Transmedia is an entertainment super-system that enables children’s favorite characters to travel across media platforms and it’s now an audience expectation in children’s entertainment. How do you approach this daunting expectation? At Casual Connect Europe, Plug-in Media’s CEO Juliet Tzabar shared how the company approaches IP for kids games across platforms. In Juliet’s talk entitled Approaching Transmedia in Children’s Entertainment, Juliet observed that “Kids love to play as THEIR preferred characters”. For more details of how Plug-in Media tackles transmedia, tune in to Juliet’s full session below. Please note that there were some technical difficulties during the session which effected sound quality.
The three elements which comprise an esport are: competition, organized tournaments and spectatorship. In 1972, esports began with a Spacewar tournament. About 50 years later, esports has evolved into its own entity within the games industry. Join Bill Mooney, CPO of Skillz, at Casual Connect Europe at his talk entitled Esports 101: The Past, Present and Future of an Industry on the Rise as he explores the history behind esports and talks about the future as well. Esports has a projected audience of 180 million by 2019 and over $5 billion in revenue by 2020. Bill described, “Esports drives the committed audience.” To hear more insights into this exciting part of the games industry, tune in to Bill’s full session below.
Matthew Paxman is a developer at Wizard Games, maker of Cowbots and Aliens. The VR game won the IGDA Victoria contest, meaning Wizard Games will able to show the title off at Indie Prize Seattle and Casual Connect USA.
“We were super excited to see people enjoying Cowbots and Aliens so much at the IDGA Victoria contest,” said Matthew. “Being able to show the game off at Casual Connect Indie Prize will be a great opportunity to gather feedback, gain exposure, meet other indie game makers and just have a ton of fun.”
This might not of been possible without releasing Cowbots and Aliens on Steam Early Access. Matthew confirmed that doing so has allowed Wizard Games to have some great community feedback that has helped with the direction of how to develop the game.
“Our vision of what Cowbots and Aliens will be when we release the final version out of Early Access has changed dramatically and we think for the better due to the community’s feedback,” Matthew detailed. “It’s helped us understand what fans really care about and want to see more of.”
Premium kids apps sales have decreased drastically: even using Dinotrux or Shrek didn’t help Fox and Sheep to achieve planned sales volumes. Bobaka’s Green Riding Hood as well didn’t sell well even through it was named iPad App of the Year by Apple in 2015. Why out? Transform your creation into a free-to-play children’s educational service with episodic content and parents-friendly microtransactions, suggests Alexander Nasonov, co-founder and executive producer at Bobaka in his Casual Connect Tel Aviv session, explaining it on the case of Green Riding Hood.
Every time you think you’ve “cracked it” with what children are into, you attend a workshop or focus group and they do something and confuse you again, admits Maurice Wheeler of Little Big Partnership. Maurice also notes we become less creative as we grow up, so the Little Big Partnership is focused on helping other businesses make sure they are creating something that will work with kids and their families. “With digital devices children get quickly the result they could be proud of“, Maurice comments in the Casual Connect Europe lecture below.
Circle Sweep is a mobile puzzle game from developer Planet of the Apps. While mobile puzzle games is a popular genre, the developer feels like they have an original spin that people will enjoy.
“Planet of the Apps is a small studio and we love doing games,” said Ben Engel-Kacen, Planet of the Apps Founder and CEO. “Our strength and passion had always been innovating new gameplay mechanics. We have released over 30 different games and with each we did our best to create an original gameplay mechanic which we enjoy playing ourselves.”
“At one point, we saw that the matching puzzle genre is a very popular one but with very little innovation. Everyone just keeps copying the same mechanics, and sometimes even art style, from the leading games, making all games feel the same,” added Ben. “We felt the time is right for a fresh game mechanic, and that if we’ll manage to hit the right one, we may even win a large percentage of the players.”
Rujul Patel, Fyber’s SVP of Global Developer Relations, is on a mission to help mobile game developers make money. The key to mission success: balancing IAP monetization with ad monetization. ““We need to see how to have ads work better in mobile games,” said Rujul during their session at Casual Connect Europe. Many game developers, however, believe that ads hurt the game experience and could cannibalize IAP revenue. At their session, Rujul dispels these concerns with a few examples of developers who successfully added rewarded video ads to their monetization strategies.
Kids games in the app store has some of the most diverse content and business models in the game industry. There are many ways to break into this market whether it is by freemium or subscription services. Robby explained that “Today there is a limited content with Premium in the kids category… Other categories have surpassed the premium category, like the subscriptions platforms”. Developers need to keep in mind that apps for kids need to not only be fun. Join Robby Yung, CEO of Animoca Brands, in his session The Complexities of Creating for the Kids Category during Casual Connect Europe 2017 as he describes the positive side of working with brands. “Kids are a loyal audience” after all and “Working with brands can be very exciting even for the development team” were just some of the wisdom that Robby brought during this session. For more information, see his full session below.
Rich Aitken is a composer, producer and sound mixer who has worked on a variety of TV, movie and video game projects over the years. Rich is and in many ways has always been more focused on being a mixer and producer than being a composer of music.
“I’ve had a long career mixing records, TV scores, film scores and game scores,” detailed Rich. “I’ve written for all those media too but games often require a lot of music so there is more opportunity to write more! I’ve been mixing since 1990. The composition part reflects that I was a songwriter on EMI for many years so maybe that’s where the writing part still pokes its head up. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy writing and composing but production is where I contribute the most. I mean, I get to work with wonderful composers like Joris de Man or Andrew Barnabas and Paul Arnold. I wouldn’t be able to do that if I was exclusively a composer…. there are such incredibly creative people out there and I’m stunned at the talents I see in the composition world. I like to work with those people.”
Bundling is a concept which is becoming a useful tool when it comes to games industry innovations. During the recent Casual Connect Europe conference, Andrew Sheppard, CEO of GREE Interactive Entertainment, discussed the upcoming innovations we can expect to see in 2017. In a talk entitled Bundling – Mobile & Social Innovation for 2017, Andrew described the importance of developers staying ahead of the curve, “One to two years on mobile is an entire generation of hardware turning over so you can’t aim at what’s in the market place today and hope to have a good product in the future.” Join Andrew in an in depth explanation of what is coming up next in the full session below.