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.
Suhail Habib is the sole game designer of 87, creating games for mobile, web, and desktop. Having worked with few resources and mostly solo, they noted that it’s a challenge to reach a level where you get success and recognition, but it’s worth it.
“My most successful game to date was a webgame I released in mid-2015, titled Drink Beer, Neglect Family. It went on to be played by several hundred thousand people, and was highly rated. When I think about what set it apart from other games I’ve created which did not go on to be successes, one thing jumps to mind above everything else: its personality,” said Suhail. “I feel that, for a game to be successful, it needs to be brimming with personality. This can manifest in either a quirky premise, striking visuals, or an interesting mechanic that is explored. This is the way small-time developers can set themselves apart from bigger studios, which are more averse to doing something that’s off the beaten path, and in turn garner some coverage as well.”
“I was inspired by a combination of elements. I was always into games and into programming, so my becoming a game developer was sort of inevitable. But here is what actually struck the spark:
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.”
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.
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.
Shalev Moran is Games Program Director for Print Screen Festival in Holon. He also teaches Narrative and History of Digital Games at Shenkar College of Art and Design.
“Print Screen Festival is an international festival for digital culture, and probably the most important public event around that field in Israel,” said Shalev. “I’ve been curating a games program for it since 2013. My program usually includes an exhibition of indie games centered around a particular theme, and a series of talks, screenings and performances.”
At Casual Connect Tel Aviv, Shalev described the dos and don’ts of showing your game in exhibition. “The huge mistake is exhibiting a build that’s just the full game, or whatever they currently have that’s closest to being feature-complete and content-complete,” said Shalev. “An exhibition build should be a concise, measured taste of your game, and in my talk I break this down into a bunch of guidelines.” See more in Shalev’s lecture video.
“Observe your competition. Figure out what they are doing, how they position themselves and try to see if there is any edge that you have on top of them. It can be your design, it can be your art, it can be pretty much anything but try to find one strength that you have on top of your competition and play to your strength”, game consultant Adir Ron adviced in their Casual Connect Tel Aviv 2016 session on scaling games from concept to soft launch, from 0 to 1,000 or even 10,000. They also shared common pitfalls to avoid when launching a new mobile game, as well as tips and best practices.