Casual Connect USA: Let’s Talk Business

June 24, 2017 — by David Radd


Casual Connect USA 2017 on August 1-3 in Seattle, Washington will cover a myriad of subjects detailing the developing, publishing, and marketing of games for all platforms. Taking place exclusively on August 2, the Business of Games track will kick off with a short welcome by track emcee Salim Mitha, a partner at Evolution Media and veteran in growth tech opportunities on funding, publishing and licensing.

The conference will feature sessions on various evolving game finance models, impacting almost every game developer in the industry. Jay Powell, CEO of The Powell Group, and Drew Boortz, Managing Vice President of Western Business Development at Nexon, will discuss a myriad of pros and cons of the various popular structures for game finance, including break-even structures, studio burn-rate deals, angel, Series A investment, crowdfunding, as well as creative hybrids of all structures. Patrick Sweeney, one of the leading attorneys in the games industry, will serve as moderator.

Patrick Sweeney has closed many deals on behalf of developers, so has particular insights in the publisher method of financing. He’ll talk about the pitfalls developers should avoid in publishing partnerships that he’s seen in the 500+ publishing agreements he’s helped conclude.

Publisher Courtship

Pitching publishers is an important skill for smaller developers to have to increase the exposure of their games. Talking on subjects like how to approach and pitch publishers, in addition to discussion of typical deal structures and expectations goings into a negotiation will be tinyBuild CEO Alex Nichiporchik, Team17’s Head of Publishing & Business Development Justin Berenbaum, Devolver Digital Partner and Funslinger Mike Wilson, and Versus Evil GM Steve Escalante, with Execution Labs co-founder Jason Della Rocca as moderator.

Developers and publishers have relationships not unlike people have, running hot and cold, suffering breakups and “ghosting”. Mel Montano, Senior Business Development Manager at Kongregate, will have a humorous take on the highs and lows of publisher networking, creating and maintaining relationships, and how to decide on a potential publishing partner.

Licensed for Business

IPs for music, films, TV or celeb licensing can have rewards and pitfalls for developers. Flashman Studios CEO Brad Young and Jam City EVP of Corporate Development & General Counsel Rob Zakari will talk about working in licensed IP business on franchises like Star Wars, Marvel, Walking Dead, Family Guy, Simpsons, South Park and many others.

Signing the right licenses is part of a general strategy including investment, acquisition and partnerships. Michael Chang, SVP Corporate Development at NCSoft West and Shanti Bergel, SVP of Business & Corporate Development at GREE International Entertainment will talk about their experiences working the business half of the industry for mobile and PC gaming.

Holistic Gaming Business

Gamers are changing and evolving all the time, and it’s important to be able to think holistically about it when you’re working in UA. Brian Boland, VP of Publisher Solutions for Facebook, will talk about overseeing the social media company’s efforts to help developers and publishers monetize their apps, sites and content.

There will also be insights from leading executives, giving their unique perspective from being on the leading edge. Gawkbox CEO Chris Brownridge, PlayFab James Gwertzman, CEO of and Jonathan Zweig, CEO of AppOnboard Inc., will talk about everything from streaming, gaming back-ends, and app development in a session moderated by LVP Partner Paul Heydon.

Network to Success

Casual Connect will cover multiple broad topics of the industry, covering VR & AR, game design, social casino and much more. Over 2,000 professionals are expected to attend the conference, making it a perfect networking event with three official networking parties. To find out more about what Casual Connect USA 2017 can offer, please visit


Casual Connect USA: A Place For Casino & Non-Casino Gaming Alike

June 21, 2017 — by Casey Rock


Computer Games Association will be hosting three days of high-profile casino-oriented content at its upcoming Casual Connect USA conference this August 1-3 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. The conference has hosted tracks dedicated to online and mobile social casino and real money gaming for years – and this show will be no different, showcasing big names from various different areas in the casino industry during its casino track. However, the track will also feature content important to non-casino game developers as well – especially in regards to a new emerging market: land-based casinos.


Esports, Vsports, Skill Games: Why Casinos Need Non-Casino Game Devs

May 27, 2017 — by Casey Rock


“The casino industry doesn’t have the depth of knowledge on who their future consumer is.” Those were the words spoken by Rahul Sood of Unikrn during GiGse 2017 in San Diego last month. Indeed, a major focus of the three-day casino gaming industry event surrounded video gamers instead of traditional slots and table-game players – showing that the door is open to a new and lucrative market for non-casino game developers.

Skill-Based Games

In one panel, experts from UNLV’s Center for Gaming Innovation, GameCo, Rover Strategic Advisors, Zeal Networks, and Guru Games, barely touched on traditional casino fare and focused entirely on how to merge skill-based games with gambling.

GameCo’s Blaine Graboyes noted that the average gamer is 35 years old and is looking for VIP experiences that the casino industry is adept at – but with a video gaming slant. “I’ve been producing games for over 20 years and there’s just a level of interactivity and engagement that isn’t available in slot games.”


Indie Prize Singapore 2017 Winners Revealed

May 17, 2017 — by David Radd


Casual Games Association has announced the winners of the 18th Indie Prize awards. The honorees were revealed during an awards ceremony at Casual Connect Asia in Singapore.

Stifled, a mic-enabled sound-based stealth thriller by Singapore developer Gattai Games, won Best Game Design and Most Innovative Game.  In Stifled, players use echolocation with both sounds made in the game universe and by the players themselves using a microphone, to find there way around the world, but they must be careful not to attract attention to creatures in the darkness. The game came be experienced at Steam.


Alternative Markets: Out-of-Home Applications for VR Gaming

April 30, 2017 — by Casey Rock


While GiGse touched on virtual reality’s place in the casino industry last year, this year it was a major focus. In its Day 2 opening lecture, KWP Limited Director Kevin Williams dove into VR gaming and what it could mean for the casino industry.

Kevin comes from the digital out-of-home entertainment (DOE) industry which, historically, has not overlapped much with the casino industry – although the two industries have sometimes competed for customers. However, with consumer trends toward entertainment shifting, the two industries have recently started working together. Kevin noted, for instance, that people are beginning to see casinos as experience destinations instead of gaming centers.

Alternative Markets

Kevin brought his experiences with VR from the DOE industry to share with those at GiGse who might be mulling VR setups in their casinos – listing various ways VR is already being used. He noted that many places are looking to VR to supplement their current entertainment options or provide something new for guests.


Indie Prize Finalists from Brazil, Canada, Paraguay and Iran at Casual Connect Asia

April 27, 2017 — by Yuliya Moshkaryova


Developers from Brazil, Canada, Paraguay and Iran will come and showcase their games at the international Indie Prize showcase during Casual Connect Asia 2017 in Singapore!

Game Title: Lila’s Tale
Developer: Skullfish Studios
Platform: VR mobile
Country: Brazil

Immerse yourself in a fantastic and artistic experience, inside a dungeon crawler, crafted for Virtual Reality. Explore the mysteries lying beneath the dungeon, solve chain reaction puzzles and keep Lila safe to find her lost little brother.

The game was selected to Indie Pitch Arena during GMGC Beijing 2017 and will be released in 2017.


Meet the Competing Indie Developers from Australia and Indonesia

April 26, 2017 — by Yuliya Moshkaryova


Eleven games from Indonesia and four from Australia will be showcased at the international Indie Prize showcase during Casual Connect Asia 2017 in Singapore on May 16-18th.

Game Title: Silver Grapple
Developer: Jamie Rollo Games
Platform: Desktop Win
Country: Australia

Silver Grapple is a 2D platformer about swinging through the air with a grappling hook, exploring the ruins of a disaster struck laboratory and uncovering its secrets.

Silver Grapple was displayed at GCAP 2016 Student Showcase.