Are you someone with an idea that you believe could be a successful game? Do you plan to create your own indie game studio? Unfortunately, no matter how great the idea is, it takes more to turn it into a success; you need to know you can get from here to there. You will have to figure out what you have to do to make it happen.
Baris Ozistek has the experience to help you make the crucial decisions that will help you succeed. Baris is the CEO of Netmarble EMEA and a board member of StartersHub. He has also been President of Turkish Digital Games Federation and a board member of Turkish Informatics Foundation.
StartersHub, one of the largest venture building funds in Turky and the Middle East, focuses on areas such as gaming, IoT, digital content and fintech. At Baris’ session at Casual Connect Europe, he shared some of the things they have learned from investing in forty-one very early stage startups in the past 2½ years. If you would like to find out more from Baris with insights into what you need to do to succeed as an indie game developer, watch the video of this session Learnings from StartersHub: From Ideas to Successful Games at Casual Connect Europe 2018 in London.
Funding is a vastly important part of starting a new studio, and M&A is vital for large companies to infuse themselves with new talent and fresh IPs. Casual Connect Tel Aviv has got both covered in the Funding and M&A track, where various partners will be on hand to talk about effective ways to expand.
Fast Track to China
One of the major elements of both funding and M&A is China, both going into and going out of the country. There will be multiple sessions dealing with this in China and Asia in general, including Doing Business in China: The Perspective of an Entrepreneur Who Did It given by Reinaldo Normand, Investment Partner at GameFounders and Entering Asia by Sean Lee, Chief Corporate Development Officer at Wargaming Group.
For those looking to be acquired by a Chinese company, there’s a lot to consider. It can be hard to reach out to such companies or even know what they’re looking for. Corum Group Executive Vice President, Jim Perkins, has dealt with several M&A’s in the region, including the sale of Digital Extremes to Leyou Technologies and will address the subject in the session Is Your Company’s Buyer In Asia?
Large Purchases, Big Deals
The panels for Funding and M&A also have a focus on the Chinese region. With companies like Supercell, Playtika, Smaato and Media.net being subjects of M&A activity and China, it’s important to know what’s causing these deals and what happens to the companies. In the panel M&A in China – What is Driving Acquisitions by Chinese Firms?, Perfect World Head of Global Investment Bill Wang, CV Capital Adviser Jim Ying, and Youzu Interactive Vice President of Corporate BD Yuli Zhao will be moderated by Jim Perkins, Corum Group Executive Vice President and will talk about all qualities of these acquisitions from both sides.
While there have been some of the largest purchases in the mobile/casual industry instigated by Chinese companies, some think the investments from Chinese companies into Western markets has only begun. Bill Wang, Head of Global Investment at Perfect World, Ringo Zhu, Director Business Development for North America at CMGE, and Reinaldo Normand, Investment partner at GameFounders, will discuss in the panel Jumping the Great Wall – Funding Insights for China moderated by Jason Della Rocca, Co-Founder and Indie Evangelist at Execution Labs will talk about what Western studios can expect when exploring investment from China.
How to Pitch Your Company
The panels continue to talk about innovations that will drive investment, with voices coming from all around the world. Jim Ying, Adviser at CV Capital and Guy Bendov, CEO of SIDEKICK Games will participate in a the panel What’s the Next Big Innovation Opportunity in Games? moderated by Xiang Lin, Partner at Troodo Mobile.
Regardless of innovations, it can be hard to pitch an idea to investors. Jason Della Rocca, co-founder and Indie Evangelist at Execution Labs, will give tips in this session: Pitching Pro: 10 Non-Obvious Red Flags to Avoid When Seeking Investment. Sebastian Storfner, Director of Corporate Development at GREE International Entertainment, will also address the subject during the session The Changing Investment and M&A Scene in Mobile Gaming: Opportunities for Developers.
Seize the Opportunities
Whether you’re looking for investments or hoping to invest, there will be plenty of customers at Casual Connect Tel Aviv on November 1-3. Look to network during the formal events that will be offered, in addition to between the various sessions and panels. Find out more about the Funding And M&A track and more at TelAviv.CasualConnect.org.
The importance of the Asian market can’t be undersold, even to software companies in Europe and the Middle East. That is why Casual Connect Tel Aviv has several sessions dealing with China, Korea, Japan and the rest of the Asian region across multiple tracks. It will all get kicked off with Baris Ozistek, CEO of Netmarble EMEA, providing the keynote session titled Asia: Insights & Strategies for Mobile Game Developers.
East and West Transfers
One of the largest misconceptions about Asia is how diverse the whole region is. There are many differences between Korea, China and Japan, and they should be taken into account before any developer brings their game to any of those countries.
Of course, it’s not just games from other regions coming into China; increasingly, Chinese games are being exported to Western markets. There’s plenty to learn from this wave of Chinese games, including things that Chinese developers should keep in mind from Western game developers. Tong Xu, CEO of Narvalous, foresees a Chinese game becoming the top grossing title on the iOS store, and will talk about that and recent trends in their session: Chinese VR Games and Their Affect on the Global VR Landscape.
'I work with talented, passionate, creative teams who disrupt various industries' - Gigi LevyClick To Tweet
NFX Guild’s Founding Partner Gigi Levy gets hundreds of emails a month, all from great entrepeneurs, but has to say “no” to 99% of them. You’re a strong team, and you’re building a potentially great game…so why can’t you land that critical investment you’ve been chasing for so long? The answer is probably not as complicated as you think. In the Casual Connect USA panel, Gigi and their colleagues from IDG Ventures, Bullpen Capital, CrossCut Ventures, flaregames and Execution Labs give the no-B.S. reasons why they keep telling you no so that the next time you pitch them you might actually get a yes.
Investment is a critical decision in the game industry, whether you are a company founder looking for investors or a potential investor looking for opportunities. At Casual Connect USA, a panel of experts discussed today’s VR investment landscape. Among these experts was Marco DeMiroz, co-founder and general partner of Venture Reality Fund. Marco has held executive positions with leading technology companies and global investments, including Managing Director of Evolution Media Partners, leading its investment in Jaunt VR and now a board observer. Currently Marco is a board member at Swrve and advises companies in the VR/AR sector.
The panelists discussed their portfolios, why they chose these companies and what companies they are looking to invest in for in both short and long term. They also described possibilities for funding a variety of VR projects and offered insights into optimizing investor/founder relationships. When turning down a developer, Marco is a believer in explaining why and avoiding an easy mistake. So they “deliberately tell the team why we don’t like the idea . . . In my opinion, that really helps because hearing it’s not a good fit for us and we’ll see you later doesn’t really help anyone.” To learn more insights from Marco and other professionals, be sure to watch the video of the session below.
What will it take to make sure your game will succeed? If you believe that visibility resulting from a high ranking on the app store charts is what ensures success, you are not alone. But Martin Macmillan, CEO of Pollen VC, has some information that may alter your thinking.
Pollen VC is a data-driven financial service that gives developers faster access to their app store revenues. Developers can then rapidly reinvest their earnings into their businesses, becoming less reliant on credit or investment. They can then finance user acquisition and growth securely and cost effectively.
Research from Pollen VC shows that, even without a Top 25 ranking in the app store, an increasing number of games are generating revenues of more than a million dollars a year. Martin’s session at Casual Connect Asia described how your game can do the same and how to prepare for launch to ensure success. Martin pointed out, “Recycling revenue gives you 4x more User Acquisition. More than 2000 developers makes $1,000,000 USD a year.” If you would like to learn more, watch the video of Martin’s full session below.
Online platforms make launching a game to a worldwide audience easier than ever. It’s also possible now for a developer to come from any country and make a game that makes a huge splash in every region. With this in mind, IPC Ventures has launched their Gaming Top Talent competition, designed to draw in the best young developers of online mobile games. The first batch of submissions will conclude on April 20, 2016.
Gamesauce spoke with Shelley LK, managing partner at IPC Ventures, during the post-GDC period and talked at length about the importance of industry events, challenges within the mobile industry, and how young developers will approach Gaming Top Talent, from application to the finale.
What’s coming next in the game industry? Today is bringing more opportunities than ever, whether in console or mobile, AAA or indie, VR or eSports, for investing and creativity. The games industry is the most dynamic entertainment industry in the world, with new markets emerging and the audience growing every year.
As one of Casual Connect Europe’s panel of experts discussing what to expect, Henry Lowenfels brings extensive knowledge from experience in the gaming and entertainment industries. Henry is Vice President of Business Development at Scopely, a touchscreen entertainment network based in Los Angeles and is responsible for spearheading partnerships with developers and IP holders to build engaging free-to-play experiences. During Henry’s time at Scopely, they have published six consecutive #1 apps, including The Walking Dead, Road to Survival and Yahtzee with Buddies. After graduating from Harvard University and the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC, Henry began a career producing independent feature films (Rock the Bells, Visioneers) as well as branded digital content with companies such as Xbox and Gatorade. Henry headed story development at Unique Features, a Warner Bros production company , and led business development at X-UP, a commercial production company.
To learn more of Henry’s insights into today’s opportunities in the game industry, view the video of the panel discussion below.
For more about Henry Lowenfels, click here for an exclusive article on gamesauce.
'The advance of mobile phone and technologies will continuously enhance games.' - Shelley LauClick To Tweet
Traditionally, game studios don’t fit the same profile and growth horizon as other technology companies seeking external funding such as venture capital. In a talk given at Casual Connect USA, Shelley Lau, managing partner of IPC Ventures, covered the nuts and bolts of building the next “ventures” in the mobile gaming space that, in turn, will be on par with other tech startups to take advantage of the ecosystem of venture capital and startups and hit the critical mass. “Think from the perspective of your investor. It’s not easy to be in the business. It’s not easy for them and it’s not easy for you. Just try to be collaborative. Try to think of a win win situation for both of you.”
'No MBA can measure up to the experience of doing this.' - Daniel BernsteinClick To Tweet
Most entrepreneurs see the process of selling their company as a “black box”, and as a result are not ready for what will likely to be the most important business deal of their life. This can be disastrous rather than an opportunity. In Daniel Bernstein’s talk at Casual Connect USA, the focus is on de-mystifying the M&A process. As the vice president at Corum Group, Daniel demonstrates how important it is to be ready, “Get your projections ready. What does that mean: [have] three years historic and three years future . . . Really build out bottom up projections of what your business is going to look like when you actually fully execute on it”. Daniel broke down eight steps to follow in this process, whether you plan to sell or not in his session How to Sell Your Company.