Gaining users for games is a tough business according to Barak Levanon, mobile UA Team Leader at Plarium. Despite the challenge Barak loves being part of the fast-moving game industry where every day brings new challenges and decisions. They especially enjoy the intensity and action, in addition to working together as a team. Plarium is their first entry into the game industry and, after five years learning the agency business, it seemed like the perfect new challenge. As user acquisition is getting tougher every year, Plarium decided to partner with Hollywood actress Megan Fox – “which performed great to acquire new users, although didn’t effect revenues dramatically”, Barak shared.
At the start of his career, Noam Yasour, the Managing Director of MoPub at Twitter, UK, would play every game and think how he’d monetize it. Now, in his current role, he actually helps publishers and devs do it. In his Casual Connect Tel Aviv session, Noam examined the recent trend of ads and IAP (traditionally seen as separate strategies) converging, and explained why it is crucial for devs in 2017 to take care of both.
Jelly Button Games co-founder and CTO Ron Rejwan started learning to code at the age of 12 aiming to build games, and has been interested in it since they remember themself. At the age of 18 they were drafted to the ISR army as elite army programmer.
In 2011 Ron founded Jelly Button together with 4 co-founders, and since then has been the company’s CTO. While The Jelly Button team agrees game creation is based on feelings and instincts, they prefer playtesting at early stages to validate it. In their Casual Connect Tel Aviv Ron Rejwan explains their approach to playtesting and prototyping, and shares the tips and tricks one needs to know to follow their footsteps.
Amir Dori, Senior Game Designer for Matific, had strong advice: forget grades. During Amir’s session at Casual Connect Tel Aviv, he explained ways failing is important, how grading takes the fun out of learning and how games can help kids extend their potential with engaging educational content – without killing their passion for learning. Amir stressed, “They are teaching you to be afraid of being wrong rather than seeing your mistakes as an opportunity to improve. Failure is extremely important, especially for kids because if you want to better at what you are doing, you need to know what you are doing wrong.”
How do we thrive in this highly competitive games industry? Developers face many challenges such as players’ discerning tastes and the fact that not every game works in every region. Gaming companies can appeal to regional audiences by culturalizing content and using certain techniques to create games with a local brand image. At Casual Connect Tel Aviv, Robert Pontow, VP Publishing at Active Gaming Media Inc, highlighted how companies can apply culturalization when releasing games in Japan as an example of a mobile gaming market which is lucrative but hard to crack for foreign developers. During this session, Robert reflected, “It is very important to really get the localization and culturalization right. Otherwise, you might not get the potential users.” See the video of Robert’s session below to learn more.
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.