Pocket Gamer Connects Hong Kong 2019 will take place on July 17th to 18th. To give you a taste of what to expect, we'll regularly be publishing interviews with the speakers at the show.
For more details on PGC Hong Kong and to book a ticket, head to the website here.
Today we're speaking to GameRefinery chief game analyst Kalle Heikkinen ahead of his session on mobile game art styles and genres across Eastern and Western markets.
In the past three years, Heikkinen has been helping game companies hone their game features. He has analysed more than 500 free-to-play titles. The company has consulted leading companies in the industry with issues such as feature road mapping, competitor benchmarking, market intelligence, and feature implementation.
PocketGamer.biz: Could you tell us a bit about the company?
Kalle Heikkinen: GameRefinery is the leading provider of feature level data in the mobile games market. We help our clients delve into the very building blocks of mobile games to uncover the drivers behind success.
Leading mobile game studios and publishers use GameRefinery for portfolio strategy, market analysis and benchmarking.
What does your role entail?
Mobile game consulting and analysis, content creation, customer success, assisting in sales, QA testing, translations, etcetera.
Why did you want to work in the games industry?
I've always been a passionate gamer but never really thought I'd be able to transform it from a hobby into a profession due to my unorthodox educational background: Chinese and business studies.
However, when I heard about the opportunity at GameRefinery, it all made sense as I was able to utilise my entire skillset throughout my daily work.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into it?
I haven't worked in an actual game studio but from what I can tell via personal experience is that contacts are everything, so make sure to network, network and network.
What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?
Because of my job, I look at the industry from a feature-level perspective and it is always interesting to take a note of how different feature and genre trends have evolved. As an example, In the last year we've seen the influx of battle royale modes and battle pass monetisations in various different markets and genres.
What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?
There are lots of interesting games coming out in the following year such as Mario Kart Tour, Diablo Immortal and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, loaded with big brands and huge expectations. I
do hope, however, that we're also going to see something new, exciting and disruptive à la augmented reality or battle royale. Myself, I'm betting on genre mash-ups finding new markets. Maybe match-three and visual novel hybrids could finally find their way to the West? Or puzzle RPGs make a splash in China?
How has the games industry changed since you first started?
This is a very broad question but one of the things I've noticed in my work is how deeper meta-layers and feature-sets have been making their way to more casual genres.
For example, it has been interesting to follow how match-threes have lately been eager to include character, building meta-layers and social elements such as guild mechanics to their design.
Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?
West vs. East topics are always close to my heart so really looking forward to that track!
Find out more about Pocket Gamer Connects Hong Kong 2019 on the website.