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DevelopmentExclusive InterviewsIndieStudio Spotlight

Studio Spotlight: Dropout Games in Pune, India

April 24, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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The Biggest Lesson

Dropout Games is the studio that created Neo Angle, the game that won at the NASSCOM Game Developers Conference in India. As winners at NASSCOM which is an Indie Prize Partner event, they will be competing at Indie Prize London next month at Casual Connect Europe.

Dropout Games had its origin when Ankush Madad and Sujeet Kumar were both studying Game Design at college. During their second year, both of them, along with several other students, were working on a game that was a big hit in one of the college game jams. At the same time, things weren’t going as well at the college, with staff leaving, curriculum changes and a lack of relevance to the game industry. But they persevered, juggling courses while working on the game in the evenings and on weekends. As the end of the year approached, the project was now a polished game and they believed it had potential. So they took their game, ROTO, to Casual Connect 2014 in Singapore, where it was nominated for Best Free-To-Play Game, and on the final day they met a publisher. The team learned a great deal with ROTO, from starting a game and working it through to completion, including PR, marketing and the publishing process. As Ankush says, “It was the biggest lesson we had taught ourselves that year.”

ROTO screenshots

When it came time to return to college, Ankush realized it no longer seemed worth the cost. He had applied for internships, using ROTO‘s success as an example of his abilities, and was fortunate to receive one at a great company. He also began investigating other Indian game studios making noteworthy games but couldn’t find many. A few were doing great work and there were also a few indie studios, but nothing seemed particularly exciting. Then some new indies began emerging in different corners of the country; their games were small, but they were willing to experiment. This gave Ankush the idea of starting his own indie studio.

USA 2018Video Coverage

Publishers Helping Brands Reach Players | Casual Connect Video

April 22, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Who is playing your games? As a publisher, you know there is a huge, diverse audience out there, actively engaged with a tremendous variety of games. And now, brands are discovering the value of this highly engaged audience. So brands want to reach them; they want to reach the players of your games. The game inventory is a perfect fit for brands, but how can publishers capitalize on this demand?

Casual Connect set out to find the answers, bringing together a panel to discuss this question at Casual Connect USA 2018. The participants included industry experts from all sides, including brands, mobile developers and monetization platforms, offering their perspectives on the present and future of brand advertising in mobile gaming. These are the participants:

  • Chandra Hill, Vice President of Monetization at MobilityWare. Chandra brings more than twenty years of experience in digital media and is responsible for monetization strategies at MobilityWare, including an in-app advertising platform that produces revenue streams for the company’s portfolio of mobile games. Before joining MobilityWare, Chandra filled executive positions at textPlus and MySpace.
  • Sameer Sondhi, Vice President and General Manager Business Development at InMobl. Sameer specializes in mobile monetization, display ads for mobile products, digital media business development, mobile advertising performance-based advertising, search engine and ad engine platforms.
  • Sally Lu, Senior Director, Ad Monetization at Jam City. Sally has managed ad campaigns from the ground up, growing them to over billions of ads served. She has also managed ad campaigns that reach more than 200 million customers each year and manages the ad operations team.
  • Andrew Gerhart, Chief Operating Officer of AerServ. After spending time as a marketer for multiple publishers, Andrew understands the complex advertising landscape with multiple ad networks and exchanges. He has been Chief Operating Officer for AerServ for five years, helping to build a world-class mobile app monetization and mediation platform. AerServ was acquired by InMobl in January, 2018.
  • Dave Edwards, Senior Vice President, Digital Marketing – Theatrical Films, Lionsgate. Dave is a news media enthusiast, entertainment industry operative and film lover. He has years of experience in high profile content creation, virtual reality and augmented reality, digital media and marketing, art direction and project management.

The Panel was moderated by Grant Cohen, General Manager of The Collective and Free App Analytics at Kochava. Kochava is the leading mobile measurement company providing analytics and attribution services across many of the world’s top apps. The Collective is a new business unit that utilizes data from Kochava’s Free App Analytics solution to deliver rich mobile audiences at massive scale over 2 billion devices globally through a self-serve UX.

To learn more about brand advertising in mobile gaming and what to expect in the future, be sure to watch the video of Getting in the Game: How Publishers Can Help Brands Reach Their Players.

ContributionsDevelopmentIndiePostmortem

Hyperforma: A Way From Web Design to Our First Game

April 19, 2018 — by Industry Contributions

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As winners at GTP Indie Cup which is an Indie Prize Partner event, the Nord Unit team were given the opportunity to compete at Indie Prize London at Casual Connect Europe 2018.


Our team is called Nord Unit and there are 3 of us: Fedor, Denis and Dmitry. We are true indie developers and Hyperforma is our totally first experience in developing and releasing a game.

Fedor Danilov creates art, game design, interfaces, writes a story and does CEO stuff.
Denis Dorokhov does UI, creates animations and scenes, makes sounds and works with freelancers.
Dmitry Konarev does programming, creates levels, compiles the game in Unity3D. So he deals with the technical side of the game.

And of course, we discuss game balance and mechanics together, so it’s a constant game-design-team-work.

How We Met Each Other

USA 2018Video Coverage

Ad Monetizing in Mobile Games: Benefits and Risks | Casual Connect Video

April 12, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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As everyone involved in the mobile game industry knows, ad monetization has become critical to monetizing mobile games. And without effective monetization, no game can succeed. So how can you learn the best ways to monetize your game. At Casual Connect USA 2017, the panel discussion, The Pain and Gain of Ad Monetization – Publisher Stories, offered some important information from the publishers’ perspective of what works and what doesn’t.

Publishers experienced with ad monetization for mobile games participated as panelists. They included:

Jarrko Rajamaki, Vice President Advertising at Rovio. This is Jarrko’s second commission in this position at Rovio, heading ad monetization over the entire Rovio game portfolio. Jarrko began his career in online advertising at AOL’s European business and still proudly uses aol.com as his email address.

Dave Yonamine, Co-Founder and Chairman of Mobilityware. Dave is the primary liaison between Mobilityware and other app developers and has the primary responsibility for the company’s strategic direction. Mobilityware is a leading mobile games developer and has more than 250 million downloads across its award winning portfolio.

John Boog-Scott, Chief Operating Officer at PeopleFun. John has spent the past five years growing PeopleFun, learning the hard way what succeeds and what fails with mobile games UA and monetization. PeopleFun builds five star casual word games. John has also been a lean startup founder in many other software and games companies, including Ensemble Studios, the creators of Age of Empires.

Karim Farghaly, Director of Business Development at Bandai Namco Entertainment America for mobile platforms. Karim manages external partnerships with development studios, licencors, digital distributors and advertising platforms. Prior to BNEA Mobile, Karim held a number of executive positions in the games industry, including at Scarab, Empire and Interplay.

The panel was moderated by Ayala Rudoy, Director of Strategic Customers at SafeDK. Ayala is passionate about helping game developers ensure the ads they serve in their games don’t affect the game’s user experience, retention or revenue.

This session discussed the benefits and best practices when monetizing with ads and described the issues and main risks of displaying ads in mobile games. Watch the video of this session to learn from these experts in monetizing with ads in games.

DOWNLOAD SLIDES

Kyiv 2017Video Coverage

Emmanuel Carraud and appChocolate: Succeeding with Games and Festive Apps | Casual Connect Video

April 11, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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I like selling something that makes people happy. - Emmanuel CarraudClick To Tweet

With over 50 million downloads and having been #1 in App Store general ranking in over 40 countries for multiple apps, appChocolate shared their story at Casual Account Kyiv. Emmanuel Carraud, CEO and Co-founder of appChocolate also shared practical tips on how to launch successfully mobile games for independent studios and indie developers including KPIs, localization, ASO, analytics, PR, monetization, user acquisition, App Store ranking on iOS and Android. Listen to the full lecture entitled How to Make Your Next Game Go BIG below.

Kyiv 2017Video Coverage

Michael Haberl: Operating Outside the App Stores | Casual Connect Video

April 10, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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I had no experience in anything whatsoever, but was totally motivated to learn it all. - Michael…Click To Tweet

Join Michael Haberl, Founder and CEO of Xendex, at Casual Connect Kyiv 2017 as he described the dozens of smaller stores out there for apps and encouraged developers to think outside of the box. These small stores offer mobile games as premium products or via subscriptions. There truly is success to be found in such niches. Michael’s presentation takes a closer look at these alternative app stores and markets, the players in there, business models and how developers can access them.

AudioExclusive Interviews

Nicolas Diteriks and They Are Billions: Making Music Part of the Gameplay

April 9, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Nicolas Diteriks is the composer who created the music for Numantian Games 2017 game, They Are Billions. Nicolas had worked earlier with Numantian Games in 2013/2014 when they were developing Lords of Xulima. At the time, Numantian Games was doing an Indiegogo campaign; Nicolas noticed the project and sent them a demo-reel, asking if they needed a composer.

When asked about the proudest moment of his career, Nicolas says landing the job of composing for The Lords of Xulima is right at the top. (And, of course, so is the first time he went to record with a live orchestra.) The Lords of Xulima project went so well that Numantian Games invited Nicolas back to work on They Are Billions.

DevelopmentExclusive InterviewsIndie

Yonder and the Circle of Sumo

April 6, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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Some of the Yonder team at GameRome accepting their award

At GameRome 2017, Yonder won the Indie Prize award for their game, Circle of Sumo, giving them an invitation to participate in Indie Prize at Casual Connect Europe 2018. They tell us that events like GameRome are essential to receiving “hot feedback” on the game you are creating. As well, they are opportunities to connect with many professionals and increase your network. GamerRome 2017 hosted many international representatives of the game industry. It was especially exciting for Yonder when two of them, Dave Gomes and Simon Gerdesmann, chose Circle of Sumo as the best game of the show. Gamesauce has been fascinated to learn more about this winning team and their game from Giuseppe Mancini, their game and level designer.

Kyiv 2017Video Coverage

Alexander Shlygin: Unity Goes Beyond | Casual Connect Video

April 2, 2018 — by Industry Contributions

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Among the key pillars is democratizing game developments and solving hard problems. - Alexander…Click To Tweet

By Arno Copley

Solution Consultant Alexander Shlygin for Unity spoke at Casual Connect Kyiv 2017 about Timeline and Cinemachine by Unity. These features include: post processing stack, analytis event tracker, totally new features for artists, numerous improvements in animation and more! In the talk entitled Unity 2017 and Beyond, Alexander provided an overview of all key features and improvements of the current Unity version. Get insights on what’s next with Unity by tuning in to the full session below.

Exclusive InterviewsIndie

Global Game Jam Ukraine 2017

March 31, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton

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There’s nothing quite like the intensity and excitement of forty-eight hours of working together to create a new game. Ask any participant in a game jam. Then, at Global Game Jam, multiply that excitement with the knowledge that teams are doing the same thing in centers around the globe.

2017 was the second year for Global Game Jam Ukraine. It is a partner event with Indie Prize where certain winners are given the opportunity to compete at a Casual Connect and Indie Prize of their choice. Recently Casual Connect asked Oleksii Izvalov, Regional Organizer in Eastern Europe for Global Game Jam, about the event. He described the incredible feeling that came from seeing game developers from every part of the country gathering together to make a game.

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