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Asia 2017Video Coverage

Stanislav Sychenkov: Monetization in Emerging Markets | Casual Connect Video

September 22, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

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Stanislav is Head of Publisher Development at myTarget (Mail.Ru Group)

If you are a developer of mobile games, monetization is your constant concern; it is critical to your success. And it will be harder for you to monetize in some markets than in others. Emerging markets may be a particular struggle for you. So, what do you need to do to be successful in these markets?

Stanislav Sychenkov, Head of Publisher Development at myTarget, is someone who knows these problems and can give you valuable information. Mail.ru launched myTarget, a mobile monetization platform. It is now a main traffic source for advertisers in Russia. Before coming to Mail.ru, Stanislav was responsible for ad monetization in Zeptolab, the creators of highly successful games such as Cut the Rope and King of Thieves.

At Casual Connect Asia Stanislav used the example of Russia to provide insights into successful monetization in the more challenging markets. From their experience they developed several principles that they and their partners all over the world are using. By doing these things differently they are enabled to increase their profitability. If you would like to learn more about what you can do to use these same principles be sure to watch the video of Stanislav’s full session.

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To read more about Stanislav’s career and views, see this exclusive article and presentation from Casual Connect Europe 2016.

Europe 2017Video Coverage

Vera Velichko: Succeeding with the Visual Novel | Casual Connect Video

September 19, 2017 — by Catherine Quinton

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I make something beautiful and teach my team to do it. It makes me happy every day. - Vera VelichkoClick To Tweet

User Interface is the connection between the customer and your code. The CEO and Art Director of Owl Studio has a passion about what makes User Interface good or bad. In her lecture at Casual Connect Europe 2017 discussed this and how to build effective interfaces as well as how to direct the user’s attention to the right place at the right time. This presentation will help you whether you are an artist or not to design better layouts that help increase user engagement and retention.
One tip Vera shared was: “Passive and active colors for user interface UI needs a good balance, using gentle shades that won’t tire the eyes.” To learn more, see the full lecture and slides below.

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Vera Velichko is CEO and Art Director of Owl Studio

Vera Velichko, CEO and Art Director of Owl Studio, has always been determined to have a company of her own, but for many years it seemed like a distant dream as she continued working as an employee. But finally, two years ago, the time was right. “I realized that there is no time like the present, and if I wanted to achieve my dream, I had to do it there and then.” So, with some friends, she began working on her first project, a visual novel called One Day in London. The company has developed into a team of twelve and they still work with this visual novel (an episodic project) as well as doing outsource artwork. During the past year they have completed seven projects together.

Doing Something that Really Matters

Today Vera firmly believes that the work she is doing means something; it really matters. This year Owl Studio’s online school for artists begins. Each day brings interesting tasks; each new project brings new challenges for Vera and the team. She revealed, “I can make something beautiful and teach my team to do it. It makes me happy every day.”

Almost all her life Vera has been working as an artist. While studying fine arts, she started accepting what it would be like to live on the salary a painter could make. But then Vera discovered that the game industry offered a brilliant opportunity to make real money doing what she loves. So she made a portfolio of her work and began doing freelance work as a game artist. At first she were working for almost nothing, but the work allowed them to continue improving the portfolio. And as the portfolio became better and better, the more opportunities it generated.

A pelf portrait by Vera

Building a Business

With the creation of Owl Studio, Vera entered a new stage of her career. Suddenly she must be involved in business development, networking, team building, setting up process, and many other aspects of building a business that she had never done before. Their motivation to succeed comes through seeing a goal and moving toward it. When she looks to the future and see there is something still needed, Vera just keeps moving on.

The biggest challenges she has faced recently is making decisions for the company. Vera reveals, “How can I find out that my decision is right? How can I be sure it doesn’t hurt my team?” She has realized that, although there is no way to be sure something is the right decision, it is still her responsibility as the leader. This continues to be the most complicated aspect of running the company.

Building the Team

For the members of the team Vera searches for those who can combine creative talent with responsibility, but it is a rare combination. This is because the art that Owl Studio makes is much more than a job or a way to make money. She explains, “We are trying to make a graphic with soul and spirit, that will take a user to a new world. It’s impossible without talent. And we work with customers and abide by deadlines, and this would not be possible without responsibility.”

The most difficult positions to fill are the team leads. This employee must have the very unusual ability to be a leader while also being a team player. And next most difficult to find are the UI designers.

Vera has discovered that there are no standard methods of how to work with the team members because everyone is unique; an individual approach is necessary. So she tries to find a way to connect with every employee, but recognize that is also important to know the moment to let them go.

Her commitment to team members is evident when Vera relates the proudest moment of her career. It was when she realized what an apprentice had accomplished, something more than Vera could do alone.

Developing and Testing a Visual Novel

Owl Studio’s first project: One Day in London

When Owl Studio began working on their own project, they used play tests of their first demo to form the final vision of the project. They were testing UI, storytelling, sounds and perception of the image, and as a result of these tests they made changes and adjustments. As they tested this visual novel, the most interesting results came from seeing the differences in feedback from the different story lines. The choices the users made changed their perceptions of the entire story. It was a very important discovery.

Now there are no longer significant changes to the project mechanic from episode to episode, so Owl Studio is no longer doing play tests. However, they do get feedback from users on a daily basis and use this information to constantly improve the project.

The monetization method Owl Studio uses for One Day in London is premium. This is simply a result of the visual novel genre; there is no opportunity to monetize within it for using the free-to-play principle.

Vera has seen dynamic growth in mobile games, as well as hearing many colleagues talking about new trends in this sector of the game industry, and expects this to continue over the next few years. In response, she is teaching the team and students to understand the specifics of mobile art.

The Essential Skills and Attributes of Good Interface Design

There are two essential skills to the basis of good interface design. The first is understanding the features of the project and the target devices. The designer must be able to imagine how the user will use this. The second is understanding the topography and visual design. As Vera points out, not every artist can understand how to work with texts and infographics.

Vera describes the difference between UX and UI design this way: “UX design is the process of establishing the logic system that controls the application. UI design is the process of making this system beautiful.”

Casual Heroes by Owl Studio

The software to design good graphical user interface will vary depending on the artist’s habits and preferences. Some possibilities include Photoshop, Illustrator or Animate. The only essential is providing a portable network graphics set.

For someone who is considering UI design as a career, Vera emphasizes the importance of playing games while thinking about how you do it. Also, study the topography design. These are the two most significant steps toward becoming a UI designer.

Asia 2017Video Coverage

Diana Platonova: Bringing a Hidden Object Game to Top 20 | Casual Connect Video

August 10, 2017 — by Orchid

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Even if you create an amazing game you'll still need to put effort in discoverability. - Diana…Click To Tweet

Diana Platonova is the Business Development Manager at MyTona, an international free-to-play games developer and publisher, where her main goals are increasing MyTona’s business growth and widening its branding. In her Casual Connect Asia talk Diana shared tips and tricks of bringing a Hidden Object game to Top 20 Grossing, with the example of MyTona’s title Seekers Notes: Hidden Mystery that climbed the chart up to Top 20 Grossing for US iPad. One of here tips was: “We target offers by special filters, so that each player gets what’s most suitable for them.” 

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:

ContributionsResearch

Predictive Analytics in Games

May 12, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

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By devtodev analysts, Vera Karpova and Vasiliy Sabirov

Currently, product analytics reached a sufficiently high level of development. Many analytical systems are equipped with a variety of tools that will tell in detail how users behave in the application: when they buy, where they live, how much they cost for the company and how they leave.

These tools have become a part of daily life, regular monitoring; assistants in the decision-making process – now it is a must-have for any project.

Funnels and segments don’t surprise anybody anymore, and as in any other business, having reached the top of one reveals a will to go further and improve.

In this regard, the sphere of analytics is no exception, and in the past few years a new kind of data analysis – predictive analytics – began to develop.

You’ll also have an idea of predictive analytics, if you monitor the metrics on a daily or even hourly basis.

For example, you know that usually at 12 a.m. there are about 20,000 users in your game, and today this indicator is much lower. It equals 15,000 users. You understand that there is a trend for decline, which means that it is necessary to find the cause as soon as possible and improve the situation before the indicator falls even more.

ContributionsDevelopmentIndie

Mushroom Wars 2: Concept to Release

May 3, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

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We are proud to introduce our best mobile game finalist Mushroom Wars 2 made by Zillion Whales! As a winner at the GTP Indie Cup event, Zillion Whales has been given the opportunity to compete at Indie Prize Singapore at Casual Connect Asia 2017. The winter season 2017 of GTP Indie Cup has received more submissions than ever. Our jury board was excited about growing professional level of games from CIS indie developers and Mushroom Wars just proved this growth.

This year at GTP, we continue gathering best talents at our event and the summer season will be more helpful for developers not only by a variety of nominations and prizes but also with new Critic’s Choice award from CIS game press critics and journalists. We hope this story about our finalist will encourage you to take a part in the next Cup.


By Ksenia Shneyveys,  Marketing Communications Manager at Zillion Whales

Mushroom Wars 2 is the newest game of a popular RTS series with a rich history.
Back in 2009, inspired by good old Galcon, the original Mushroom Wars was released. We polished this gameplay mechanics to a luster, added signature fungal setting, introduced morale notion and different types of buildings for greater depth.

Mushroom Wars 2 preserved the features that made Mushroom Wars so enjoyable and supplemented them with MOBA elements such as hero characters with unique sets of skills and co-op 2 vs 2 mode. The game is out on iOS and Apple TV. It is coming to Android, Steam, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One next year.

ContributionsEventsIndieNews

Introducing Eastern and Southern European Finalists for Indie Prize Singapore 2017

April 19, 2017 — by Yuliya Moshkaryova

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Developers from six countries will represent Eastern Europe at Indie Prize during Casual Connect Asia in Singapore. Five games from Poland, two games from Spain and one game from Czech Republic, Russia, Cyprus, Italy and Turkey.

The single representative from Italy is the game Downward. The game was nominated by Indie Prize nomination partner in Italy: Codemotion Rome. Codemotion is the biggest tech conference in EMEA. It is about all programming languages and technologies.

Tel Aviv 2016Video Coverage

Alexander Nasonov: Why Free-to-Play is the Future of Children’s Apps | Casual Connect Video

April 1, 2017 — by David Radd

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Art is unpractical, but still is the most valuable thing in our life. - Alexander NasonovClick To Tweet

Premium kids apps sales have decreased drastically: even using Dinotrux or Shrek didn’t help Fox and Sheep to achieve planned sales volumes. Bobaka’s Green Riding Hood as well didn’t sell well even through it was named iPad App of the Year by Apple in 2015. Why out? Transform your creation into a free-to-play children’s educational service with episodic content and parents-friendly microtransactions, suggests Alexander Nasonov, co-founder and executive producer at Bobaka in his Casual Connect Tel Aviv session, explaining it on the case of Green Riding Hood. 

ContributionsIndustry

Ever Wanted to Experience the World of the “Whale”?

March 17, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

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By Sam Forrest, Director of Global Communications at KamaGames

In a high class, sophisticated casino in the 1960’s, Sylvia Trench sits at a Baccarat table. Luck is not on her side and so after losing 3 hands in a row, she decides to up the stakes. “I admire your courage Miss…” says the tuxedo wearing stranger across the table…“Trench, Sylvia Trench, I admire your luck… Mr…?” he lights a cigarette and replies with the line that will become synonymous around the world with, action, adventure, sophistication and cool…

“…Bond, James Bond”

In Sean Connery’s first appearance as Ian Fleming’s super spy James Bond in the 1962 film Dr. No, the movie opens with 007 playing Baccarat Chemin de fer. Chemin de fer was the original version of Baccarat dating back to when it was first introduce to France in the early 1400’s and was a favourite amongst French Royalty. The same version is still the most popular there today.

From French Royalty to the modern day “Whales” as they are known, Baccarat has always been a firm favourite of the serious player. In casino circles, a Whale would be a player that has a credit line of between $1,000,000 and $20,000,000 USD and often leaves the tables either millions of dollars up or millions of dollars down.

ContributionsPR & Marketing

19 Metrics You May Have Never Heard About

March 13, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

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By devtodev lead analyst Vasiliy Sabirov

Analytics in most cases is simply the monitoring of key metrics: DAU, MAU, WAU, ARPU, ARPPU and other abbreviations. Basic analytics metrics represent the 20% of the functional of analytic systems, which provide 80% of the result.

But are these 80% enough?

If not, then our article is for you. We will talk about some of the metrics that are also worthwhile to keep in mind if you want to fully understand all the processes that occur in your application.

Acquisition Metrics

So, users start to use your application. You measure the number of new users (New Users), the total number of users on a particular date (Total Users). You calculate the price to attract users (CPI), the effectiveness of your investment (ROI).

But in order to start the flow of traffic from the partner, first you have to find a partner, sign the contract (agreement with lawyers is often not so fast to be done), integrate and agree on everything. That is to spend both time and money either to pay your employees or on one-time payment to the partner (this also happens). Therefore we recommend to calculate not only the usual CPI, but also the effective cost of user acquisition (eCPI), which includes all third-party costs.

Accordingly, it is better to calculate ROI by putting eCPI in the denominator. Thus, you get eROI. And it may well be so, that on the basis of eCPI and eROI you choose completely different partners.

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