PG Connects speaker spotlight: Wilhelm Taht, Playground

2014 is time to experiment with monetization techniques

PG Connects speaker spotlight: Wilhelm Taht, Playground

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.

Wilhelm Taht is COO of Playground Publishing, where he oversees global business development, operations, and product management.

Prior to joining Playground, Wilhelm held various roles at Digia and RealNetworks' games business (GameHouse).

During his time at RealNetworks and Mr.Goodliving, he helped launch over 100 games including titles such as Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, South Park, NCIS, Twilight, COLLAPSE!, Tiki Towers, and Doodle Jump (on non-iOS platforms).

What do you think has been the most significant event during 2013?

Wilhelm Taht: The even quicker move to free-to-play games than developers and publishers expected must be categorized as at least one of the biggest events for this year.

The conversation has moved from "Whether or not to do F2P?" to "How best to do F2P?", and in some cases "How to do F2P with a clear conscience?". It's a healthy step for the industry.

As for Playground Publishing, this has been an amazing year to start on our road towards success. The amount of talent and excitement in the game development space is unbelievable at this moment.

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

I think it will be to find new ways of monetizing F2P games that feel 'fresh'. We need to move away from Skinner Boxes and find success via experimentation.

How will indie developers fare? Any advice?

As the access to marketing tools and to analytics has become completely democratised; anyone has a shot for success.

Access to large capital can always be justified with metrics i.e. if you are a developer, with a F2P game that

  • Retains and
  • Monetizes, and if you have the analytics to back it up
  • Acquisition (= money) becomes far less troubling to get.

So the age-old mantra still holds true; focus on building great games. It's just the way those are built that has changed over the past years.

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

There are very few developers or publishers that have truly cracked both sides of the 'world'. The rewards for doing so and becoming a truly global publisher are immense.

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

I hope to engage in heated and intelligent debate, play great games, meet new people and have some fun!

What were your favourite mobile games of 2013?

  • Papa Sangre II - the #1 rated iOS game on Metacritic of 2013 and #1 rated British iOS game ever. It's a masterpiece and once you immerse yourself in the experience, your perception of what games on iOS can be changes.
  • Clumsy Ninja - Talk about bringing Tamagotchi into the 2010s! I'm on level 18 now and 'fighting' myself upwards. Loving it. An amazing job from NaturalMotion.
  • Candy Crush Saga - I really admire King and the crew for making such an amazing phenomenon of what is in its most basic form a simple match-3 game. (I know it's didn't launch in 2013, but I feel 2013 is when it really became the current phenomenon.)

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

My New Year's resolution is not fit for publication!

As for the industry; I think trying out new things in F2P and breaking away from the tired and old formulas is something we should all get behind.

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.