Interview

PG Connects Speaker Spotlight: Jiri Kupiainen, Shark Punch

We've reached 'Peak Bird'

PG Connects Speaker Spotlight: Jiri Kupiainen, Shark Punch

After taking over London at the start of 2014, Pocket Gamer Connects will make its grand return on the 16-17 June in the Nordic paradise of Helsinki.

We expect you'll be thinking of grabbing a ticket (if you haven't already).

And to give you a hint at what you can expect, we're shining the spotlight onto our speaker selection to give a deeper look at the speakers taking the stage at PG Connects.

Jiri Kupiainen is the founder of Shark Punch, a transatlantic game development company working on a game about bank robberies in the 1970s.

He was the CEO and a founder of the cross-platform gaming pioneer Rocket Pack, which was acquired by Disney in 2011.

He has been part of the Finnish games industry for almost 14 years, but currently resides in San Francisco because the weather in Helsinki sucks.

Pocket Gamer: What has been the biggest story in mobile gaming this year?

Jiri Kupiainen: Flappy Bird, of course!

It's also been fascinating to see how mainstream Supercell's games have become here in the US. Whenever there's a TV, there's a good chance a Clash of Clans ad will be running on it.

As for our company, it's of course our April Fools' game Kitten Getaway. Pretty good for a couple of days of work!

What do you think will be the biggest challenges/opportunities for the mobile game industry in 2014?

The amount of companies competing for the same customers is just mental. Discovery and user acquisition will be super tricky for everyone, but especially new companies that don't have an existing user base they can leverage.

The biggest opportunities are in games about cats. We've reached 'Peak Bird'.

How well do you think indie developers are doing at the moment?

Indie developers should take their time and build their user base on platforms where it's easier to reach a sizable audience, and only make the jump to mobile once they know they have a good product that they can monetize.

[Indies should] only make the jump to mobile once they know they have a good product they can monetize.
Jiri Kupiainen

Local multiplayer is a big thing in the indie scene right now - hopefully we'll see more games like Spaceteam from indie developers in the near future.

What is your advice for developers looking to make their games a hit in emerging territories?

Start with what you know (so, your local market), and find global partners once you're successful in your local market.

What are you most looking forward to at Pocket Gamer Connects?

The Finnish games scene looks absolutely mental looking at it from San Francisco.

I think there's going to be a whole bunch of great new development teams that I haven't even heard about yet.

Which mobile game has made the biggest impression on you this year, either for good or bad?

Hearthstone is probably the first F2P game that I've truly enjoyed.

And finally, in 140 characters describe what you think the hot topic in mobile gaming will be in the next 6 months and why that’s the case.

When the 'next Rovio' releases its first title, many people will be there to say "I told you so" regardless of the outcome...

Grab your tickets for Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki here! and keep up-to-date with new speakers via the website.


Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz 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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