik Goossens will outline how, in an ever growing free–to-play market with disrupted and crowded storefronts, online gaming is a perfect home for indie developers to start seeing a serious return on their free-to-play games. Goosens will talk about harnessing advertising within the online gaming space that works for both developers and brands and can offer an alternative, new and lucrative revenue stream for game makers. Examples and lessons learned will be demonstrated and hard facts shared from developers who have seen significant revenue increased from leveraging advertising in a new way.
Focusing on new proprietary Google research, this session will explain how to use the best of Google's technology to meet the needs of your gamers. A recent study co-authored with Parks Associates provides new insight into gamers' purchase decisions and we identify the key traps to avoid, meaning you get your games played by more people, and for longer.
Life in the Kids Category - 6 months on. Apple introduced a dedicated, curated Kids category in September 2013, addressing concerns about mis-selling of kids apps, privacy, and advertising models in content targeted at the under 13s. This session will explore the dynamics and size of the category, strategies for success and look at the winners, losers and opportunities in the broader kids content market across platforms.
Stolen Couch Games, Ronimo Games & Paladin Studios will discuss the three different ways they acquired funding for their indie games. Ronimo Games received over $400,000 from their kickstarter campaign for the AwesomeNauts expansion pack. Stolen Couch Games used investor money to create their free-to-play game Castaway Paradise. Paladin Studios self-funded their $250,000 pet project Momonga. Come learn from the experiences of these talented indie developers.
The shift from product to service allows for the unbundling of game publishing, and requires very different skill sets for each and every core competency of Programming, Distribution, Direct Marekting, Monetisation, and, for third-party publishers, Aggregation. Instead, the majority of social, mobile, and browser-based publishers struggle in making the transition from the industry's product legacy for one or more of these keys to digital publishing, and significantly underperform their potential. This presentation describes digital best practices, illustrated by examples that can be applied variously by smaller developers and larger publishers; and will outline which publishing competencies can be rented from third parties and which are the "soul" of a digital publishing service. A must-attend for companies that have world-class publishing ambitions, and a should-attend for those who need to be competitive in the Brave New Digital Game World.
The ten traits that can make games not only fun, but educationally important, a study by NYU Professor commissioned by kids’ app developer TabTale, is designed to help parents understand what educationally beneficial traits they should be looking for in the games their kids play.
Chartboost has undergone an incredible period of growth over the course of the past three years. Learn all about the major challenges we have faced in building a scalable platform, how we think about problem solving, and how we maneuver through the ever changing landscape that is mobile gaming.
In this session, Jan talks about how Cliffhanger Productions managed to get over half a million dollars of funding on Kickstarter as one of the most funded continental European games projects – despite doing almost everything wrong. He also gives a hands-on guideline to running a Kickstarter campaign, what to do and what to avoid followed by an extensive Q&A for those wanting to do their own campaign.
Games-related content is the most popular content on YouTube. Twitch and Azubu have an enormous following and allow gamers to stream their game content to a global audience. Finally, eSports has broken out of its niche in Western markets. All these trends are directly related to the market shift towards free-to-play business models across all screens. It is not surprising that it is the free-to-play titles such as League of Legends, Dota2 and World of Tanks that are pushing most for eSports. What opportunities for casual as well as core games do these trends provide us in terms of game development, marketing and engagement?
We've recently started a complete redesign of our flagship game, Top Eleven. This talk will focus on the UX changes that were made in order to have a same experience across 200+ different devices and 17000+ different resolutions that are supported at the moment. Every decision was backed by current usage data, but things like platform-specific constraints and common HCI theories also played a huge role in making the game easier to use while preserving functionality.
Timing is everything when deciding the next strategic steps to take with your company. This talk presents an overview of the industry’s buying trends, investment rounds, drivers of value and interest and our expectations for the coming years in-and-around gaming, content and media .
As gamers’ worlds go cross-platform, players increasingly expect their favorite game services to be available to them wherever they are, on whichever platform they happen to be using. Designing and operating delightful game experiences that fulfill these expectations demands detailed understanding of what players expect from each medium and how players interact with these devices. David Kim, founder & CEO at Animoca has built cross-platform, cross-device games since before it was fashionable. Attend his session to hear how David and his team think about preserving critical similarities while respecting differences inherent in cross-platform games.
Find out what the industry's top buyers are looking for in partner companies, and get the inside scoop on how they evaluate gaming companies for an acquisition. How about after the transaction closes? How will your company be integrated into the mother ship? This panel gets you deep inside what the buyers are thinking when approaching companies.
What does 2014 hold for the mobile games industry? This is the year that game developers take control of the user data available to them and use the insights to effectively manage and engage players. It's not enough to have the statistics readily available; it's about being able to read into the data to quickly and effectively act on it to better engage, retain and monetize your players.
Join the conversation with Ville Heijari, PlayHaven's GM Europe, as he explores strategies for developers to best evaluate and engage their audience.
There’s no longer any doubt: Cross-platform games, executed correctly, are more successful than single-platform games. The operative term, of course, is “executed correctly” and digging into those two little words reveals a scary network of pitfalls, dangerous ground, and opportunities for spectacular failure. Zac Bowling from Apportable will zero in on the game design aspect of “executing correctly” to share personal experience with design choices that might take a game's cross-platform aspirations from just really hard to darn near impossible (and maybe some examples of ways to make that path a little easier, too).
While the biggest story of 2013 in the game and financial media was the resurgence of video game consoles aimed at hard-core gamers, the more significant market development -- particularly for the casual game business -- was the emergence of other contenders in a new "microconsole" and particularly "Android console" category. In this talk, Tadhg Kelly, noted games industry writer and developer relations manager at OUYA, discusses the big ambitions for such apparently small devices, starting with their reach to a broader population in gamers in 2014; perception and expectation issues (that present an arbitrage opportunity for game developers); what OUYA has learned in launching the highest-profile microconsole. He also discusses how the microconsole can evolve, and explains why microconsoles are only just getting started.
There is a legend of the perfect game. A game so innovative and so compelling that it’s success transcends all expectations and intention. We revere those games as we see them - Civilization, X-Com, Tomb Raider, Command & Conquer, Abe’s Odyssey. Certainly compelling gameplay is the not-so-secret weapon for success - but in today’s incredibly service-oriented, crowded, free-to-play mobile game marketplace the biggest hits get more right than just the gameplay. Join Alexander Krug as he discusses the aspects of your game business and service that build on the pre-requisite of great gameplay to achieve visibility, distribution, and maximum business value.
The sale of your gaming company has the potential to be the most important transaction of your life—don't launch this final step without a walkthrough from the experts. We’ll share lessons learned, tips for preparing and proven processes you need to sell your company—and the negotiation pitfalls and deal disasters that can vaporize value. Built from the largest body of technology mergers and acquisitions, this presentation will help you prepare for battle when considering selling in the next three years.
Motion enabled/gesture control games have long been popularized by Wii and Kinect and have now even gone a level further by extending beyond just games in the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Yet, these games and gesture capabilities have been tied to and limited by consoles and hardware/sensors, preventing the combination of two of the hottest trends in gaming – mobile and motion control.
As smartphone and tablet sales continue to rise, an opportunity exists to unchain motion controlled games from traditional game consoles and hardware, dramatically increasing where and when and on what devices (Smartphones, tablets, etc.) games can be played. In his talk, Asaf will discuss opportunities that exist in developing motion enabled/gesture controlled games for tablets, PCs and other devices and how the motion gaming market can be opened up to new and greater numbers of players through mobile devices.
Remember what Bejeweled was to online games? And what Farmville was for social games or Angry Birds was for native app games?
Well there is a massive new area emerging for mobile gaming that is waiting for it's first big hit. It is called the mobile web. By using HTML5 to develop your mobile web game, you can reach millions of mobile gamers, whether through mobile game portals, media sites, social networks, app stores, or within mobile messaging apps. Join Rob Grossberg, the CEO of TreSensa, to hear more about the emergence of mobile web gaming as the next big thing in gaming.
CEOs and Founders of recently sold companies share their war stories and challenges from taking their gaming companies through the most important transactions of their lives. Don't miss their unique insights on what to expect during the process as well as the unexpected they’ve encountered! Highly recommended for founders and CEOs who want the inside perspective on selling their company.
The TV is still the bonfire in the home and 758 Million homes will have their TV’s connected to the internet by 2018. TransGaming is bringing family-friendly games to this exciting new frontier. Benefit from some of the early lessons learned in this nascent space.
In the mobile gaming space, the trend is shifting from traditional to new, innovative forms of ad-based monetization. While in-game advertising used to come at a deadly tradeoff with user engagement and retention, novel strategies now allow publishers to make revenue from their games without hurting the user experience. These new mechanisms can sometimes even come with a value add for the user and foster engagement, retention and virality. In this session, we take a deeper look at general monetization models, provide examples of successful ad-based monetization strategies and see how they are changing the mobile games landscape for the coming years.
2013 was a watershed year for free to play games: a number of landmark titles took F2P execution and success to new levels. This evolution should allow developers to focus on the substance of F2P games, while badly designed, overtly coercive monetization techniques can be left behind. These evolutionary steps will be key in making the model sustainable both in terms of business, player reception, and developer recognition. By walking through the history of the F2P model, Aki Järvinen is arguing for a F2P design approach where the more a player pays for the game, the more enjoyable it becomes. The talk will showcase a number of examples that have gotten it both wrong - and right.
With all the buzz surrounding "native advertising" and so many options available for integrating an ad-based monetization solution into your game service, it's hard to tell which ones are "worth it" and which are red herrings. While the industry is still new enough to be shaking itself out in terms of clear "best practices", it is useful to look at the strategic approaches successful companies are taking and analyzing why these approaches are working. Damon Marshall from Supersonic Ads layout out some proven successful strategies and shares insights as to why these strategies were successful and where they might have been improved further.
Only a minority of players post in forums or write game reviews, and that segment usually represents a specific personality type. On the other hand, metrics give an unvarnished look into player behavior. Many companies have started paying less attention to player opinion and relying solely on metrics to design, implement and tune game features. Does player opinion matter and if so, when? This talk takes a look at what metrics can and can't provide in terms of guides for making the best decision for your game. It includes a discussion of when player opinion matters and how to include it in your internal design and planning sessions. Finally, it concludes with examples of ways to integrate metrics and player opinion to get a more complete picture of how players are experiencing your games.
What works and what doesn't, what funnels are MUST have, and how to get to a positive ROI? Focusing on social casino games, the session is aimed to help the novice to intermediate game designers. All is based on experience running Backgammon Live! on Facebook and Tablets.
The first Evil Game Design Challenge was the most-watched talk from Casual Connect USA, breaking Casual Connect records. In this second Evil Game Design Challenge, come watch as three free-to-play gaming luminaries battle for players' wallets on-stage to determine just who is the most-evil game designer!
The most important decision a developer makes is what game to make. These days that means sorting through a dizzying array of options for platform (mobile, browser, PC/Steam, console) and business model (free, free-to-play, paid) along with choosing a genre and designing mechanics. This session walks through the pros, the cons, and the fundamental economics of these choices and how they interact so you can make the right decisions for your team.
If you're in mobile or online games, you're in a direct marketing business. If you develop or publish F2P games, you're in the direct marketing business, for which the leading practitioners -- including many billion-dollar companies -- have at least a 50-year head start on the game business. Join Drayton Bird, the 50 year executive who "knows more about direct marketing than anyone else in the world" and author of "Commonsense Direct & Digital Marketing" (the best-selling UK book on the subject) in a fireside chat with Eric Goldberg, 30-year veteran of the games business, that will illustrate (1) why you're already in direct marketing; proven techniques to creating, converting, and KEEPING your customers; and (2) the necessary ingredient for your compelling games and expensive launch campaigns to capture the majority of the potential player and paying audience.
Over 90% of consumer spending occurs offline and Forrester estimates over half of the $3.5T in retail spend will be influenced by online research and advertising by 2016. Connecting the online to offline worlds is the next step for monetization on mobile and significant progress in the space has been made since TrialPay first gave this talk at CCSF last year. See how mobile app and gaming companies are rewarding customers for making everyday purchases in local brick and mortar stores, a concept TrialPay first coined in this 2010 Techcrunch article. Wachtang will provide an update on recent trends, techniques, what works, what's coming and what innovative marketing teams should be thinking about to earn a share of the trillion dollar retail economy and create a better user experience for their customers.
Anwar addresses key learnings from his experience in developing quest events and bigger feature events in successful online game, Forge of Empires. He looks at the development effort, player feedback and revenues, and then shares conclusions from his team’s findings.
Why is a player willing to spend 30 minutes collecting virtual coins with no real value in the real world? Because they see genuine, tangible value the virtual goods and benefits in your game! Creating demand for your virtual goods, and engaging players with your virtual money translates to retention, conversion, and…yes…monetization. Yaniv Nizan, CEO & Co-Foudner of SOOMLA spends most his time thinking about how your virtual economy and “virtual buying” experiences actually increase the “fun” of your game. Come share his thoughts.
As a game creator, you have a distinct opportunity to harness the passion and knowledge of your most devoted fans to nurture your franchises. At Wikia, we've worked with numerous partners to integrate these "super fans" into all stages of a product's lifecycle, helping to stoke the fire of interest around properties and contribute to their retention over the long-term.
Unlocking the monetary potential of your free-to-play game starts by converting free customers to paying customers, and that means that fragile moment engagement exceeds frugality is of critical importance to anyone running such a service. The concept is obvious, but like “buy low, sell high” in the investment world, successful execution of the concept can be anything but intuitive. In fact, the “logical” approach in this case can yield the worst results. Join Honor Gunday, CEO of Paymentwall, while he discusses the fine art and exact science of turning players into payers.
MMO designers have known for years that players develop over time. Players' tastes change in predictable ways. The same applies to players of more casual online games. These changes affect their relationship not only with individual games, but with all games of the same genre. This talk explains the problems to come and how developers can prepare for them.
A new phenomenon is occurring: the rise of social value instead of lifetime value. The most valuable players are now “social whales”. These are players who influence other players. We have found that social whales account for roughly 25% of all spending in free-to-play titles.
After the dust of 2009 settled and the wild west of Facebook became a bit less wild, patterns emerged. One that I firmly believed to be true is that free-to-play mass-market casual simulation and management games — all the Villes and the Towns — could do no more than $.04 ARPDAU. On the outside, maybe $.05. But with both Family Farm and Royal Story, Fun Plus proved me wrong. And proved me wrong at scale. So Signia invested in the company.
Now that I’ve joined full time, I’m able to better understand how the teams do it. In this brief talk, I’ll reveal actual usage data and some of the features and operational techniques Fun Plus uses to break the ARPDAU conventional wisdom.
The presentation will be an overview of the results of HiPay’s "The P(l)ayers 2013" survey to highlight the components of players' motivations to spend money in free-to-play games. This intervention is a real tool for developers and publishers to help in making decisions in the creation or the adaptation of an online game on all topics linked to its business model. HiPay wishes to guide its customers in their income optimization. Because only 2 to 10 percent of online gamers spend money in free to play games, setting up a good monetization strategy on this unique income line is essential for both developers and publishers. They have to anticipate, in an accurate way, the initiator elements in games that lead players to pay.
User acquisitions costs for casual and social games are growing hand over foot. Optimizing for conversion and retention are a no brainer, but what if you could have an average customer lifetime measured in years instead of days? GamePoint’s 27 month average customer lifetime didn’t appear overnight: In this talk we’ll reveal some tricks and tips in keeping players glued to your game.
We have grown a Facebook game called Solitaire Arena from 0 to 5.000.000 players in half a year and reached the top money-makers on Facebook.
This wouldn't have been possible without A/B tests. Check out an amazing set of five A/B tests that increased our numbers.
In the freemium ecosystem, it's no longer enough to merely build a great game and spend on user acquisition. You need a plan to convert players into payers - and maximize their lifetime value. That requires adopting techniques that are new to the games industry. Personalization, ongoing UX optimization, targeted in-game marketing campaigns and continuous A/B testing. This session will cover six key learnings that anyone responsible for monetization needs to take on board.
Chis Book from Distimo explores how to effectively interpret app analytics data and apply your findings to make strategic decisions that will take your apps to the next level. This is a “hands on” case study of how developers can use data to satisfy customers that goes beyond the usual “using A/B testing to choose the best icon design for the app store”.
As game creators and players have evolved, so has the efficacy of monetization techniques. The goal of this talk is to provide a video-centric dive into how established technology and infrastructure can be leveraged to maximize monetization opportunities within the context of a constantly shifting online gaming market.
Join some of the leading figures in the casual multiplayer gaming space for a discussion on the pros and cons of offering players a multiplayer service. Topics include: Creating critical mass (the empty bar problem), chat and community problems, localization, monetization and technical challenges.
Amateur Surgeon was originally designed as a premium game, clocking up more than 100 million players across browser and mobile. In this talk, Paul will cover how the team transitioned the franchise to freemium in its latest iteration, Amateur Surgeon 3, with a candid take on lessons learned and advice for indies on considering building a freemium mobile title.
Nowadays, people can create almost anything on mobile devices – take great photos, compose, paint, even shape virtual pottery. But can they create games? Discussion on design challenges the Createrria team faced when working on game creation app for players, not developers.
Social casino gaming became a business in itself, with casino operators often looking from the sidelines. Holland Casino (a state owned company) has announced that as part of their strategy, they will introduce Social casino games into the market, prior to their post regulated Real Money Gaming offering. Also Dutch TV production house Endemol (famous for its Big Brother brand) added an Social Gaming in its portfolio with the investment in Raf Keustermans Plumbee – while the UK office Endemol Gaming is very active in real money gaming activities with Deal or No Deal and other games. During this session we are looking at overlaps, convergence of the 2 businesses.
The Social Casino industry operates in rapidly changing market conditions. What market forces do you need to master in order to become (or stay) a relevant contender in the industry?
¡Oh My GlobZ Mucho Party! is a tactile party game for two players on the same iOS or Android screen. Discover how the concept emerged, how preproduction happened, and the game design challenges of doing a tactile party game. We'll talk about production discoveries, as well as the tools, processes and financing.
A small prototype continued to grow into the most ambitious project we;ve ever done. Where do you draw the line, when is a project good enough for release? In this presentation, Yoeri explains the making of Wild Ride West, from concept art to cinematic scenes. What are the dangers, but also the advantages of not setting strict boundaries on your dream project?
The explosive growth of the social gaming market – with 300 million MAU on Facebook alone - this domain is well and truly on the radar of online casino operators interested in tapping into this trend. On the other hand, because only about 2% of social gamers are paying players, social gaming operators are looking towards the $30.3 billion online casino industry to figure out how to better monetize their player base.
In a sound bite: Social games have the reach, while online gambling has the money.
Pini Yakuel, Optimove's Founder and CEO, will discuss extensive opportunities for these two domains to accelerate each other’s growth, providing a closer look at how players differ for these domains and what implications the differences have.
In this talk, an indie game developer will share the learnings from working with a publisher on his mobile game, Pretentious Game. Forget everything you've read about publishers, here's a first-hand experience plus some tips and info I would never have known if I had self-published.
The days of easy/cheap growth are over--the social casino vertical is very crowded, and some say saturated. CPIs are going through the roof, production costs are increasing; and multi-billion dollar casino giants are dominating the category. Raf Keustermans of Plumbee, a start-up that reached the top ranks within 3 years, outlines how small players or new start-ups can survive, and even grow, in these circumstances, focusing on how to scale in a competitive environment; the increasing importance of brands and recognizable IP; the relative merits and downsides of single product vs. portfolio product strategy; and how viable a route real-money gaming is for social casino studios.
A real-world look at the issues developers face in the most popular social genre including regulation, responsibility and the RMG opportunity. Includes a case study on integration, launch and early results with Betable.
Join us for the Indie Prize Awards Ceremony at Administratiezaal at 12:00!
Your players want to feel the VIP touch! Give them the choices they want by predicting and personalizing game content to best fit each player’s style and personality. For the first time, any game can create personalized experiences for millions of players with a totally automated API platform optimized by self-taught, machine-learning algorithms. Predictive personalization improves player experience, and may forever change the one-size-fits-all legacy designs. Dive deep into data visuals of what your players really like, without any of the tedious off-line segmentation analyses, and without having to employ a spaceship-full of data scientists. Join us in this session to review a new approach to game design that harnesses machine-learning to personalize content dynamically during gameplay.
Making indie games isn't easy. With only a small team you have to manage to achieve the same feats that big and well-funded companies do. Oded Sharon brings in examples of success and failures from his 15-year career as an indie game developer including self publishing, Indie PR, team building and management. Crowdfunding ups and downs (from Leisure Suit Larry to Bolt Riley) will be discussed, along with general life advice aimed at Indie game developers.
The 21-35 demographic has grown up with high-fidelity multimedia. Gambling experiences offered today are not interesting to them. The social casino audience is the gambling audience. To grow the market, gambling operators need to put gambling into interactive games. Game developers gain an audience with a higher lifetime value. Gamblifying an interactive game is not as simple as just adding gambling. The gameplay and triggers within the game need to be very different to operate within the laws. Requirements will be covered in detail and examples shown.
Real-money gaming has become one of the gaming industry's most talked about opportunities- but how do developers begin to explore making it an area of their studios' focus? From licenses to affiliates and Isle of Man to Gibraltar- what does it all mean!?
Betable's EVP of BD Jonathan Flesher was in your shoes just a year ago- when he lead Zynga's exploration of real-money gaming options as their Vice President of BD. Join him as he talks through the current state of the real-money gaming landscape and sets the record straight about an opportunity that has indeed become a ball of confusion.
2014 presents a wide array of challenges for the young Social Casino Gaming Industry, and the transition to mobile will be in the spotlight, following the unstoppable growth of mobile penetration and usage, as well as the progressive substitution of desktop PCs by the new mobile coalition of phone + tablet. Any social gaming company willing to compete in the industry without being swallowed by others faster and better in adapting to new platforms will have to find the keys to make attractive but also sustainable mobile games. Come and hear Vicenç Martí, CEO at Akamon Entertainment, who will tell you about monetization, pricing, acquisition strategies, market personalization, and platforms diversity in the mobile scenario.
Arpita Kapoor will talk about an approach to bootstrapping a game studio with Remote Lean Collaborative working as the central focus. She will discuss how Mech Mocha assembled a development team spread across the globe, found people/studios who agreed to collaborate on a part-payment part rev-share mode, and aggregated a toolset they used to facilitate effective remote working. Arpita will share her experience of creating an original IP of Puppet Punch without having the whole team under one roof and without paying skyrocketing costs to contract workers. She also discusses the key differences between contract work and collaboration, and highlights pros and cons of both. The talk covers a quick list of do’s and don’ts and challenges faced in this mode of operation.
Ever since the US Department of Justice’s decision in late 2011 that clarified the government’s understanding of the Wire Act of 1961, online game developers and land-based casinos alike have been getting increasingly excited about the possibility of bringing regulated online gambling to a US audience. Now two years later, only three states have some form of online gambling. Derrick Morton, CEO and Founder of Vegas World, will discuss why he's not in a hurry to get into real money gambling. He'll describe why the existing opportunities in the social casino space are still in the early stages and point out the even bigger opportunities he sees in the fully regulated space even while still staying social.
Moving from Casual and Free to Play to Real Money Casino and Lottery games isn't easy, as many major publishers have discovered. Studies show a less than 3% cross-over between these players. What worked for the Play For Fun crowd won't always work for Real Money players. How do you create compelling Real Money games? I will share our experiences with the launch of our iOS Real Money Slots Cash and Casino Cash games in the UK.
Company of Tanks is a 3D cross-platform online multiplayer action game. Does this sound ambitious? Now imagine developing and releasing this in less than half a year with a team of only 6 students. Needless to say, managing a project like this has taught us many valuable lessons. Come learn with us in this postmortem of the recently released mobile game: Company of Tanks
Extremely high DARPU and the fantasy of real-money gaming becoming legal in the US have made social slots one of the most crowded spaces on Facebook. What is the state of this segment? It feels like a red ocean, but the level of innovation is arguably still low. Is it too late to join the party or is now the best time? MegaZebra thinks it is somewhere in-between, so we are talking about our path and the take-aways so far. We’ll look at the other players in this field and benchmark their results.
In the last few years the "secret" of making a successful game has shifted from the general notion of "one more try ..." games to games with scientifically calculated metrics and monetization schemes. In this session, the game design dilemmas of an indie developer are discussed, along with ideas that define the 5 key fun indicators every addicting game should have, and how to achieve them.
What happened in the social/mobile casino space in 2013, where the ecosystem is going and where FB will invest this year.
A discussion of social versus real money KPI's.
Land based casinos in the US and Europe have been engaging and flirting with online gambling for years. Recently, they have also take the plunge into social gaming. GIven the experience what is their current approach to both social casino and real money online gambling?
Social Gaming developers are facing tough challenges when it comes to mobile success due to competition for driving high quality and engaged gamers. Come hear Josh Swerdlow talk about the power of Facebook mobile advertising and the story of how Facebook PMD Bidalgo led the mobile marketing launch of Pacific Interactive’s first mobile app House of Fun, which put them against the top developers to become one of the largest independent social casino developers in the world.
Technology is moving rapidly. From the large-scale computers that could barely do simple calculations in the 70s, to everybody having supercomputers of the size of a credit card in their pockets today. In this session we will see how classic games can be used to inspire and help create new game concepts and ideas. We're going to look at a few successful copies of classic games, and then I'll show you how to take advantage of these classics and discover a wealth of great ideas in places you might have never thought of.
Social casino gaming companies are at the forefront of using push messaging to drive app engagement and retention. Learn the strategies that leading casino gaming companies use to active new players, win-back lost players, and drive up daily activations.
Interactive radio drama Codename Cygnus is the result of reviving elements of old time radio drama with contemporary sound and narrative design techniques. In addition, speech recognition input was adopted to further reduce a reliance on visual prompts or indicators. This session will cover some of the challenges, limitations, and discoveries that emerged while focusing entirely on acoustic storytelling.
As Bitcoin and other digital currencies gain acceptance, their instantaneous, peer-to-peer and frictionless transactions hold great promise in helping online merchants worldwide find new customers at higher margins. Absent traditional credit card chargebacks, however, the question of consumer protection becomes the next "Hot Topic!" Whether you're an online gaming site interested in increasing traffic, an eCommerce store interested in reducing abandoned shopping carts; or a non profit interested in lowering the barrier donations; digital payment alternatives play a critical role in today's flourishing "trust economy." Join a lively discussion about trends in establishing consumer protection and trust with new global payment systems.
No one can say HTML5 doesn’t invoke passionate opinions. After a surge of press 3 years ago, things went a bit quiet on the HTML5 front. Until the last 6 months. Spil Games’ HTML5 advocate will take a high level look at why HTML5 gaming is seeing such a resurgence, as well as go deep on the technology and business models available to developers for HTML5 gaming. He’ll also look into the short-term benefits and challenges around developing games with HTML5, as well what’s on the horizon.
So, you’ve got a great idea for a game (or maybe you’ve already launched one), and you want to build a legitimate gaming studio. What does it take to turn your vision into reality? You’ll need to think not only about the game development itself, but about your business model, your technology infrastructure, your hiring needs and more. In this talk, three senior executives from 5th Planet Games share their insights for how to successfully launch an indie gaming studio.
Whether you know nothing or a lot about classical theory and ear training, this session will give you some easy to use ideas you can implement in your game music composition work. These ideas will elevate the art form of video game score creation and drive better sales and brand strength via customer satisfaction and emotional submersion.
Big Viking Games has used HTML5 to create immersive mid-core games whose gameplay is identical to rival native apps. Join Albert as he talks about what the future holds for HTML5 games and what business and technical barriers need to be overcome for HTML5 to become a more attractive platform to build on.
Getting through the startup phase of a company is hard. Most companies experience a honeymoon period, with excitement, energy and big future plans, but sooner or later the magic dust settles down and reality hits hard, marking a shift from just surviving, to having to make realistic plans for future growth. You know you are past start up phase when your business is sustainable enough that your survival in the short term is not such a scary prospect, and decisions need to be made relating to the long term. This talk will provide real practical lessons and experiences told in an honest and 100% transparent way about how Remode Studios has dealt with this stage.
Creating engaging multi-channel audio for Android HTML5 apps can be a real pain in the butt. The current practice of creating audio sprites can be time consuming when sound designers and developers have to manipulate settings for every single audio file in numerous audio codec sets i.e. ogg, mp3, aac and m4a. Marc and Jesse will demonstrate their HTML5 development workflow, which makes it easier for them to set the volume levels of individual files with their custom node-based batching web app. They will propose a format for configuration files and a tool that operates on them that will use configurable sound levels and output sprites to match them. Playback of the generated output files will be demonstrated in a live html5 app.
The web is becoming more mature and new standards are taking form. HTML5 and WebGL are technologies that enable you, as game developers, to build the next generation of web games. Sara will talk about what you, as a game developer, can accomplish with WebGL/HTML5 and how you can bring a 3D experience to multiple platforms. She will also go through some of the current challenges as well as distribution and monetization methods.
As an indie developer or studio, you usually work alone or as part of a small team and want to focus only on making your game and nothing else around - specifically marketing! You give your best because you're good at it, and you're right, you should! How do you acquire users without having resources, with little time and a budget as small as $100? Why should you do it? Attendees will learn the basic principles of user-acquisition and be provided with many concrete and best-practice examples successfully applied by an indie studio to acquire users profitably on a budget. Forget about App Rankings and Top Charts, this session is for you to learn to focus on the key metrics for your games and what to do or not to do when you have limited resources, time and money!
In the ever-growing and relentless expansion of casual gaming, quality and versatility are critical now more then ever. So, how does one compete in this fast moving and creatively broad industry? By embracing diversity. Come join me, and I’ll share how SomaTone has been able to successfully work with publishers & developers across an incredibly wide range of music styles, game genres, and technical pipelines. Our creative process is designed to reduce friction points with the game makers while also bringing creative leadership to the process. In this way, we seek to lead through our design process. Add in some cutting edge technology solutions, and you have a recipe for success for the big shops as well as the indy developer quietly working on the next break-out hit game!
If you are involved in a mobile game development business today, you are likely considering, discussing, planning, or actively participating in cross-platform game development. If you haven’t started yet, you probably are worried about how difficult this journey may be, and if you have — you already know. Is the pain worth the gain? Join Guy Bendov, Founder and CEO of Sidekick Games, as he discusses his studios journey to cross platform success and his choice of Unity as his technological foundation.
Making a game is hard. But selling your game is even harder! How do you distinguish your game from other games and how do you know in advance if your idea is a good one?
Tomas will talk about ways to sell indie games, but also focus on new innovative ways to package and sell your indie game. The talk is based on Tomas' experiences with the iPad game Blocksworld and his work with publishing at Desura
You need a data warehouse sooner than you think. Years after your company has achieved the success of your dreams, you'll finally have the resources to really analyse your first hit. You might even have access to technologies that didn't exist at the time of your company's founding. Here's how we kept everything from day one at BSG, some examples of how data changed our thinking, and how it cost us less than we thought.
This session will be filled to the brim with valuable creative, administrative, organizational, educational, sanity-saving, enriching and interpersonal nuggets straight from the mouths and hearts of experienced game audio professionals. Appropriate and useful for both up-and-coming freelance musicians and full-fledged composers and sound designers. Focused on success as a contractor / external solution rather than internal game audio positions.
Developing and launching a game in general is not an easy task. It takes a lot of time, a lot of people, a lot of planning and a lot of assumptions. On top of those operational challenges, the social gaming market is a jungle where “survival of the fittest” is a very real. An army of genius developers, the most stunning design, super-engaging game idea and striking strategy are not enough. If the hosting infrastructure behind the game fails, fans don’t get the experience they expect and walk away. Learn from the stories of some of the most creative and successful gaming studios how to sidestep the common landmines of bringing your online game to the top.
A talk about the relationship between indie developers and publishers. More often than not publishers are considered to be a (necessary) evil for developers, limiting their creativity, but is this always the case? We will explain the role of publishers from the "old days" and compare them with the "publishers new style". Publishers can without a doubt help any developer in a positive way, as long as developers are aware of the pitfalls, the synergy and the expectations from either side. This session will help indie developers decide whether or not working with publishers is something they should consider.
Creating an engaging experience with mobile development is hard, and the audio limitations that Apple devices posses are no small challenge. These range from dealing with different types of speakers, codecs, playback limitations, compression, to getting the project to completion. We will discuss how Z2 has overcome these hurdles and what solutions we have been successful with.
Mobile games is a very hit and miss industry, most games fail, but if you get a hit you will get a vast amount of users quickly. So how do you plan for the event that your game becomes a hit? Can your solution handle 1 million new users per day? This talk will give an introduction to how we did it and the lessons we learned.
Making games for a living is a choice often fueled by a desire for wealth, fame or creative expression. Ola will discuss how an independent studio can fit successfully into a relationship with a major publisher. Who brings what to the table and what does it take to make a relationship like this evolve?
Important approaches and lookouts for Emerging Markets: Turkey and MENA Region
Our experienced and successful panelists have each taken radically different routes to efficient development of cross-platform mobile games. One uses HTML5, another Unity. A third built his own platform, and the fourth a technology to easily “port” existing code. Listen and participate as they discuss the factors that led them down their unique paths to individual solutions and argue the merits and pitfalls of each approach.
In this brave new world, everybody calls themselves a publisher. If you believe the hype, indie developers are publishers, ad networks who want your game exclusively (and for free) are publishers. Game aggregators who want no-money up front distribution deals are publishers. So what is a real publisher? And what game deals actually exist? And what is the long term value of these different deals?
As the game industry becomes increasingly segmented, the publishing ecosystem can be extremely confusing for the new developer. In this session, Chris and Juan will break down what different publishing and distribution deals are available, which ones are good or bad (and why), the best ways to present your ideas to potential partners, and how to negotiate your way into the best deals for your business.
China, South Korea and Japan have established themselves as hotbeds of opportunity for mobile gaming growth. Japan and Korea’s combined Google Play game revenue is higher than the entire rest of the world’s, while China’s smartphone install base is predicted to grow by 425 million over the course of this year. By comparison, there are only 110.4 million smartphone users in the EU5, and EU5 countries are significantly behind Japan and Korea in both iOS and Google Play revenues.
Unique strategies are necessary to tackle the distinct Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean markets, as each of these countries has its specificities and challenges for developers.
How can European developers successfully approach these markets? What are the best practices and existing local ecosystems to take into account? This roundtable, featuring leaders in the space from China, Japan and South Korea will discuss the nuances of these markets and answer your questions.
In an industry where free-to-play is quickly taking over, it is of crucial importance for developers and publishers to identify and acquire the right players on a large scale. But what makes a user the "right one" for a specific game? And how do you ensure a constant stream of incoming players?
This session gives specific advice on how to successfully identify and acquire players in diverse performance marketing channels. Albert Schwarzmeier discusses different models of successfully acquiring users with a positive ROI. Further issues adressed by Schwarzmeier include variety of traffic sources and best practices for tracking and optimizing traffic.
How do you choose the right publisher for your game? How should the publisher contribute to the project? What can be expected from a publisher and how can you make the most out of your collaboration? In her presentation about the role of a publisher, Julia will answer these questions and give examples of ideal partnerships between a publisher and game developers.
China’s booming mobile gaming market is home to more mobile gamers than the US and Europe combined, but fears of piracy and high market entry barriers (technical, cultural, regulatory, and trust) often mean foreign developers are uncertain about market-entry strategy and ROI. In this session, Rajmund Balogh will cover some of the challenges and opportunities unique to the Chinese mobile gaming market illustrated through case studies and will explore practical routes open to Western developers seeking to monetize their games in the world’s largest gaming market.
Advanced analytics supports creative genius and allows you to take a player centric view of your game. Importantly it takes some of the guesswork out of game design and development when building an effective in-game economy based on actual player behaviours. We'll look at the pros and cons of game design by both Intuition and Analytics and share case studies which demonstrate why to be successful in today's F2P market you can't have one without the other arguing it's not Intuition vs. Analytics but Intuition AND Analytics that designs a great F2P game.
Putting years of unpaid work in a new design and a technologically ambitious game for a niche market looks like a mistake. Nevertheless, teams try, and only certain studios succeed. The link between the dev team and their game, including its marketing, is strong. Especially for indies. Based on Abbey Games' experience with Reus, we'll explore how personalities in a dev team define the process that defines the game.
Kakao Games, provided by the most popular messenger in South Korea, engages more than 97 percent of smartphone users there. With the highest ARPDs in the world, it is considered to be a new trend and future in game distribution, promising high user acquisition rates and revenues. Still, Kakao Games is too closed for foreign companies lacking information on how to be successful there. Inna will share her experience on what you need to be published on this platform and become successful there; what marketing tools you should apply to get the required number of users; how to manage your subscribers after you've got a million of them and even more!
Developing really great cross-platform games is complicated and challenging. Early technological choices determine what design pathways remain open, and those design options may be critical to creating a flawless and compelling experience. Facing the same challenge, Gingee was determined to find a solution for simplifying creation of cross-platform experiences, making the development and design seamless between different platforms. Roei Livneh, Founder and CEO of Gingee, shares his experience of developing cross-platform games and tools to help developers meet this challenge.
Let's talk about bad practices of using Unity that may spoil your Unity experience and affect your project deadline. Oleg has cherry-picked 5 real-life cases to explain how to not use Unity.
The game industry is changing, and developers should take advantage of these changes in order to self-publish their games successfully. Barriers to entry are increasing, however, we will show that it is not too late to act, sharing with you all our experiences in PlaySpace and the Latin American region.
A common developer strategy is to release on their primary platform first, then target emerging platforms afterwards, if at all. Henry Hoffman, creator of number-one-ranking Windows 8 game Mortar Melon, discusses approaching emerging platforms as ‘open betas’, from which to refine design, expand scope and capitalise on platform owners eagerness for content.
So you have a small and passionate team that makes great games? Awesome! But if you live and breathe code, you might not want to spend hours researching the best practices on ways to make money out of your game. Martine will save you some time and walk you through the essential basics for every monetization strategy in this 20 minute session!
With 40 MM+ gamers and an online games market expected to reach 1.4 billion this year, game developers are clamoring for a way into Brazil. However, besides monetizing and localizing your game, you should also consider adapting your PR and Marketing strategies you’re used to using in the U.S. and Europe in order to meet your goals in this vastly different market. Learn how to navigate this unique media landscape to get more users for your game in Brazil.