The Evolution of Engaging Games

November 18, 2015 — by Bob Heubel from Immersion


By: Bob Heubel, Senior Manager, Gaming & Content Services at Immersion Corporation

Video games weren’t always played at home. When the industry first started, video games were found in arcades alongside rows of pinball machines. From the beginning the very idea of playing a video game was engaging to players because they could interact with content on a video display like never before. This was a novel idea; unlike starring passively into TV screens. Now they could compete and challenge others just like pinball, but with fictional environments as wild as their imagination.

Tel Aviv 2015Video Coverage

Henning Kosmack: From Investment to Game Dev | Casual Connect Video

November 16, 2015 — by Steve Kent

The best way to be creative isn't to follow a bullet list.'– Henning KosmackTweet Me

With 5 multi-million user titles already, MegaZebra CEO Henning Kosmack shared what they learned about choosing the next titles, setting up teams and creating ever-green franchises. During his presentation at Casual Connect Tel Aviv, Henning advised,”Go for evergreen potential because the long tail of the game can be very profitable.”

DevelopmentExclusive InterviewsIndie

Planet of the Apps: Israel Boutique Studio Makes Waves

November 9, 2015 — by Casey Rock


Planet of the Apps, a relatively new game development studio based just outside Jerusalem, has only been around since 2013, but it’s already making waves. The studio bills itself as a boutique studio and Planet of the Apps Head of Marketing Jessica Sagoskin says they are different than most other studios in the space because they do everything from concept to release to marketing to analytics in house and are essentially a full-stack company.

USA 2015Video Coverage

Capturing Creativity with Game Designer Rodolfo Magallon | Casual Connect Video

November 2, 2015 — by Steve Kent

'A game is a collaborative product and the result is the souls of the developers.' - Rodolfo MagallonTweet Me

Rodolfo Magallon is a game designer at Kaxan Games. He has worked on many games for mobile and console, including El Chavo for the Nintendo Wii and Taco Master for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Rodolfo is convinced that a good game comes from the feel and innovative gameplay. During his talk at Casual Connect USA, he offered tips on how to make your game engaging. “Building a good character is very important because it gives you transmedia material, it gives you a way for your game to have an identity”, he explained. The importance of the tutorial was shown when they moved from a long one that was very boring to one that was only 30 seconds long. This was much more effective. Rodolfo believes that teaching the player how to play quickly is one of the most important things for mobile developers.

Tel Aviv 2015Video Coverage

Mihai Pohontu: Open-Ended Work in Developer Relations and Software Development | Casual Connect Video

November 2, 2015 — by Catherine Quinton

'(Game developers) are the kind that can marry art with science, a very rare breed.' - Mihai PohuntuTweet Me

Join Mihai Pohontu, Vice President at Samsung, as he talks about the advantages of working with Samsung. He does admit that it can be challenging to get things moving due to the size and complexity of the organization. In this talk at Casual Connect Tel Aviv, Mihai worked to demystify Samsung’s software ecosystem initiatives. He reviewed the product launch programs, the developer support programs and the evolution of Samsung’s app store. The Galaxy Apps offers selected game studios a new discovery mechanism for their games and a reliable means of promotion, especially relevant to indie or self-publishing developers. “For most small developers, the prospect of featuring is actually pretty remote . . . an indie developer would find that more difficult. Not so with our store. We are not an open store (like Googleplay) but are more selective . . . if you have great content, we will find it, we will take the time to identify it and to promote it”, he explained about the Samsung App Store.

USA 2015Video Coverage

Yaron Leifenberg: Building an MMO Galaxy Alone | Casual Connect Video

November 2, 2015 — by Casey Rock

'There is something sweet about creating something exactly like you see it.' - Yaron LeifenbergTweet Me

Yaron Leifenberg, the founder of Funtactix, an internationally acclaimed video games developer, global awards winner, and the creator of the games for Hollywood’s largest box office movies like Mission Impossible and The Hunger Games, is taking a year off his role as an executive in the company, and embarking on a passion driven journey to create a commercial web video game on his own, taking on the roles of game designer, developer and artist. The attendees at Casual Connect USA were treated to his story during his session, Return of the Sole Game Developer. For more advice such as this: “When you grow your own studio into a successful business, don’t forget about the core. Play and make games!”, tune in below.

Exclusive Interviews

Chipping Away: Studio Works 1 Day a Week for 6 Years on Breakout-Style Caromble

October 27, 2015 — by Steve Kent


Opening your indie game studio only one day a week may not be the most productive way to run things, but these days it comes with a clear advantage.

“You hear lot of talk about the ‘indie apocalypse.’ Well, we really don’t care about that, because we have a steady income,” says Peter Heil of Crimson Owl Studios. At this, co-worker Pascal van Beek laughs and adds: “I do care about it, because I do want to make a lot of money.”

USA 2015Video Coverage

Jakob Lykkegaard and How Data Transformed Teams and Games at Playlab | Casual Connect Video

October 25, 2015 — by Emily Baker


Jakob LykkegaardJoin the CEO & Co-founder of Playlab Jakob Lykkegaard as he spoke at Casual Connect USA last August. He talked about how Playlab manages their internal teams in Bangkok and Manila with data and how they have created an internal economy to give game teams and producers freedom to pick while still keeping accountability and high creativity alive. He also touched on how Playlab is scaling this way with help from external game teams. He iterated, “Vietnam and Malaysia are South-East Asia’s fastest growing markets for mobile gaming and revenue.”


Big News: Nordcurrent is Expanding

October 19, 2015 — by Emily Baker


nordcurrent_logoVilnius, Lithuania – As the largest developer and publisher of free-to-play and casual games in Lithuania, Nordcurrent is proud to announce that they are opening a new development studio in Warsaw, Poland. Given the successful launch of hit game Cooking Fever, Nordcurrent is wanting to create more games with the highly-skilled new talent in the fast growing neighboring capital city.

USA 2015Video Coverage

Jaim Friesen: Giving Players What Makes Them Happy and Intrigued | Casual Connect Video

October 15, 2015 — by Catherine Quinton

'Learn about players and you’ll get better at making games and experiences they enjoy.' - Jaim FriesenTweet Me

With the social casino business expected to grow from a $2.7 billion industry in 2014 to a $3.3 billion industry this year, Jaim Friesen, mobile games director at GSN Games, gave insights and ways to discover the leading-edge innovations that are taking this genre to the next level. In his lecture called Innovations Shaping the Social Casino Genre, which was given at the recent Casual Connect USA, he reflected that, “more sophistication around in-app purchasing, bespoke metagame features and more immersive experiences are areas where social casino games are evolving and innovating.”