While Motion Math has garnered numerous awards and a reputation for excellence, many adults don’t understand the gameplay that proves very intuitive for children. During his presentation at Casual Connect USA, Gabriel Adauto shared his experience with designing for kids, tackling the parent market and Motion Math’s reasons for focusing on teacher users. One of the lessons he learned during play testing was this: “1. Kids aren’t very good with words (as instructions). 2. They won’t necessarily tell you to your face that whether they are going to like your game or not if you are sitting right there next to them.” Tune in below to learn how to solve this problem and others when making games for kids.
At Casual Connect USA, the Senior Vice President of Games at Defy Media answered tough questions like: What type of content is preferred by youth ages 13-24? On what platforms do they prefer to access it? How much do they consume and how much do they create? How do they respond to advertising and what motivates them to pay? These questions and more were answered in this session, based on detailed quantitative and qualitative studies of over 1,000 young people across the United States. Alexander advised, “Your content needs to be appealing but it also has to be on every platform.”
Along with other leading app developers professionals, Luc Beaulieu, CTO of Frima Studio, spoke on a panel at Casual Connect USA about what it is like five years after the launch of the iPad and the evolution of kids digital entertainment, current trends and future opportunities. Moderated by industry commentator Jinny Gudmundsen (USA Today, Tech with Kids), the panelists discussed whether we have entered the golden age of kid-tech, or whether the best years are ahead of (or behind) us. For marketing at Frima, Luc mentioned “We have done pretty much all of the models . . . One of the models that is not a traditional model that is not accessible for everyone is to actually have physical product and make money off of the physical product so the app is there to support it.” Tune in below for an article about Luc and many insights too.
During his lecture at Casual Connect USA, Oliver Miao, CEO of Pixelberry Studios, gave a candid inside look at a developer who is deciding whether to put their studio up for sale. It was a rare opportunity to see how a studio with a Top 100 game thinks about M&A. Topics ranged from high level thoughts on the future of the industry to specific desires and needs of the team. He gave the attendees a glimpse into the tactical considerations in a decision like this, including deciding whether to work with an investment banker, how to find the right advisors and the timing of the deal. All of these and more were covered by Oliver who has gone through two past studio acquisitions and is considering if it’s time for a third. During his talk, he advised, “When you are going through an acquisition, it’s just the first step on basically a new journey. And we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us and a lot of growth a head of us with the new companies.”
For most mobile game developers, time spent building in-house monetization solutions is time you could be spending improving your game — at least according to Spiros Christakopoulos in a Casual Connect USA 2015 panel. “At the end of the day, you’re either making a game, or you’re building an ad network, right? You have to make your choice,” Spiros said. “So I think if you’re a developer, you’re better off optimizing your game — there are so many things you can do rather than to build something that’s already been built.” For more insights from Spiros and other mobile advertising experts, check out the video below.
At Casual Connect USA, the CEO of Fingerprint Nancy MacIntyre highlighted the complicated market of learning games and apps. Marketing and monetization for developers is tricky to navigate. Drawing on her expertise, Nancy discussed the evolution of learning apps outside the school systems and parents’ growing sophistication and requirements for games that teach. She provided insights on the movement around “learning moments” or “learning light” games and how to pack bite-sized learning into game play fun. She reflected that “The reality for us as developers of kids product, we are still competing with those (sticky) products . . . If we can’t figure out how to take learning content and marry it with the stickiest and most amazing game play out there, we are basically all screwed.” Tune in below to learn the future of mobile learning games from toddlers to tweens, plus barriers and opportunities for developing at every age.
In a panel of sound designers at Casual Connect USA Aaron Walz of Walz Music & Sound led a discussion about ways to get the most from your compositions. Together, they highlighted Audio Middleware. Tricks, trade secrets and also some examples of how they have avoided the old-fashioned “loop” approach to game music. He revealed, “(One thing) that composers do and that you can do is something called layers or stems (where) you have a music track that has everything in it and then you can strip down certain elements . . . It really becomes staggering how many different things you can do rather than paying your composer to make ten minutes of custom, all individual music.”
Conversation embodies the human social experience. The rapid evolution of computer conversation is poised to transform and revolutionize computer gaming and methods of learning as we know them today. At Casual Connect USA, ToyTalk’s Chief Creative Officer, Rod Humble offered an overview of the key advances in speech and conversational AI, and insight into the types of gaming and educational experiences that can be created through these new technologies that enable personal and tailored conversation with characters. He framed his talk around this quote by Ludwig Wittgenstein, “The limits of my language means the limits of my world.” He revealed, “In our case, the limits of our language define the limits of our art form.” Find out what he meant by that statement in the video below.
Children are generally the first to adopt new technologies. With $21 billion in worldwide sales in 2014, game developers, brand holders, as well as toy companies are avidly trying to connect with this tech savvy and lucrative deomographic. Director of Research and Consumer Insights for SuperData Research, Stephanie Llamas spoke at Casual Connect USA about the current landscape for mobile games for kids. She identified the most important drivers of change in this market and also deciphered the early signs of what’s to come. One example she shared was that kids make up almost 8% of the worldwide mobile market. She explained, “We see that the kids games are fueled by developed markets like the US . . . We expect in maturing markets to see slow and steady growth in the kids realm.”
Recent fundings have shown the HTML5 games market is booming. At Casual Connect USA, Alexander Krug, CEO of Softgames, presented the latest trends and untapped opportunities in HTML5 games. He observed, “HTML5 is some very incredible technology. It is changing the way our users can consume games or content in general . . . They can play it basically everywhere, anytime that they want . . . In the HTML5 ecosystem, casual games are very dominant right now.” To hear more about HTML5 market, tune in below.