PG Connects speaker spotlight: Harry Holmwood, Marvelous AQL

Costs will rise in 2014, but so will the opportunities

PG Connects speaker spotlight: Harry Holmwood, Marvelous AQL

It's just weeks to go before Pocket Gamer Connects 2014.

Our first conference will be held in London on 20-21 January - you can find out more details here.

So to whet your appetite, we're finding out more about some of our speakers.

Harry Holmwood is a 20-year veteran of the video games and online space.

A games programmer before joining Sony's PlayStation team in 1994, he founded developer Pure Entertainment, which launched a free-to-play online gaming service way back in 1999. He was also a director of pioneering motion gaming start-up In2Games.

He's now European CEO of Marvelous AQL, a Japanese developer and publisher of social, mobile and console games, including No More Heroes and Harvest Moon.

Pocket Gamer: What do you think has been the most significant event for mobile games during 2013?

Harry Holmwood: For us, it was launching our first mobile titles in the western market.

For the industry, it was seeing huge successes like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga show that the best games can continue to entertain players in the long-term, generate big revenues and lead on to major IPO or investment deals for the creators.

What do you think will be the biggest challenges and opportunities in 2014?

Spiralling development and user acquisition costs.

How will indie developers fare? Any advice?

Incredibly tough. The sad truth is that it is getting increasingly difficult to compete on app stores without making huge investment in development and marketing. Indies are getting squeezed out.

There will doubtless continue to be outlier successes which we should all celebrate, but we'll see huge numbers of small studios vanish under the weight of immense competition.

But it will be exciting too - for those who can create games which stand out and delight users, whether F2P or premium titles.

How big do you think the East-meets-West opportunity is, and which markets are you most excited about in 2014?

As a subsidiary of a Japanese publisher, we are something of a gateway to the east for western developers and vice versa.

Both markets are incredibly strong for the right content, and we're starting to see big western titles cross over into Asia and be seriously successful. I'd expect to see this trend continue.

What are you expecting to learn from attending Pocket Gamer Connects?

The best and most creative developers out there.

What were your favourite mobile games of 2013?

  • Device 6 - for sheer originality and bringing back the spirit of text adventures.
  • RunBot - (from our partners at Bravo Game Studios) for being the most hardcore of infinite runners. It's Tron meets Super Hexagon.
  • The Room 2 - of course.

Finally, what's your New Year's resolution and what resolution would you enforce on the industry?

Keep making games with love.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.


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