Indie Prize Winners at Casual Connect USA 2018!

January 18, 2018 — by Catherine Quinton


The Indie Prize competition at Casual Connect USA 2018 featured many exciting and innovative entries. Casual Connect is now announcing the nominees and winners.

Best Game Audio

The winner of Best Game Audio was Floor Kids, developed by MERJ Media from Canada. Floor Kids is a break dance battle game that rewards musicality, originality and style. It can be played in solo freestyle mode or in two player battles.

Also nominated for Best Game Audio were Stack & Crack, a 3D puzzle game by Jambav from India; Orbit – Playing With Gravity, a game that has players launching planets and attempting to get them into stable orbits around black holes, by HIGHKEY Games from the United States; and Rumble League, a real-time, action packed strategy game by Lorraine Studio of the United States.


Indie Prize Winners Announced As Casual Connect USA 2018 Concludes

January 18, 2018 — by Casey Rock


Casual Connect USA 2018 has concluded – and with it, over three days of lectures, workshops, networking, and parties. The conference brought out hundreds of professionals from all walks of the games industry – including console, mobile, PC, casino, VR/AR, and online – providing them with opportunities to connect, learn new skills, and gain valuable insights on a range of topics.

Indie Prize Winners

Sixty developer teams vyed for 10 trophies during the 21st Indie Prize Awards at Casual Connect USA 2018. “It is always a pleasure to watch how excited developers are about showcasing and networking – as well as seeing the energy and inspiration that comes from new connections that are made during the conference,” said Indie Prize Director Yuliya Moshkaryova.

ZPLAY Ads was the platinum sponsor for Indie Prize USA – and provided $10,000 in UA via playable ads to the Most Innovative Game winner and a mobile phone to the Best In Show winner. Additional prizes were provided by silver sponsor DeepMotion – as well as Amazon Appstore, NVIDIA, OMUK, Inlingo, Photon, Intel, Tenjin, and Appodeal.

Indie Prize USA 2018 winners and nominees.

Winners and nominees include:

Best Game Audio

  • WINNER: Floor Kids (MERJ Media, Canada)
  • Stack & Crack (Jambav, India)
  • Orbit – Playing With Gravity (HIGHKEY Games, USA)
  • Rumble League (Lorraine Studio, USA)

Best Game Design

  • WINNER: Molecats (Vidroid, Ukraine)
  • SIMULACRA (Kaigan Games, Malaysia)
  • AntVentor (LoopyMood, Ukraine)
  • The Raven and Orion (Always Player 2 Studios, USA)

Best Game Art

  • WINNER: AntVentor (LoopyMood, Ukraine)
  • Past Cure (Phantom 8 Studio, Germany)
  • Brave Hand (Heart Shaped Games, USA)
  • Molecats (Vidroid, Ukraine)

Best Game Animation

  • WINNER: Bushy Tail (Fuero Games, Poland)
  • Floor Kids (MERJ Media, Canada)
  • Zebrainy ABCs (Zebrainy, Malta)
  • World Creator! (Lionbird Limited, Hong Kong)

Best Game Narrative

  • WINNER: Bushy Tail (Fuero Games, Poland)
  • SIMULACRA (Kaigan Games, Malaysia)
  • Past Cure (Phantom 8 Studio, Germany)
  • Skye (Puny Astronaut, Scotland)

Best Multiplayer Game

  • WINNER: King of the Hat (Hyroglyphik Games, Canada)
  • Massive Warfare: Rush (TinyBytes, Chile)
  • Kluno: Hero Battle (Gameka, Malaysia)
  • Imposter Drawster (Up at Night, USA)

Best Kids & Family Game

  • WINNER: Zebrainy ABCs (Zebrainy, Malta)
  • Pets Race (Kooapps, USA)
  • Drawing for Kids (Bini Bambini, Ukraine)
  • Skye (Puny Astronaut, Scotland)

Best Mobile Game

  • WINNER: SIMULACRA (Kaigan Games, Malaysia)
  • Corecraft (Retro Principles, Malta)
  • Warhammer: Doomwheel (Katsu Entertainment, USA)
  • Grapple Gum (Ali Mehrez, Tunisia)

Most Innovative Game

  • WINNER: Molecats (Vidroid, Ukraine)
  • SIMULACRA (Kaigan Games, Malaysia)
  • Floor Kids (MERJ Media, Canada)
  • Vocaline (Flatgames, Turkey)

Best In Show: Audience Choice

  • WINNER: AlphaBeatCancer (Mukutu Game Studio, Brazil)

“On behalf of Casual Connect and Indie Prize, we congratulate all the finalists, nominees and winners,” said Yuliya. “We are looking forward to discover and support new industry talent at our upcoming 2018 shows in London, Belgrade, and Shenzhen/Hong Kong!”

Speaker Highlights

More than 250 experts and executives lended their talents, knowledge, and experiences to attendees in topics ranging from licensing and legal issues to design and monetization. Ted Price, the CEO of Insomniac Games, was one such speaker. He spoke on a panel alongside Turtle Rock Studios President Steve Goldstein, Skydance Interactive President Peter Akemann, Manticore Games Co-Founder Frederic Descamps, Amazon Head of Business Development Dan Winters, and Boesky & Company Principal Keith Boesky.

ted price
Insomniac Games CEO Ted Price, second from right, listens to Boesky & Company Principal Keith Boesky during a panel on January 16, 2018, at Casual Connect USA.

Of the panel, Ted noted, “what was fun for me was that I already knew all but one of my fellow panelists – and of course our moderator Keith. So I felt like the conversation was relaxed and collaborative. In my opinion Peter, Dan and Steve all shared unique insights when answering Keith’s questions. Thus it was an opportunity for me to learn as well.”

Overall, Casual Connect USA 2018 hosted 14 tracks: Industry & Leadership, Casino, Market Navigation, Business of Games, Design & Development, Kids & Family, Esports, Audio, Emerging Tech, Licensing, United in Diversity, United in Action, LiveOps Connect, and the IGDA Mentorship Summit. Speakers came from companies such as Netmarble, Insomniac Games, Xbox, Hitpoint Studios, Atari, Caesars Entertainment, Mattel, Twitch, Blizzard, NBCUniversal Media, Zynga, and many more.

Show Support

The conference also included dozens of exhibitors and sponsors with a wide range of services to help developers big and small. Kristiina Kansen, the Director of Marketing at MoPub (Twitter), a recurring sponsor of Casual Connect, noted that their experience at the show was “very valuable as usual and a great place for us to connect with MoPub’s key audience: up-and-coming as well as leading app developers”.

Publishers, developers, and service providers alike took part in exhibition and sponsorships at the show to find clients, recruit new talent, and build partnerships with others in the games industry. The conference’s three major networking parties were sponsored by Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI), Game Insight, and Upsight and attended by hundreds; while attendees enjoyed smaller in-venue mingles and drinks sponsored by and InMobi after the conference on Day 1.

Two Casual Connect USA attendees take part in a little indoor climbing during the Official Casual Connect USA 2018 Day 1 Party hosted by Game Insight.

London & Beyond

While Casual Connect USA has come and gone, the team at Computer Games Association (CGA) is already hard at work preparing for their next shows. Be sure to catch one or more of Casual Connect’s upcoming conferences in London, Belgrade, and Shenzhen/Hong Kong. If you missed Casual Connect USA 2018, you can find select lecture videos on Casual Connect’s official YouTube page in the coming weeks.


Build Your Gaming Empire Through Licensing At Casual Connect USA 2018

January 11, 2018 — by Casey Rock


Casual Connect USA 2018 takes place January 16-18 at the Disneyland® Hotel; smack dab in an area known for big name brands and famous intellectual property (IP) – whether that means Disney itself, Hollywood icons, or globally renowned retailers and service-providers. As such, it’s only fitting that the game and business development conference spend time discussing the topic of licensing in detail. The conference’s licensing track, emceed and organized by Casual Connect advisor and BD Labs Principal Mark Caplan, will take place on January 18 – making it a fitting close to Casual Connect USA 2018.


Learn to Leverage Diversity for Gaming at Casual Connect USA 2018

January 8, 2018 — by Orchid


With diversity as a business approach slowly becoming the new normal in the tech industry and games in particular (not without difficulties, of course!), bigger companies and organizations already have lessons to share with others aiming on implementing the same principles in their work – be it gamedev or any other tech-focused business. Want to know how to implement, leverage and support this principle in what you do? The Diversity & Social Responsibility track at Casual Connect USA 2018 is at your service on January 17 in the South Ballroom of the Disneyland® Hotel.


Top Liveops Practitioners Share Insights at LiveOps Connect 2018

January 3, 2018 — by Industry Contributions


by Cynthia Tee, VP of Product, PlayFab

Successful game studios recognize and embrace the idea that games have evolved. Today’s popular games are operated as services that evolve and grow over time with new content, live events, and frequent updates. To be successful over the long term, games need to understand and segment their players, develop deep relationships, and to understand and meet the needs of multiple player segments – in other words, to excel at liveops.


Learn To Navigate The Games Economy & User Dynamics At Casual Connect USA 2018

January 2, 2018 — by Casey Rock


The games economy and user dynamics are constantly in flux. Game developers and industry professionals need to not only understand what is happening at the moment, but learn how to properly interpret data and trends to predict where things might head. Attendees at Casual Connect USA 2018 will see how to stay one step ahead of the curve in the conference’s Market Navigation track.


Indie Prize Participants During Casual Connect USA from Europe and Asia Part 2

December 31, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton


Europe and India are bringing a fascinating variety of games to Indie Prize during Casual Connect USA at Disneyland® Hotel. This group of games include beautiful puzzle games, games requiring skills, learning fairy tales for children, games of suspense and, of course, games of competition. Indie Prize is seeing amazing innovation and diversity in these new games.

Game Title: Stack & Crack
Developer: Jambav
Platform: iOS
Country: India

Stack & Crack is a 3D puzzle game with beautiful levels. There is no tutorial; the levels are designed in a way that makes a tutorial unnecessary. But it is not an easy game. Each chapter introduces a different creative element that makes cracking the game a challenge to the brain.

Stack & Crack was shortlisted in the “Upcoming Game of the Year” section of NGDC 2017, Hyderabad, India.


United In Action: Instructive Workshops Coming to Casual Connect USA 2018

December 29, 2017 — by Casey Rock


Ever since Computer Games Association’s (CGA) founding, one of its major drivers has been to push the games industry forward in a positive and collaborative way. Starting in late 2017, CGA launched its United In Action initiative to “foster cooperation between individuals, organizations and companies to unite the industry in a journey of positive change beginning with entry into the games industry.”