Behind the Title: An Interview with Jessica Tams, Founder and Managing Director of Casual Games Association

April 25, 2018 — by Marina Sapunova


In this interview, yellowHEAD’s Marina Sapunova speaks with Jessica Tams about her life behind one of the most successful events in the games industry, why she moved to a farm and what she was like in high school.

Marina Sapunova: Hi Jessica! I’m happy to have you with me. I don’t think that you need an introduction for our audience, but it would be great if you could say just a few words about what you do.

Jessica Tams: I’m Jessica Tams – I am the Managing Director of CGA. We have a couple of things that we do: Casual Connect; we also organize Indie Prize, which is the scholarship program for indie developers; and a media outlet – We’ve been doing this for 13 years. We do 4 shows a year. So that’s what I do.

Marina: Nice! And you are so good at what you do! But let’s talk about Jessica. Who’s Jessica behind her title?


Game Developers in the Future – How it Will Be

March 29, 2018 — by Industry Contributions


By Robert Everett

Not so long ago, web developers were unwilling to take gaming as a full-time career but nowadays, they are doing it full time. Some who are specialized in designing entertaining programs have become millionaires while others are quitting their jobs due to the allure of big money generated in this field.

Apart from playing online, if you are talented in a real sport and you would like to take it as your career, here is a comprehensive guide on how you can apply for an athletic college scholarship. According to this guide, if you are accepted, you will have to balance between excelling in sports and your academic work. If such a workload scares you, do not hesitate to contact for academic assistance.

That said, the future of the playing industry appears uncertain and it is hard to tell how it will be like in years to come. Nevertheless, this article will briefly look into the past, the current and the future of gaming technology in a bid to understand the trends of this industry.

1) The Past

As they say, you cannot plan your future if you do not know where you are coming from. Many current entertainment enthusiasts may think that web development aimed at entertainment is a recent phenomenon but they are wrong. Video games have been in existence since the 1950’s but were being designed as a hobby and not for money.

In the 1970’s, production moved a notch higher with the establishment of arcades and a decade later, video games were extended from arcades into homes thereby ushering an era of home consoles championed by companies like Atari, Sega and Nintendo.

2) The Present

From the 1980’s, the industry continued to evolve as new technological inventions came up. It is as a result of this that we are able to play high quality video options unlike those of the past.
Despite this growth, it is disturbing to note that game development jobs have been decreasing since 2014. According to recent surveys on job postings, available positions have been reducing at an alarming rate and the possible could be:

  1. The recent technological inventions are altering the ways we are doing things. For, example, most developers are making more mobile applications than in the past.
  2. In the past, designing of games was being done in studios funded by key publishers like Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony etc but that stopped, leading to job losses. Today, most developers today work either in small teams or independently.
  3. Furthermore, virtual reality (VR) seems to have completely changed the whole playing perspective.

3) The future of virtual games

New technological inventions have created a myriad of opportunities for designers as a huge number of them are now concentrating on making mobile-friendly entertaining apps.

(a) Current trends on Mobile phones

Today developers prefer GPUs graphics as opposed to CPUs as it was the case in the past, as they offer the much needed processing power.

Software developers – Google, Microsoft and iOS are also aware of the industry’s potential and they are constantly improving their platforms to lure more developers into their platforms.

Currently Android has the most developers due to the unlimited flexibility it offers as compared to its closest competitor iOS. The problem with the latter is that its app store is not open to developers and thus testing and publishing software isn’t free. Microsoft is also investing heavily in its new platform – Windows 10 OS to make it more appealing to developers and it is hoping its efforts will eventually pay off.

(b) Computer games

Current trends show that PC games are declining but to counter this, hardware manufacturers are now manufacturing portable computers that are not only lighter in weight than their predecessors but also highly efficient just like smart phones to lure developers back.

Back to the Future the game will probably change as we move on and we might see many developers concentrating more on computer programs.

(c) Clouds computing

This is another front that will determine players’ future. Most of them prefer options with clouds’ storage system. This is because you can play on one device and continue playing from where you left on another one. This is because results are uploaded in the clouds and are synced with any device you logon thereafter making those games more efficient and we expect more adoption of this technology in the future.

(d) Game development courses

Years back, to become a game developer, you had to undertake a 4-year computer science course but today, most young developers are preferring studying on coding boot camps which can be done within 12-14 weeks. Due to the increased adoption of these short courses, many developers are graduating and it is exciting to see how this will impact on the future of virtual playing.

(e) Trending games 2018

Xbox owners can now enjoy the latest releases like the Burnout Paradise Re-mastered, Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3 and Forza Motorsport 7. Others expected in 2018 are: the Red Dead Redemption 2, Call of Duty, Titan Fall 2 and Assassin’s Creed Origins.

The Star Wars games are also trending in 2018 and are available both on PS4 and on the new Xbox. These are not the only new ones available, visit IT news sites and subscribe for latest updates.


Although the future appears uncertain, developers are optimistic about brighter times. They are counting on manufacturers to produce highly efficient gadgets that can play complex and high-resolution programs like Halo but for now, we can only wait.

Author’s bio: Robert Everett is an ardent writer with a specialty in the web development field. He offers deep insights when it comes to games. Apart from writing the said articles, he is also skilled in generating web content as well as writing academic masterpieces such as term papers, capstone projects, research papers, dissertations etc.


Behind the Title: An Interview with Javier Castro, Head of EMEA Apps Gaming at Google

February 21, 2018 — by Marina Sapunova


In this interview, yellowHEAD’s Marina Sapunova speaks with Javier Castro, Head of EMEA Apps Gaming Sales, to find out about the person behind the title, what interests him in life besides work and what brought him to Casual Connect in Kyiv.

Marina: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Javi. Could you kick things off by sharing with our audience what company you work for and your title?

Javier: For the last 5 years, I’ve been working at Google. I started working at the Google Cloud team and then I moved to the Google apps business. Currently, I am managing a team of colleagues who are working with gaming companies across EMEA, so pretty much working with most of our top gaming companies. 

ContributionsIndustryKyiv 2017Video Coverage

How to Accelerate Your Game Growth into 2020: A 360° View from Industry Experts

November 15, 2017 — by Industry Contributions


By Marina Sapunova, Marketing Content Manager, yellowHEAD

At Casual Connect Kyiv last month, yellowHEAD hosted an insightful panel titled “Accelerating Your Game Growth into 2020 with Key UA Techniques”. The participants were Javier Castro of Google, Jan Chichlowski of Vivid Games, and Alex Keselman of AppsFlyer.

During the panel, they discussed the future of user acquisition, the impact of app store optimization, the growing role of creatives, and the major changes that happened this year which will influence UA strategy in the future. They also touched on the constant challenge of rising CPIs and shared strategical approaches on how to overcome it and get set for growth moving forward into 2020.

The role of AI and machine-learning technologies with predictive algorithms were particularly in the spotlight of the conversation. A lot of insider information was shared by Google regarding Universal App Campaigns, how to adapt to the shift of all mobile app install campaigns coming together under one umbrella, and what to expect from this change.

It was a unique opportunity for the audience to get a 360° view of the industry and learn from the experts on how to overcome the current UA challenges, while seeking innovative ways to fuel app growth going into the near future.

For the full synopsis and video of the panel, please visit

ContributionsIndustryPR & Marketing

The Role of AI in UA: A Future Without Campaign Managers?

September 5, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

By Ori Meiry, Head of Social Acquisition, yellowHEAD

Earlier this month, yellowHEAD had the pleasure of discussing user acquisition and retention for mobile games at Casual Connect USA 2017 in Seattle. Together with three leading players in the social casino arena – DoubleDown Interactive, Zynga and Playtika – we shared the latest trends we foresee developing in 2018 when it comes to maximizing acquisition campaigns.


Playable Ads Are Here To Stay – And That’s A Good Thing

August 15, 2017 — by Industry Contributions


by Bryan Buskas, Chief Customer Officer, AdColony

Mobile monetization is easy…said no one ever.

But it’s true: even though the advertising industry has come incredibly far since the early days of the mobile banner, the way we deliver advertising experiences and messages to consumers in apps still has significant room for improvement. And the shift from fixed-budget, brand awareness advertising to highly measured, performance-based campaigns is only further expanding this gap. Advertisers are expecting more from mobile than ever before – and publishers must be able to support the ad experiences that drive these outcomes.

The ideal ad experience

What are these ad experiences, though? Is it full-screen video, leveraging the power of sight, sound and motion? Is it interactive and sensory experiences, using features like haptic effects and 360-degree video? The answer is yes, yes and yes – to all of the above. The best mobile ads are those that integrate multiple elements and formats, that are truly a hybrid of everything that is possible on mobile today.

However, there is one component that, whether it’s the foundation of the experience or simply an added component, consistently improves the quality – and hence performance – of every mobile advertisement. “Gamification,” or introducing elements of fun and competition (e.g., points, rewards, scoreboards, levels, rules) has long been proven to deepen engagement and satisfaction with ads. It makes an ad participatory and draws in the user (pull tactic) versus simply illustrating or explaining (push).

That’s why playables ads are here to stay. They attract and engage mobile users not just because they are new and different, but because they are truly opt-in. Rather than interrupt the content experience, they give the user the option of seamlessly moving into a different one – and when they’re done, moving right back, almost like an interlude.

Poised for massive growth

So it’s of little surprise that in an app developer survey we ran earlier this year, we found that playable ads were, by far, the mobile ad experience that gaming advertisers were most excited about in 2017 – much more so than full-screen video or social video. Already, more than half (64 percent) of app install marketers are using playable ads, and 7 out of 10 of them find playables to be effective.

On our platform, we’ve found that they can drive 100 percent higher install rates for mobile apps – more than double the rates of full-screen HD video ads. The demand is so high that many ad companies cannot build playables fast enough to keep up with it.

Not just for gaming advertisers

While app install marketers were the first to fully harness the power of playables, creating mini-games that drive downloads of their game, we’ve seen other verticals quickly catch on. Entertainment companies have started to “gamify” their movie trailers: For Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Disney’s campaign let players go on a treasure hunt for specific items hidden inside a video, and they were rewarded with additional video content from the film for everything they found.

For Transformers: The Last Knight, users had to “wipe away” the dust that was accumulating on the screen in order to keep watching trailer content. Brands in other verticals, like QSR (Buffalo Wild Wings), are also integrating game elements into their mobile ad experiences and seeing stellar results. Users are not only fully engaging with the ad (versus multi-tasking or passively viewing) but they are choosing to replay it over and over again – which multiplies the awareness impact and is a clear indicator of developing real brand loyalty.

3 reasons publishers should embrace playables

With so much positive advertiser sentiment and user engagement, you would think that publishers and app developers would be excited about playables, right? But the most common complaint is that they are almost “too good.” That is, the mini-game competes with their own, and users could be drawn away from their app.

I’m here to tell you that is no reason to eschew playables in your app – playables can have many positive impacts to your monetization. Here’s why:

  1. Playables enhance user experience. Playables can add to the positive experience that users have in your app, not detract from it. And, just as mobile users became accustomed to value exchange (rewarded video) ads and started looking forward to using them in certain apps to build virtual currency or unlock gated content, they will also return to app environments that offer enjoyable mini-game ad experiences (versus annoying banner ads).
  2. They pay a lot more. Playables have extremely high conversion rates, and users that do convert are less likely to uninstall the app, since they’ve already tried and enjoyed the game. Free trials work! They are also more likely to spend money and engage in high-value activities within the app later. This all means high value for advertisers, and therefore much higher eCPMs for publishers.
  3. Incremental revenue stream. Playables can immediately run inside an existing video or interstitial display zone, but as they grow in popularity with users and advertisers, savvy publishers will begin to build a specific home for them as a “demo center” for discovering new apps. Since this essentially compartmentalizes the playable ads, giving them their own section, it’s a great way to address concerns from publishers that they distract the user from the game experience. With higher payouts for publishers, users could try new apps to get more points and even larger rewards than exist today with video.

As mobile users ourselves, we all get excited when we discover a new app. We tell our friends, family and everyone about it. But what if ads actually become games themselves and allow us to “play” instead of just see and hear? All of our lives could become a tad bit more exciting with some much-needed play.


iOS 11: Top Three Ways to Power Up

August 11, 2017 — by Industry Contributions


By Rob Percival, Udemy Instructor

Sure, when you think Apple, you think hype. iOS 11, the latest update to come down the pipeline, is heralded by Apple as setting a “new standard for the world’s most advanced mobile operating system.” So what makes iOS 11 any different from previous updates, and are the headlines we’ve seen to date praising the operating system on point? That’s still to be determined, but Apple’s latest does promise to arm developers with a bevy of new tools and customizing options. For developers looking to take advantage of iOS 11’s strongest features, here are three ways to power up.


More Entries for the Indie Prize at Casual Connect USA

July 20, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton


More developers have entered games for Casual Connect USA Indie Prize. These include Guilt Battle Arena from Invincible Cat in Canada, duOS from Team duOS in the United States, Iron Tides from Crash Wave Games in Canada, Light Tracer from Oasis Games/Void Dimensions in China, Vidar from Razbury Games in the United States, Don’t Kill the Knight from Penguin Spot Games Ltd in Brazil and eQuiz from SilverMotion, Inc. in the United States.


BIG Festival: Showcasing Brazil’s Games Industry

July 20, 2017 — by Industry Contributions


By Hernan Lopez, Casual Connect Goodwill Ambassador of LATAM

If you are planning to explore LATAM and you like the good weather, friendly people and business opportunities, I heavily recommend you check out the BIG Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil. BIG Festival is one of the (if not THE) biggest video game conference in Latin America, with a lot of business-oriented lectures, exclusive showcase, important prizes, a good matchmaking tool, plenty of meeting tables, a lovely mingle area –
but the most importantly, a well balanced cocktail of people from the video gamse industry looking to do business.


When Social Gaming Meets Online Gambling

July 18, 2017 — by Industry Contributions


By Ivana Crnjak of

In terms of online gaming, social gaming has been present in our lives for quite some time. Due to the popularity of social games, certain people may even have the feeling the term social gaming has been around for as long as the Internet itself. However, that’s not quite true. This article will cover the differences and similarities between social gaming and online gambling, as well as some of their advantages and disadvantages from a developer standpoint.

Angry Birds is a social game.