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Asia 2017Video Coverage

Tarush Agarwal: Creative Solutions to Add Customer Value | Casual Connect Video

September 18, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

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As a developer, you constantly notice the changing dynamics of the app stores. How will the changes affect business models? How will they affect you?

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At Casual Connect Asia Tarush Agarwal, Business Director at Toca Boca, gave insights into how you can successfully navigate this constantly evolving ecosystem. Tarush is responsible for managing and growing Toca Boca’s digital presence and revenue with global strategic partnerships. Before joining Toca Boca Tarush worked for the Walt Disney Company in LA and New York.

Using Toca Boca’s method for creating high quality apps for children as an example, Tarush demonstrated how leveraging partners and diversified business models can reach new customers globally. He described the best practices for developers to find creative solutions that will add customer value. To learn more about this important topic, be sure to watch the video of Tarush’s session at Casual Connect.

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To see another lecture by Tarush from Casual Connect Europe and learn about his career, see this exclusive article.

Asia 2017Video Coverage

Nelson Rodriquez: Be Ready for the Coming Changes | Casual Connect Video

August 25, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

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What’s coming next in the game industry? It’s a vital question for all game developers and publishers; if you are not constantly aware of coming possibilities, you may not be able to profit from them or even stay relevant.

At Casual Connect Asia, Nelson Rodriguez, shared some exciting developments that will completely change how games are made, played and distributed. Nelson, head of Akamai Technologies media and games industry marketing strategy, has the experience and perspective to offer in how to be ready for the future. They have helped in the launch of dozens of games across every platform, from blockbusters such as Halo 3, Tekken 5 and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood to the indie games Tweet Defense and A Kingdom for Keflings.

Nelson described an emerging revolutionary platform that very few developers have focused on. After talking with leading technologists and companies worldwide, they predict that within five years everyone will be rushing to catch up. Nelson pointed out, “GM attended DICE and created a research division to create gamification and infotainment for cars,” as an example of what to expect with car companies investing in game technology. This unique platform is just over the horizon, so be ready! To learn more about it and the possible effects, be sure to watch this video of Nelson’s full presentation at Casual Connect.

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To read more about Nelson’s views and career, see this exclusive article from Casual Connect Asia 2016.

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Justin Booth-Clibborn: Branding for a Sustainable Difference | Casual Connect Video

August 20, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

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Emotion is key, and often, that comes through character-driven storytelling. - Justin Booth-ClibbornClick To Tweet

In order to compete in this overly saturated and ultra-competitive mobile gaming landscape, having a compelling brand along with good creative ideas is key. This emotional connection is needed for both user acquisition and user retention. Justin Booth-Clibborn, Head of Business Development at Psyop explained during his session at Casual Connect Europe that simply showing fun gameplay only goes so far. He stressed that “connecting people through storytelling emotionally with your own tone of voice and personality” is extremely important in building and sustaining your brand.

ContributionsDevelopmentIndie

Loteria Latin Bingo: Bartering Through Game Development

August 18, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

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By Misael Armendariz, Founder, Gorilla Bean Games

Loteria Latin Bingo started as a bargain between Jeff Jensen of Megafuzz in Denmark, and myself in El Paso, Texas. We met at PAX South 2015 in San Antonio, Texas, and exchanged contact information. A few months later we agreed that I would create art for Jeff’s game (not released yet), while Jeff would program for my game, Loteria Latin Bingo. I chose to make this game because it is a link to my Mexican roots and I wanted to bring the old game of Loteria to a new audience in a new light. I wanted to give it my own take on the art, as well as update the gameplay for a satisfying mobile experience. So, I created art for two games at at the same time. In two years, the project was complete and on July 20, 2017, Loteria Latin Bingo was published.

Size matters

I had the idea of making a small game – just something to put up on the App Store – but it seemed ridiculous to just make a game and not go as big as possible. So, after thinking about it, I added all the features that I could think of to the design of the game. I added in-app purchases, helper characters, a map to encourage progression, and XP system to level up and unlock abilities, multipliers, different modes and in-game currency. Then, I talked to Jeff and showed him what I was thinking. It blew him away, I could hear him get nervous. He had agreed to a small game and then I came to him with a huge project. “Hang on”, I told him, “I don’t expect you to do the whole game”. I explained to him that this was the grand vision for the game. I wanted to see how much he was willing to tackle. At this point, I had already done a large portion of the art for his game, so, he knew I was not going to go back on my end of the deal. Being the awesome guy that he is, he agreed to add a map, helper, characters, multipliers, a leader board, a store, an XP system and star system. I was amazed by his generosity. In exchange, I did more artwork for him as well.

Be adaptable

So we got right to work, sort of. We both have clients and other projects to do to pay the bills, so this was sort of a side project. Over the span of a few months he worked on the first playable build and I created the art he needed for both games. We communicated over Skype and shared files via Dropbox. Being on opposite sides of the globe, Jeff was up at crazy hours talking to me most times. There were changes I made to the game design that pushed Jeff’s buttons, but we worked it out and kept going. As we worked, we found that we had to reduce the scale of the game, We were using the Game Maker engine because that’s the platform Jeff knows. It happened that at that time support for in-app purchases and a leader board was lacking in Game Maker, and since we had to cut the store and leader board out, things like XP, levels, a map and star system made no sense. So, the game changed once more. We took all of it out and made it a points-based game. It hurt to do that because the programming for most of it was finished and so was the art. But, looking back, it makes the game easier to get into. Sometimes, games have too much going on and that takes away from the experience. Also, we wanted to finish this journey we had embarked on.

Unforeseen value

Finally, after many ups and downs, we finished the game! It is now up on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. It’s my first game, outside of a studio, and I couldn’t be more proud. I’ve had the privilege to work on great games like Peggle, Bejeweled3, and Plants vs Zombies; but Loteria Latin Bingo is special – and not just because it’s mine. The collaboration between Jeff and I across opposite sides of the world, as well as the voice actor, Fernando Lamb, and musician from Venezuela, Lion3l, whom I found on Fiverr, made this an international collaboration. I’m blown away by what is possible not just with the technology available, but by trusting people and following through with promises. Trust is a difficult thing to give; I’ve been burnt many times. But, when mutual trust works out, the end product is much more valuable. I don’t just have a game that I can monetize and potentially expand, I also have a friend in Denmark. Now that I have to market this game with an “indie” budget, more friends are showing up, more connections are being made, and more opportunities are available.

Events

Indie Prize Seattle Winners Revealed at Casual Connect USA 2017

August 3, 2017 — by Yuliya Moshkaryova

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Meet the best and the brightest from Paraguay, China, Brazil, Estonia, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Colombia and USA. Indie Prize, an international scholarship program created by Computer Games Association for independent game developers, announced the winners of the 19th Indie Prize Awards during Indie Prize Seattle at Casual Connect USA 2017 – representing the best of the best in independent game design and innovation:

Casual Connect Europe 2017

Dean Takahashi: Covering Gaming’s Modern History | Casual Connect Video

July 27, 2017 — by David Radd

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I enjoy that my job is different every day, and I still get paid to play games. - Dean TakahashiClick To Tweet

Mobile gaming gave development a medium to spread across the world. This presents a challenge for developers to generate jobs and interest in their games over the many evolving types of technology. The rate of change is accelerating and each region needs to be competitive. At Casual Connect Europe 2017, Dean Takahashi of GamesBeat at VenturBeat, guided attendees on a world tour and provided insight into how Europe fits in to this. During his presentation, Dean pointed out that “Mobile games now lead the game industry for revenue.” Furthermore Dean explained, “If there is a reason to change the order of things in the world, then new platforms are the way to do it. To maybe invest heavily, to dive into these new regions, new platforms in the game industry is a way to create new jobs.”

Asia 2017Video Coverage

Wibe Wagemans: Creating Change in Consumer Behavior | Casual Connect Video

July 26, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

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Solitary players are spending most if we put them into the most socially active room! - Wibe WagemansClick To Tweet

As the fastest growing social casino company, Huuuge Games is innovating through relentless focus on a real-time social multiplayer platform. At Casual Connect Asia, Wibe Wagemans spoke about how Huuuge Games has already achieved category leading monetization (ARPDAU) and has seen success with TV and digital ad campaigns and how Huuuge Games is going after new market segments and demographics. He reflected, “The funny thing is there are a lot of players in social casino who play slots solely alone. What we’ve discovered is if we put them in the same room room with other players, you can drive the ARPDAU for even 50-year-old players.” Keeping on top of updates is crucial to user retention. He explained, “I cannot emphasize enough how important speed is for a startup. We have cycles where we do updates every two weeks – which allows us to innovate way faster than anyone else in the industry.”

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Tarush Agarwal: How Partner Networks are Advancing the Industry | Casual Connect Video

July 23, 2017 — by David Radd

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Listen and understand motivations, build strong relationships, and find balance and compromise. -…Click To Tweet

As the dynamics of app stores change, what does that mean for developers and business models? At Casual Connect Europe, Head of Business Development at Toca Boca, Tarush Agarwal, highlighted how the company is leveraging partner networks and utilizing a diversified business model in order to reach new consumers across the globe. Afterall, for developers searching for creative solutions and to add value for their customers, developers should “Think global at a local approach to do global deals”, Tarush said. “We want to be where consumers are”.

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