User acquisition tricks are all the rage. And why not? In order to grow a business in the game development market, growing a large user base is a must. However, there are many other priorities that are just as, if not more, important. The presentation, Left at the Altar Why Focusing Too Much on UA Is a Mistake, was given at Casual Connect USA by Joe Tartaglia. Joe is the VP of Sales and Business Development for Perk.com. Join Joe for a deep-dive session about the growing mobile loyalty space and some case studies of apps that are effectively using rewards in order to retain users. Rewarding your consumers for returning to your app has a stigma to it. Joe countered that, “Loyalty programs have become an every day part of life . . . when you think of simple every day habit like drinking coffee have some sort of reward. It’s just the way it is now.”
With recent funding, hardware, aquisitions and content development initiatives, the Virtual Reality space is heating up. In a session delivered at Casual Connect USA, Carl-Arvid Ewerbring, Co-Founder and Developer at Resolution Games impressed, “We believe VR has a place in every home.” He explored how more casual, 2D reminiscent games may have a more welcome home in VR than anticipated. He discussed how more lighthearted titles could be the familiar face that makes VR less intimidating to the non-early-adopter and makes the early stages of VR relevant for all family members. The feeling of presence VR delivers is a magical thing for anyone. After all, “Presence is the fairy dust of VR”.
One of the Roundtables at Casual Connect USA called Communication In Your Studio covered questions like: How Do We Get Better? Should We Share More? Whether you are an Indie or a full sized studio, communication is the cornerstone of your business, but how much information should you share? Should you openly share your financials with your staff? Does this information help out or stress out your team? How do you tackle 1 on 1s? One of the leaders of this open discussion was Dan Chao, CEO and Co-Founder of Mastermind Studios. The roundtable also covered tools/methods used to improve in-office communication, getting to the heart of the toughest topics.
During a lecture given during the Casual Connect USA by Ehren J. Brav, we had the chance to hear about the wearable haptice devices which he views as the next frontier in virtual and augmented reality. As we have already seen, PCs and consoles as well as the newest VR gear already fully engage our eyes and our ears, but our sense of touch is almost totally ignored. Haptic feedback provides users a whole new level of immersion – it provides a ‘sixth sense’ within the game that we could only dream of having in real life. As the founder of OmniWear Haptics, Ehren shared, “It gives you a situational awareness just so far beyond what you’d otherwise have in the game. And haptics allow you to create entirely new senses as well, like if another player is looking at you – these are sensory inputs we can only dream of having in real life!”
The Chinese mobile market been growing fast and is continuing that growth at an incredible rate. In her session during Casual Connect Asia, Introduction to the Chinese Gaming Culture: Why Your Game Will Not Work, Juan Li, Project Manager for Portal2China explained how game developers can be ready for the Chinese market. Traditions run deep in China and represent a challenge for any outsider due to both the uniqueness and the complexity of these traditions. One thing to keep in mind is that, “Gifting is so important. It is a part of the culture. Exchanging a gift is a way to maintain the friendship.” Without tools and knowledge such as this, one cannot succeed in the Chinese market.
Becoming involved in the game industry was a chance development for Yuval Ziv, COO of SafeCharge International. He happened to be working for SafeCharge when the company discerned the dynamic, trendy nature of the game industry, particularly from a payments perspective, and made the decision to focus on this vertical. Ziv particularly enjoys the fact that it is such a vibrant, fun industry with enormous potential for happiness through playing cutting-edge games and interacting with fellow developers and players.
At Casual Connect USA, Vincent Martel shared his journey in creating Fated, a VR game by Frima Studios. Throughout the process, leaps and bounds were made but not without mistakes and setbacks. The journey caused the staff at Frima to rethink thier production pipeline. During his presentation, he reflected, “VR is something magical and a brand new medium”. He also suggested to “split your content into manageable chunks” for your audience.
During Casual Connect USA, Mark Cooke, CEO of Shiny Shoe, led a roundtable discussion about the hard questions facing your studio. The roundtable called Growing a Studio: The Hard “How To” List. The Hard Things No One Wants to Talk About discussed questions like: How do you fire someone that doesn’t fit your culture? How do you deal with downsizing or a failed project? Do I raise money or do a Kickstarter? How do I promote someone and then not promote someone? The roundtable was particular targeted towards Indie developers and studios.
The lecture Lessons Learned from AirMech was delivered at Casual Connect USA by James Green, co-founder of Carbon Games. AirMech took four years to make. In this talk, James discusses what went wrong and what went right. One of the truths that James related was, “Without a platform, getting users is hard. For us, it’s not worth it to pay for users.”
Mobile games are evolving right before our eyes, breaking all development stereotypes, and the use of advertising is no exception. Join Supersonic’s Head of Publisher Operations, Adam Ben-David, in his lecture entitled Turning Ad Formats Into App Features at Casual Connect USA. He gave insights on how premium publishers like EA, JellyButton Games, and Game Hive leverage rewarded video ads into their mobile advertising experience, effectively turning mobile ads into app features. One insight into advertising that he offered was, “The general idea is in thinking about your application with advertising in end-to-end design as a complete package for the user verses having a fully finished product with a bunch of ad-ons. Just sticking some ads on there is kind of a tackier experience, the quality is not as good and the outcome is obviously not as powerful”.