54 lessons PocketGamer.biz learned from industry events in 2012

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54 lessons PocketGamer.biz learned from industry events in 2012
In any given year, the PocketGamer.biz team gets to a lot of events, but 2012 was an especially busy year for industry meets.

As such, former site editor Jon Jordan is now our dedicated editor-at-large, and he's spent 2012 jetting around the world to hear what the industry has to say.

And he's not the only member of the team who's been on the conference trail this year.

So, in order to cap off another year of rapid growth and rapid change in the industry, we have collated the accumulated learnings of the PocketGamer.biz roving reporters in one article. Here, for your delectation, are the 54 lessons PocketGamer.biz learned from events in 2012.

10 thoughtful points from Mobile Games Forum 2012

Kicking off the industry event calendar in 2012 was the Mobile Games Forum, which managed to attract attendees despite taking place in London during January.

PocketGamer.biz editor-at-large Jon Jordan managed to distil the two-day event into 10 industry trends on display, including the withdrawal of operators from the business of mobile content, the transformation of whales into true fans and the teething problems with HTML5.

Jordan also observed a vein of "sexual tension" running between Flurry and Tapjoy, but that point probably didn't inform many business decisions in 2012.

5 hot quotes from the Inside Social Apps 2012

San Francisco's Inside Social Apps conference was next on the agenda, and then PocketGamer.biz US correspondent Damon Brown was on hand to pen dispatches from the event.

He noted five key quotes from industry insiders including Android vs Kindle comparisons, the difference between iOS and Android rankings and the battle between apps and the web.

The highlight perhaps, was Crossover Technologies' Eric Goldberg, and his dire predictions for the future of dedicated handheld consoles.

"In 2010 and 2011, sales of mobile games on [Nintendo DS] and other systems went down 50 percent. That’s not a drop; that’s a virtual destruction."

21 game changing biz trends from GDC 2012 you need to know

In March, GDC rolled around – one of the biggest events in the gaming calendar. It was appropriate, then, that Jon Jordan wrote a mammoth article to accompany the event, rounding up 21 game-changing biz trends.

Jordan proved prescient in his prediction that real-money gambling would start to take off in 2012, for example, and he also highlighted a growing frustration with Apple among the developer community – a feeling that arguably intensified as 2012 wore on.

There was advice for developers – test games for fun, not monetisation – and observations on the growth of cross-promotion and the appearance of new market intelligence firms.

Taken together, it's a mighty collection of industry insights from a particular time, and actually ended up as one of our most-read stories of 2012.

Five things we learned from Unite 2012

In August, PocketGamer.biz editor Keith Andrew jetted off to Amsterdam for Unite 2012, the conference dedicated to the Unity developer community.

As well as taking some handsome snaps, Andrew penned five lessons gleaned from the event, including the revolution that "we know nothing about mobile." It's a new market, after all, and as keynote speaker Peter Molyneux explained, everyone is basically engaged in calculated guesswork.

Molyneux was the source of another lesson, too, explaining that fear is an indie developer's best friend.

"To go out and start all over again […] is a mad thing to do, but the time in your life when you get the most out of life itself is when you take on something incredibly hard. That's when you get that sense of achievement."

Eight key industry trends we learned from GDC Online 2012

Globetrotting editor-at-large Jon Jordan was PocketGamer.biz's representative at GDC Online this year, and he observed no fewer than eight key industry trends at the Texan event.

One such trend was rise of games for core and mid-core gamers, which has been a persistent theme in recent months. After all, while broad casual fare has tremendous reach, core and mid-core gamers monetise at much higher rates. Supercell's much-publicised recent success is arguably testament to this.

Also up for discussion was the fate of Zynga, the potential for a Facebook gaming revival and EA's movement towards 'games as a platform.'

Five things we learned from ExPlay 2012

News editor James Nouch walked 15 minutes down the road to attend the ExPlay Festival in Bath this year, braving light drizzle to bring PocketGamer.biz readers the scoop from the showfloor.

Summarising the two-day event, Nouch laid out five lessons for mobile devs, including advice on getting the press interested in your game and borrowed wisdom on the value of personality as a low-cost discovery booster.

Accessibility was also on the ExPlay agenda, and the message was loud and clear. Making your games accessible to players who can't see, hear, understand or control things as well as others is easier than you think, and worth your while.

Five industry trends to ponder from Mobile Gaming Europe 2012

December brought Mobile Gaming Europe to London, and Jon Jordan was promptly dispatched from PG towers to cover the two-day event.

But the focus on monetisation left Jordan conflicted. "My fear about the industry's confusion between the baby of fun and the dirty bathwater of monetisation grows apace," he opined.

But conference speakers such as Will Luton disagreed. "I don't think most developers are monetising hard enough," Luton said, before going on to confess to a £100-a-week Magic: The Gathering habit.

And as a nicely circular way to round off 2012, Nicholas Lovell discussed the difference between whales and true fans (both terms that he popularised).

"A whale will spend $100 in your game and wake up regretting it in the morning," Lovell explained. "A true fan will wake up and tell all their friends about it."

Staff Writer

PocketGamer.biz's news editor 2012-2013