Successful designers will tell you, it’s not just how good your game is, but also how it’s advertised to get the word out, if it’s monetized properly to generate enough revenue, and if it’s sustainable enough in the long term.
Our various speakers have experienced the breadth of the industry and will look to share their secrets to success at Casual Connect USA. In the Design Innovation track, they’ll look at the future and prognosticate where the industry is going with some of the most creative people in video gaming.
Routes to Success
Identifying talent is an important though tricky thing for any mobile developer to do. It’s a challenge to identify potential, build a team around that potential and push for the team to always get better. There are parallels that are not unlike that of a building a great sports team. Using examples of games like Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and Tap Sports Baseball 2016, Glu Mobile’s Chief Revenue Officer Chris Akhavan wiill look at how games can be elevated to huge successes with the right moves in “Good to Great – Drafting All-Star Teams.”
Once someone has the right team, the potential is there to achieve a worldwide hit. Because of the globally-connected nature of everything, the potential to have a hit game is now much more democratic than ever. Mobile devices are getting more ubiquitous and powerful, which is sure to evolve social and mobile gaming in the future. Aaron Loeb, President of Studios and Live Services at Kabam will examine this evolving definition of fun with “Games: A Global Democracy.”
The ability to make a game that reaches new heights with a mobile property has shaken up the way the way new IP have been developed. Traditionally, they develop, produce and market a movie, then build a franchise if its successful. Mobile games are both faster and cheaper to create a new IP, or at least to support an existing brand. In “Mobile Games and the New Hollywood Formula”, there will be a talk on this challenge to the established Hollywood formula and how a free-to-play mobile game can monetize a franchise led by Matt McMahon, VP Business Development for Seriously.
Getting the Value Out of Games
Equity for opportunity and representation represents a turning point for video games. It’s a seminal issue for games this decade and game creators have a vested interest to see how it will play out. Michael John, Program Director at UC Santa Cruz, will look at how a different definition of equity, not simply as money, is set to redefine games in a session called “Equity: A New Definition for Game Development.”
Still, as there are more opportunities, most games will have to turn a profit. Things like time-limited holiday events are perfect opportunities to optimize revenue as My N. Tran, Co-Founder & CPO of ADVR well knows. A session titled “Christmas In July” will focus on hitting those monetization goals with important experiences gleaned from the top designer.
Analyzing New Trends
Virtual reality is a challenge for game developers, testing various limits that were once taken for granted in game development. Noah Falstein, Chief Game Designer at Google, will lead a discussion looking at seven specific problem areas with working in VR and how they can be fixed with “7 Ways VR Confounds Design Expectations”. Despite bending principles of game development to the breaking point, there’s still some ways to make the most of game design in addition to tips from film-making, theater, evolution, and neuroscience.
VR and AR are still very experimental, and there are many issues to work out on how to make it accessible to a wide audience. Robin Hunicke, who has worked on franchises as diverse as Journey, Boom Blox, and The Sims, has been experimenting with ways to make VR and AR that appeal to diverse tastes. Join them as they talk about different experimental platforms in the session titled “Creatively Casual Games Summary”.
Whether a game is VR or not, it’s important to have the market research tools before a game goes into development and that will be the focus at “Using (Free!) AppAnnie Data to Optimize Your Next Game”. Using AppAnnie, it’s possible to see measures like theme, aesthetic, IP, and genre saturation. Eric Seufert, Partner at Heracles will detail getting quantitative measures of each of those aspects before development begins to save a lot of time and headaches.
Penetrating the Mobile Market
While the mobile market can be quite lucrative, making a splash can be a challenge. There are many entrenched companies at this point and it’s getting harder to get users to download apps. Chris Olson, Former COO of SEGA Networks, and Ethan Einhorn, Director of Marketing at Sidekick VR, will discuss entering the “red ocean” of mobile gaming. At “Top Reasons Why Your Mobile Game Will (Likely) Fail (and What to Do About It)” the veteran developers will share thoughts on how to approach the market.
Once developers have users, they still have to be able to engage them to receive any money. In a panel with Pavel Golubev of Appodeal, Shai Sasson of Woobi, Jonathan Simon of Magmic and David Zemke of deltaDNA, they’ll discuss a myriad of concerns such as ad type, how iOS and Android monetization methods are different, and more in “How to Monetize Efficiently with Advertising Inside Your Apps.”
Innovation at Casual Connect USA
Executives from Glu, Kabam and Google will be at Casual Connect USA. Those visiting the Design Innovation track will also encounter marketers from Magmic, Appodeal, and Woobi.
There will be many more developers, publishers and consultants among the 3,000 attendees and over 250 scheduled speakers across all tracks. There will be networking opportunities during the events and during after-hours.
Casual Connect USA will take place at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis on July 18-20, with the Design Innovation track taking place Tuesday, July 19. Find out more at USA.CasualConnect.org.