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Chat attack: Top 5 conference talks of 2012

Chat attack: Top 5 conference talks of 2012
Believe it or not, games journalists don't just attend events around the globe for the free food.

Well, personally speaking, anywhere that serves decent quiche is a bit of a draw, but I've also been known to attend a talk or two – especially during the last twelve months.

In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find all too many events we didn't sully with our presence, meaning we're the perfect – and entirely impartial – folks to count down the top five talks of the year.



Develop 2012: PlayStation Mobile to let indies 'compete on a fair playing field'

Okay, this one is a bit of a curve ball.

The room was half empty and the talk was nothing special, but if there was one presentation at this year's Develop in Brighton that gave the clearest view as to the direction a platform was going in, it was Sony's attempt to push PlayStation Mobile.

Delivered by senior account manager Agostino Simonetta, the line Sony used to try and garner support for PlayStation Mobile – its games platform for Android and PS Vita – was that it had much in common with PS Minis.

Indeed, for any developer in the audience considering signing up to support PlayStation Mobile, it's hard to imagine Simonetta's selling strategy – also suggesting the PlayStation brand alone would be enough to ensure it was a success – hadn't put them off by the end of the talk.

"Consumers know they can trust the PlayStation brand," claimed Simonetta.

"It's always been synonymous with quality. Years ago, 'PlayStation' replaced the word 'console' for most people – for my mother, it wasn't an Xbox or a Dreamcast, it was a PlayStation, and that hasn't changed today."



Unite 2012: Peter Molyneux reveals the 5 key ingredients to put in your development cooking pot

Stealing the limelight at Unite 2012 – Unity's annual conference, this year held in the beautiful city of Amsterdam – was Peter Molyneux.

And if you consider the amount of press – both good and bad – his studio 22 Cans has generated during the final months of the year, it's hard to imagine a better booking.

Molyneux's keynote at Unite, however, came months before his debut iOS experience, Curiosity, had hit the App Store, with much of his time on stage spent detailing the five ingredients he thinks every successful game had chucked in its cooking pot during development.

What are the five ingredients, you ask? Keep things simple, keep things delightful, try to surprise your audience, engage them, and offer them something unique.

"Almost the whole world is becoming gamers," claimed Molyneux.

"If you really want to engage those people, you've got to keep things simple. You have about a tenth of a second before people to get bored of your game and press that home button these days."



F2P Summit: Freemium haters are 'xenophobic', says Boss Alien's Jason Avent

At its peak, CSR Racing was making $12 million in revenue.

To put it simply, that stat alone means that, anything Boss Alien's Jason Avent had to say this year was likely to garner an audience.

Luckily his talk at the second F2P Summit in London's Shoreditch didn't disappoint, with Avent's take on the free-to-play movement – which CSR Racing has arguably led from a mobile perspective this year – standing as a particularly frank one.

"This is early days for freemium," said Avent, claiming that iuf users aren't complaining about the in-app purchases in a game, then your model is probably too cheap.

"At the moment, freemium is like a dodgy used car salesman – we're still learning. We will get cleverer at all this eventually. Sell users what they want when they need it - that's the future, I think."



Social Gaming Summit 2012: Western devs, look to Japan for your next social gaming stars, argues Marvelous AQL

Such is the pace of the mobile market that merely keeping up often requires the kind of insight that's usually reserved for fortune tellers on Blackpool pier.

Harry Holmwood - European CEO of Japanese gaming specialist Marvelous AQL – took to the stage at the Social Gaming & Gambling Summit in London with his own crystal ball, however.

His take: If you want to know what will be the next big thing in the west, look to Japan.

As crazy as Japanese culture may seem to many westerners, the likes of Karaoke, Peggle-like pachinko machines, even extreme I'm a Celebrity-esque endurance game shows have all become big hits in the US and Europe.

Likewise, card collection games are now taking hold in the west – they're just being rebranded to make them more attractive to western gamers, with CSR Racing's focus on collecting cards the perfect example.

"We don't really like collecting cards in the west, so CSR Racing dresses itself up as this beautifully presented racing game," concluded Holmwood.

"But it's not – it's a game where you collect cars, because over here we like collecting cars."



Develop 2012: Brian Baglow on how indies can master the art of marketing

Marketing consultant Brian Baglow's talk at Develop in Brighton attracted attendees aplenty because of the promise of beer.

The beer didn't materialise, but no one complained.

Baglow stood up and gave a comprehensive account of everything a mobile developer needs to consider in 2012 – from how to speak to journalists to becoming a thought leader.

It was, if you like, a dossier on common sense, and the one talk this writer would recommend every developer just setting out on their mobile mission should

"Developers tells me that they can't talk to the press about their game idea because someone will steal it," said Baglow when talking about pitching to journos early.

"Lets do away with this myth now: Until you sell 100,000 copies, nobody cares about you or your game. People won't copy it. Cloning is common, but it only happens to successful games."

Contributing Editor

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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Sergey Piatkovski
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/easy-trade-revolution!/id561100481?l=ru&ls=1&mt=8

my first app and its free - try it out guys
Leo Mozzarello
Nice one! Thanks Keith
Keith Andrew
Six? Your audience expectations were low then? I'd like some ale next time, Brian. :)
Brian Baglow
Awww shucks. Thanks Keith. I appreciate this. (There was beer by the way, but only six bottles, I'll do better next year...)
Magnus Söderberg CEO at Triolith Entertainment
doh! Forgot the link... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dg-HuDdFEOI
Magnus Söderberg CEO at Triolith Entertainment
Great collection Keith but you missed Fundraising 101 for Game Companies with Paul Heydon at Casual Connect in Hamburg ;)
Alistair Aitcheson
I was there for Brian Baglow's talk and it was superb - an excellent choice for the top spot. Looking forward to reading up on the others :)
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