10.00 – 10.45: OPENING KEYNOTE: Ahead of the Game: Talking About the Future With Tommy Palm
Tommy Palm, CEO, Resolution Games
Interview by Will Freeman, Journalist
While he’s best known for shepherding Candy Crush Saga to mobile – and so helping to bankroll King’s $7 billion IPO in 2014 – Tommy Palm’s overnight success story stretches back to the 1980s, when he began programming games for the Commodore 64. Between then and the dizzying success of King’s bestseller, Palm founded four companies and he has just revealed his fifth, Resolution Games, will be a development studio with an eye on virtual reality.Turning towards the embryonic potential of VR rather than resting on his mobile gaming laurels might seem a bold bet for Palm. But this serial mover and shaker is used to being way ahead of the pack when it comes to new technology, saying it’s the only way to be in the sweet spot when the revolutionary is ready for the limelight. Our first question for Tommy then in this wide-ranging fireside chat will obviously be what’s set to hit the mainstream next? But expect insights too on everything from founding companies to monetizing passion to the importance of community for players. (Oh, and some nice threads from the man once voted Mobile Gaming’s Best Dressed…)
10.45 – 11.30: A Monster’s Tale – Lessons Learned from an Indie Developer
Dan Griffiths, Monster and Monster
Dan from indie developer Monster and Monster will be talking about their experiences self-publishing an indie free-to-play title on mobile. Dan will cover their rationale for choosing f2p as their business model as well as sharing the facts and figures to date for their most recent title, Deep Loot. The presentation will be rounded off with a handy list of the key lessons learned by the team. If you’re a small publisher or indie developer considering f2p then be sure to bring some questions to the session.
11.45 – 12.30: Stranger in a Strange Land – From Retail to F2P and Beyond
Tim Campbell, Gameforge
During his 15 years in the video games industry Timothy Campbell has gathered a lot of experience in a wide variety of companies. On joining Gameforge, he realised how differently things can be done coming from an ordinary box publisher to a Free-to-Play-only company. During this session Tim will share a bunch of lessons learned and shed some light on the learning curve for both him and Gameforge, which has brought them to where and what they are today in the world of F2P game development. He’ll also talk about Gameforge’s future plans including their forthcoming journey into the new world of F2P on console.
12.30 – 13.15: Data Mining the App Store: Hidden Winners & Whale Spotting
Ric Moore, The Secret Police
Everyone knows Clash of Clans and Candy Crush make loads of money but what about the rest of the games? Is there a way to work out how well games in the App Store retain and monetise players using just publicly available data? Ric has built a system which harvests data from Apple and extracts hidden info; business intelligence that is not available elsewhere. Most notably he has charted the ‘hidden winners’, the games with the best ‘earning power’, and the results are quite surprising. In this talk Ric will explain why he went looking for this data, how he did, it and most interestingly, what trends he discovered and what developers can learn from this.
13.15 – 14.00: Networking Lunch
14.00 – 14.45: How to Community Really Good
Rich Earl, Bossa Studios
Rich from Bossa Studios will be talking about their awesome social and community team’s experience on games such as Surgeon Simulator and I am Bread. How being honest and having fun with fans can help build a loyal audience.
14.45 – 15.30: Retention & Monetisation the Team Lumo Way
Steve Stopps, Lumo Developments
Lumo Deliveries was an ambitious project. A team of 4 veteran developers aimed to create a world class game to complete on the global stage of F2P titles. With limited resources Lumo Developments knew they would have to take an unorthodox approach to gain traction in a crowded market. This is their story. The team are known for creating visually stunning and unique games that surprise and delight players. In this candid session Steve Stopps will share the secrets of the “Team Lumo” method. Looking at their unique player centred approached; drawing inspiration from the worlds of fine dining and behavioural psychology. Steve will give insight into their successes and failures and the lessons that will inform their future games. The session will have practical and actionable examples that cover the creative process, UI/UX, player retention and monetisation.
15.45 – 16.30: Sharing My Adventures in Mobile Games Development
Matthew Wiggins, JiggeryPokery
Matthew will share insights into F2P startup and game development that he’s learned the hard way, so that you don’t have to. He’ll cover design, production, and business topics, using outcomes from decisions he’s made to illustrate what you should and shouldn’t do in your games and companies, and what opportunities you should take advantage of.
16.45 – 17.30: Panel: The State of Free to Play
Chair: Will Freeman, Journalist
Barry Meade, Fireproof Studios
Dave Bishop, Delinquent
Struan Robertson, Microsoft Lift London
Free to play is proven as a business model that can deliver far higher revenues than more traditional ways to monetize games, yet it is also uniquely accessible to start-up developers, too. Why don’t we hear more about these positives, and others such how it cuts out middlemen to bring developers closer to their players, the speed with which both monetization and gameplay can be altered on-the-fly, and the new audiences that free to play reaches that gaming previously ignored? Indeed, will free to play be a victim of its own success, as developers struggle to get discovered among the rising tide of competition – and will players grow frustrated with the sheer volume of titles to pick through? Is the quality bar high enough, and is there such a thing as triple-AAA free-to-play? We’ll debate all this and more with our agenda-setting panel of experts.
From 17.30: Networking Drinks in the Bar