Comment & Opinion

What you CANNOT MISS at PG Connects London 2018

The editors speak: here's what our team is most looking forward to next week in London

What you CANNOT MISS at PG Connects London 2018

There's so much to do and see at PG Connects London 2018.

It's next week, Monday 22 January and Tuesday 23 January, near the Barbican in central London. And it's massive, with 300 speakers across three events (mobile, PC and VR/AR), pitches, panels, speedmatching, networking, legendary party and more. Where do you begin planning your time at something like that?

Let our professional games journalists guide you. We asked our editors and writers to pick their highlights from next week's schedule.

Chris James (Steel Media CEO)

There's so much great stuff going on at PG Connects London next week that I don't really know where to start. We've got 300 speakers over 20 tracks – I'll just let that sink in, it's crazy, watch out GDC! – plus a rammed expo area, three separate pitches and a cracking party plus the first ever Mobile Games Awards!

The panel and talk rooms are sure to be packed both days. Have your questions ready!

Superstar Fireside Chat: Now & Next
11:00 am - 11:40 am Monday 22nd January, Global Publishing
If pressed at gunpoint though I'd have to say the things I'm most excited about are my two fireside chats. On day one I'll be discussing the key trends and technologies that will shape the game industry Now & Next with industry heavyweight David Helgason and Peter Vesterbacka.

Superstar Fireside Chat: Working With Influencers
3:00 pm - 3:20 pm Tuesday 23rd January, Influencer Insight
And then on day two, as part of our influencer track, I'll be chatting with the awesome Marika Appel about Supercell's unique approach to working with community and influencers. Both should be essential viewing!

Harry Slater (Editor,

The XR Indie Pitch
1:30 pm – 4:00 pm Tuesday 23rd January, XR Connects
If I had to pick the most exciting things in the gaming world right now, then AR and VR would be somewhere near the top. Giving new developers a place to showcase their ideas to some of the best minds in the business though? Well, that’s even more exciting.

Monument Valley 2: How Premium Games Can Succeed
9:40 am - 10:00 am Monday 22nd January, Brightest Britain
Monument Valley 2 and its predecessor offer up some of the best mobile gaming that money can buy. This talk by the head of the studio that made the game about making premium games work in a free-to-play market is guaranteed to be interesting.

Panel: The Influencer’s Perspective
3:40 pm - 4:20 pm Tuesday 23rd January, Influencer Insight
There's a lot of buzz about the seemingly magical powers of influencer marketing. But what do the actual influencers think about that? Dunno, so let’s go to this panel together and find out.

The journalist bar was a big hit at PG Connects Helsinki 2017 and now we're bringing it to London.

The Journalist bar
No, it’s not actually a bar. But there will be journalists there (possibly wishing it WAS a bar), and I’m going to be one of them. Really looking forward to seeing all the new games that people are going to thrust into my eager hands.

Steve Takle (Editor,

The XR Indie Pitch
1:30 pm – 4:00 pm Tuesday 23rd January, XR Connects
A developer pitching session is always the highlight of a show for me. I love speaking to the teams behind the projects that you just don’t get to see anywhere else and hearing their stories. And I also love the rigorous debate that ensues between the judges in the aftermath…

The Global Connects Party
From 7:30 pm, Amber Bar
PG Connects really is the daddy of all the shows… but where to start? A raft of great speakers or another fascinating indie pitch? Nah, I’ll have to go with the Global Connects party on Monday night. There just isn’t enough time to talk to everyone at the show itself, so this is a great way to find out more about the crazy projects everyone’s working on at length over a jar or two.

Mingle with the industry at the Global Connects party on Monday night!

Senua’s Sacrifice – Breaking Through
15:20 pm – 15:40 pm Tuesday 23rd January, PC Connects
There’s a ton of PC speakers that will be of interest to XR Connects visitors, but for me personally, I’m most looking forward to hearing Ninja Theory talk about Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, bridging the gap between indie and AA games development - this is the future IMHO.

Influencer Insight track
3 pm – 5:20pm Tuesday 23rd January, Influencer Insight
We all know that influencers are "a thing" but how can developers and publishers work with them so that everyone wins? Does the relationship have to be antagonistic? This is uncharted territory that’s still evolving and I’ll be interested to hear the speakers explain the relationship – both as an influencer and as a brand.

Alex Calvin (Editor,

State of Play track
10 am – 1 pm Monday 22nd January, PC Connects
For too long, Steel Media and it's wonderful suite of events has been associated with the mobile games market but now there's a new voice at the world-renowned conferences. PC Connects makes its London debut with two full days and four tracks bringing you the best and brightest minds in the PC games space… Want to get a feel for the state of the market? Check out the State of Play track, featuring Epic Games, Ico Partners and Good Shepherd.

Digital Discovery track
2 pm – 5:40pm Monday 22nd January, PC Connects
Want tips for getting the word out about your game? Digital Discovery, with its mix of publishers, developers and media professionals has you covered.

PC Games University track
10 am – 1 pm Tuesday 23rd January, PC Connects
PC Games University will scratch the technical itch of developers, with sessions on making games and best practices from Jagex, BigBlur, Playniac and Tiny Rebel.

Making Of track
2 pm – 5:20pm Tuesday 23rd January, PC Connects
Closing off the PC conference is the Making of where we take you behind the scenes on some of the most interesting games in recent memory, including Hellblade, Subsurface Circular, Lazarus and Animal Farm.

The PC Indie Pitch is a chance for developers to showcase work-in-progress games.

The PC Indie Pitch
10:30 am – 1 pm Monday 22nd January, PC Connects
If that wasn't enough, the PC Indie Pitch on Monday will let developers pitch to a panel of industry judges for a chance to win some prizes (and, of course, glory).

Craig Chapple (Senior Editor,

Mobile Games Awards
7 pm – 11 pm, BAFTA 195 Piccadilly (separate ticket required)
Out of all the great things going on at Pocket Gamer Connects London (including exciting talks from Supercell, SYBO Games, Ustwo and Snap!), I'm particularly looking forward to the first ever Mobile Games Awards taking place at the prestigious BAFTA 195 Piccadilly. Considering it's the biggest sector in the games industry, the teams in mobile don't get the recognition they deserve for all their hard work and creativity - and it's time that changed. That's why we've put together a ceremony where we're expecting around 230 attendees to celebrate what makes this industry so great: the people. Want to go? There are limited tickets remaining, so be quick

Football Manager – Art Imitating Life
4 pm – 4:40 pm Tuesday 23rd January, PC Connects
There's a ton of speakers heading to the first ever PC Connects in London, but my pick of the sessions would have to be Football Manager – Art Imitating Life. Games London's head of games Michael French will be chatting on stage with Sports Interactive Director Miles Jacobson about one of the biggest PC IPs around, and I'm fascinated to learn how they keep players entertained year after year. It'll also be interesting to hear how Football Manager has transcended simply being a game and has made itself a name in the football industry as a key scouting tool.

Unbeatable networking: remember, the Pitch & Match meeting system is free to all attendees.

Developing For PlayStation VR
10 am – 10:20 am Tuesday 23rd January, XR Connects
While I have mixed feelings about VR in the home, experiencing virtual reality headsets at an event is often an exhilarating experience. So I'm particularly looking forward to Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe's director of developer relations Nick Rook discuss developing for PlayStation VR. Learning about the tricks developers use to immerse players into virtual worlds (on a format like no other) is always fascinating.

The Influencer's Perspective
3:40 pm – 4:30 pm Tuesday 23rd January, Influencer Insight
The influencer space is such an exciting emerging space, yet even its biggest stars often go under the radar of the mass public consciousness. So the upcoming panel on The Influencer's Perspective (January 23rd, 3:40pm) should offer great insight into the minds of these star individuals and how they operate between creating engaging videos, handling fame and working with marketers. The panel includes Space Ape's Jodi Sahlin and influencers Turps, Azzyland, Kwebbelkop and Josh Pieters.

Danielle Partis (Associate Editor,

Influencer Insight track
3 pm – 5:20 pm Tuesday 23rd January, PG Connects
It goes without saying that PG Connects can teach you everything you need to know about building and marketing a game. But who's going to help you sell it? PG Connects' Influencer Insight track is packed with leaders in the influencer space - from marketers and managers to the influencers themselves. Brimming with insight and success stories, these folk are here and raring to share their knowledge. Come and meet the strategy behind The Yogscast - the UK's biggest network of gaming creators. Or Kwebbelkop and Azzyland, two YouTubers with 10 million subscribers between them. The Influencer's Perspective takes you behind the thoughts of the creators themselves, what they want from a campaign, and what businesses can do to gain their interest. If you're about to go big on influencer marketing, it's worth finding out how to get their attention.

eSports Academy track
11:20 am – 3:00 pm Tuesday 23rd January, PG Connects
I think the rise of mobile esports is a particularly tantalising topic this year as we head into PGC 2018. Everyone is now carrying a 5-inch device with the capabilities of a computer in their pockets, making mobile esports a completely viable and profitable venture. I'm excited to hear from the folks taking part in our Esports Academy track, including James Dean of ESL, Taewon Yun of Super Evil Megacorp, the company behind Vainglory.

The first ever Mobile Games Awards will take place on Tuesday night in the BAFTA auditorium on Piccadilly.

Mobile Games Awards
7 pm – 11 pm, BAFTA 195 Piccadilly (separate ticket required)
I'm also very excited to see the first Mobile Games Awards, because who doesn't like drinking and celebrating the incredible achievements across the mobile industry?

TLDR – Making A Small Game, Well
2:40 pm – 3 pm Tuesday 23rd January, PC Connects
PC games are wonderful and it was only a matter of time before PG Connects naturally bred a new beast. PC Connects brings a smorgasbord of new speakers to the conference series. We've got a host of exciting tracks; Mike Rose of No More Robots will be running through how to keep realistic when it comes to sales figures, and Matthew Benson of Team17 will be providing a talk on how to choose a perfect publishing partner. But the key thing for me is that PCC also features the indie devs that have been out there and done it (and enjoyed great success doing so): look out for indie rockstar Mike Bithell on Tuesday afternoon who will be giving us a lesson in how to really sell an indie game. He'll be talking us through the lessons he learned during the production of Subsurface Circular, a hit game made in just six months.

The XR Indie Pitch
1:30 pm – 4:00 pm Tuesday 23rd January, XR Connects
I'm still not 100% sold on VR, but I respect and admire those working to make it a thriving and exciting industry. I'm looking forward to the XR indie pitch; there's likely to be a whole other realm of dev creativity when working with VR.

VR & eSports – The Perfect Match
10:40 am – 11:00 am Monday 22nd January, XR Connects
We also have some interesting panels featuring the likes of Patrick O’Luanaigh from nDreams, on how VR and eSports is a perfect combination. That is basically currently unheard of and so it'll be a great insight to a potentially powerful incoming trend.

It's still possible to get tickets although time is running out! Book NOW at Eventbrite. Remember, the same ticket gets you into PG Connects (mobile), PC Connects and XR Connects (VR+AR+MR)! You will need a separate ticket for the Mobile Game Awards at BAFTA, though. See you on Monday and Tuesday...

Chief Operations Officer

Dave is Steel Media's Chief Operations Officer. He gets involved in all areas of the business, from front page editorial to behind-the-scenes planning. He began his career in games and entertainment journalism back in the 1990s when Doom came on four floppy disks. Please contact him with any general queries about Pocket Gamer, Blockchain Gamer and Steel Media's other sites and events.


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