4 things we learned at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2017

Another great PGC comes to a close, with lots to ponder

4 things we learned at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2017

Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2017 was our biggest show yet with more than 1,200 visitors attending from across the industry.

It wasn’t just PG Connects – we had our VR/AR/MR event XR Connects and teaser tracks for our brand new PC Connects conference, all housed under the same venue.

Packed schedule

More side events than you can shake a stick at, we also hosted the Pocket Jam for the second year running, where game developers had 30 hours to make a game, this year based around the timely theme of ‘more love, less hate’.

Then there was the Very Big Indie Pitch for mobile developers, the VR BIP and the PC BIP. There was plenty of networking too throughout the show thanks to SpeedMatch, the Pitch & Match meeting system and the Global Connects Party.

And then of course were the great sessions hosted over the two days by more than 100 in speakers at PG Connects alone.

There was plenty to talk about throughout the show, from the rise of chat apps as games platforms in the West, to augmented reality, influencers, IPOs and what companies are doing to adapt to an ever-growing market.

Click on the link below to view our four biggest takeaways from the event.

Click here to view the list »
  • 1 Messenger apps look set to become serious games platforms in the West

    Messenger apps look set to become serious games platforms in the West logo

    Facebook Messenger and iMessage already allow you to play games from within the app, although right now they typically don't provide as in-depth experiences as those you get from the usual app stores.

    They aren’t the only chat app players in town though, there are also other messaging apps big in the West like Telegram, Kik, VK and WeChat.

    Big numbers

    Quicksave CEO Elina Arponen offered the big stats during her talk entitled ‘The chat as a platform’.

    Facebook Messenger has surpassed 1.3 billion users, WeChat 900 million, Kik 300 million, iMessage 250 million and VK 100 million (which has just launched a Direct Games service in its messaging app).

    “If you look at how messaging is growing and how games monetise, it starts making a lot of sense to put the two together,” said Arponen.

    For its part, Quicksave took the opportunity at PGC Helsinki to reveal its first game for chat apps since the studio was formed earlier this year based on the Best & Bester IP, focusing on the social potential of messaging app games.

    Quicksave is working on a new chat app game based on Best & Bester

    Gamee CEO Bozena Rezab also presented a session entitled ‘Gaming across platforms - Mobile. Social. Different’, in which she spoke of the fact that messaging apps are experiencing fast growth and have surpassed social networks in audience size.

    Such big numbers and the implementation of gaming on these platforms is starting to provide a huge opportunity for developers in this space.

  • 2 Finland is an IPO hotspot

    Finland is an IPO hotspot logo

    IPOs have been a big thing in Finland in 2017.

    There’s Rovio gearing up for its big IPO of course, and there’s also been Next Games, Remedy Entertainment and Nitro Games – the latter of which floated on the Nasdaq First North Sweden.

    We had all these companies speaking at PGC and PCC Helsinki, and we even had Nasdaq Nordic Senior Managing Director Erja Retzén offering key stats and reasons for the fervent IPO activity.

    IPO hotspot

    Retzén revealed that Nasdaq Nordic was the number one hotspot in Europe for new listings and capital raised in 2016, with companies from all over looking to float on exchanges in the region.

    It beat London and the Deutsche Börse with more than €7.8 billion in capital raised from 94 listings in 2016.

    Retzén called Next Games’ decision to go public a ‘game changer’ in Finland. The studio was the first games company to list publicly in Finland.

    Other companies floated on the Nasdaq Nordic exchanges include Starbreeze, Remedy Entertainment, Stillfront, Paradox and G5 Entertainment.

    Retzén said a listing on the First North can bring visibility and credibility as companies look to expand internationally, as well as financial advisors exclusively working with smaller growth companies.

    Since 2006, more than 50 First North listed companies have grown and migrated to the Main Market.

  • 3 Influencers are becoming more influential

    Influencers are becoming more influential logo

    Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2017 saw the introduction of our Influencer Sessions.

    First up was our ‘Superstar Fireside’ chat entitled ‘For mutual benefit - Working with influencers'.

    Kukouri CEO Kim Soares sat down for with Roni Back, the leading Finnish influencer, which the studio has worked with on their game Pixel Worlds, to discuss the best ways to work with influencers for the most effective campaigns.

    Wealth of experts in attendance

    But that wasn’t all, we had Zorka.Mobi Business Development Director Dmitry Liapin, Chartboost’s General Manager for EMEA and India Johan Lofstrom, Matchmade CEO Jiri Kupiainen and PlayCom Chief Sales Manager Olga Wese all deliver their own sessions on working with influencers.

    The track closed with a panel on influencer marketing, in which the experts shared their experiences in the space, both good and bad.

    Panelists included PocketWhale CMO Jean-Philippe Decka, GameInfluencer Head of Business Development Macy Mills, Marketing & Growth Strategy Consultant Pascal Clarysse, Matchmade CEO Jiri Kupiainen and Seriously Senior Marketing Manager Tess Thormodsgaard.

    The number of companies both in attendance at the event and promoting their influencer marketing business and/or experiences showed that for mobile, this is an area that continues to grow and become an even bigger part of mobile marketing and user acquisition.

    It’s no wonder then that Steel Media, the creator of PocketGamer.biz, is set to launch a brand new website dedicated to the influencer market.

  • 4 Mobile market continues to grow as companies adapt

    Mobile market continues to grow as companies adapt logo

    Typically in recent years, for all that mobile changes, the more things stay the same.

    Generally speaking it’s full of the same top grossers year-on-year, though there are some breakthroughs like Pokemon GO and Clash Royale - but notably Supercell is already a top grossing developer.

    In Eastern markets like South Korea and China, new games like Lineage 2: Revolution, Lineage M and Honor of Kings have been storming the top grossing charts and shattering records - but still there are many shoe-ins for the top charts.

    Continued growth

    Despite a relative lack of movement at the top end, the mobile market continues to grow at apace. During his opening keynote, Rovio’s Wilhelm Taht cited App Annie forecasts that mobile game end user revenues could grow to $105 billion by 2021.

    He put this down to the 2.6 billion smartphones in the hands of consumers, the free-to-play model, improving live operations expertise, and that players are spending more as mobile gaming becomes a culturally accepted form of entertainment.

    The fact that Rovio, after a slow start in free-to-play, has reported record quarters as it gears up for its IPO shows in itself the potential for developers to generate higher revenues in the market.

    During a talk entitled ‘Mobile Gaming’s Next Wave’ Facebook’s SMB Partner Manager for Global Gaming, Morgan Monnet, said new technology such as 5G will help drive the market forward too.

    Getting noticed

    Discoverability remains an issue, though platform holders and tech companies are trying to alleviate issues for developers.

    For its part Apple has revamped the App Store in iOS 11 for a much more curated approach, but whether this will help the thousands of developers releasing games remains to be seen.

    Monnet said that outside the app stores, new platforms such as chat apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are becoming the top discovery points for many games, which could offer a new avenue for developers to take advantage of, particularly as they grow as games platforms in their own right.

    Tech company Megacool meanwhile was at PGC to show off its new GIF sharing platform, recorded gameplay videos that can be shared across social networks and these chat apps.

    And of course, as previously mentioned, influencers are playing an ever-bigger role in mobile marketing which could aid discovery.

    There may not be many movers in terms of grossing positions at the top of key global markets, but the market is still seeing a couple mega blockbuster hits. And it seems there’s a rising tide that all developers could benefit from.

  • 5 PGC returns to London in 2018

    PGC returns to London in 2018 logo

    Did you miss Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki? Or want yet another chance to meet with the industry bigwigs?

    We're bringing Pocket Gamer Connects, XR Connects and, for the first time, a fully-fledged PC Connects to London on January 22nd to 23rd.

    Must-attend show

    PGC Helsinki was our biggest ever this year, and PGC London will be even bigger, filled to the brim with insightful sessions and a plethora of networking opportunities, whether simply making contacts or finding an investor or publisher for your new game.

    So don't miss the chance to get involved. You can register for Pocket Gamer Connects London 2018 right here.

    We look forward to seeing you there!

    And, of course, we'll be back to Helsinki later next year. Stay tuned for an announcement on dates.

Head of Content

Craig Chapple is a freelance analyst, consultant and writer with specialist knowledge of the games industry. He has previously served as Senior Editor at PocketGamer.biz, as well as holding roles at Sensor Tower, Nintendo and Develop.