Plumbee Studios VP and GM Raf Keustermans first got to know who plays social casino and why they play it at Unibet and then learned about free-to-play social titles and game design and marketing at EA Pogo/Playfish. This helped them in their current role at Plumbee that has been recently acquired by GSN Games. So, what is life like after acquisition? What draws one company to acquire another, what changes an acquisition brings to the studio being bought, and how the transition can be navigated, as well as what to expect once the dust settles? At Casual Connect Tel Aviv Raf discussed these topics in a fireside chat with Vicenc Marti of Tangelo Games (formerly Imperus, which acquired Akamon and Diwip) and iGaming Capital’s Melissa Blau.
Paul Nunn’s expertise is invaluable at a time when parents are anxious about ensuring their children’s safety online and content owners are equally concerned about responsibly engaging with children. Recently Paul described to Casual Connect the work he does and the challenges of providing a safe social infrastructure for kids. To learn more about this important issue, watch the video of the session from Casual Connect Tel Aviv.
What are the latest developments in the social casino industry? And what do they mean for your business and future plans? There is no one better to answer these questions than Elad Kushnir, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Playtika which delivers premium games to more than six million daily active users and twenty million monthly active users.
Elad is responsible for all M&A activity and also heads up strategic partnerships and spearheads regional growth opportunities in new market areas. At Casual Connect Tel Aviv, they provided the most recent information, from the second and third quarters of 2016, on the social casino industry. They also offered key insights into what this data means for the future of the industry. To learn more, be sure to watch the video of the full session.
For more about Elad Kushnir, see this exclusive article.
Stav Goldstein is a freelance game designer and artist who also teaches game art at Mentor College. In 2015, Stav founded Fireberry Studio while releasing the first chapter of their title The Splitting and has since released the second chapter of the title.
Stav really enjoys the advantages of working freelance, including sticking to their own schedule and choosing to work on projects that are interesting and challenging. But there is also the disadvantage of working from home – it can be lonely at times. At Casual Connect Tel Aviv 2016, Stav shared their experience of developing their game series, as well as gave tips and tricks to the aspiring developers who also want to create worlds of their own.
Casinos have been fighting an age crisis: 21-45 year olds generally do not gamble, admits Darion Lowenstein, CMO of Gamblit Gaming. They currently oversee marketing and publishing efforts for the company’s arcade style real money games for mobile and its upcoming hardware launch in casinos. A 20-year industry veteran, Darion has produced/directed some of the biggest video games in the industry at companies like Electronic Arts, Activision, Rockstar Games and Scopely.
Now, with Gamblit, Darion is leading the charge to bring mobile and arcade style games onto the floor with products that appeal to those 21-45 year olds. With announcements like Jetpack Joyride, Into The Dead, and Catapult King, at Casual Connect Tel Aviv Darion Lowenstein discussed the benefits and difficulties of taking hit mobile games into the casino world. “I think that partner content is a better offering for customers on the floor than licensed content, when you take a movie franchise, James Bond, Brides Maids, and slap it on the slot machine”, Darion explains.
Read more about Darion and their approaches here.
The current industry trend of “more women in tech” can easily be supported from the very beginning, by exposing girls to all kinds of games from a young age, so that they would get familiar with the medium regardless of genre. Educational game developer at Helen Doron Shulamit Ferber emphasizes: it’s important to provide them with relatable characters that wouldn’t be pastel-colored and overly feminized as this isn’t what all girls associate themselves with. Tips and tricks on correct game design for girls get explained in Shulamit’s Casual Connect Tel Aviv session.
At Casual Connect Tel Aviv, Guy Hasson offered tried and tested strategies on how to improve your monetization through economy. “Suppose you have the greatest content, great games, great graphics, great themes, great math. You can waste it all by having a bad economy,” Guy explained. Learn more specific tips on how to have a good economy and ways to dodge monumental mistakes in the video below.
Chasing and pitching investors is no simple task. Best not screw it up when you get the chance! At Casual Connect Tel Aviv 2016, Execution Labs Co-Founder Jason Della Rocca reviewed 10 pitching mistakes that raise immediate red flags with potential investors, and how best to avoid them. The first step, Jason says, is to realize you suck at pitching. Learn about all the pitching mistakes in the video below.
At Casual Connect Tel Aviv, Product Madness UA Director Patrick Witham provided insights on how the Top-15 social casino company tackles user acquisition. “At Product Madness, we think of user acquisition as an investment.” Patrick broke down where the lifetime value (LTV) of a customer goes in this investment, noting that up to 30 percent may go toward platform fees, 15 percent may go toward operating expenses, the actual investment in UA and CPI could make up to 25 percent of a user’s LTV, and the remaining amount – up to 30 percent – is actual profit. Patrick noted that the return on investment does not come until farther down the road – sometimes anywhere from 3 months to 12 months or more. For more UA insights and tips, check out the video below.
Tomer Barkan is the CEO of Suncrash Studios, but didn’t take a straight path to work in the gaming industry; instead working in a more traditional computer career before deciding to found an indie studio. At Casual Connect Tel Aviv 2016 he shared his experience of dealing with Steam Early Access and pointed out the main thing that would make this approach successful: people want to buy a game, something to play, and not just support an idea.
“If you launch too early, you will get very negative reviews and that will stay with you forever.” One strategy Tomer suggested is to always look at similar games and observe what worked or didn’t work for them. “A game has to launch when it is already fun to play, it’s already enjoyable. People are buying to play the game and to enjoy it, not to support some idea that maybe one day the game will be fun. This is not crowdfunding and they will judge you according to how fun the game is on release day so make sure it is already fun.” To learn more, tune in to the full session below.