PG Connects Speaker Spotlight: Kimberly Unger, Bushi-go

Any game can benefit from simplification

PG Connects Speaker Spotlight: Kimberly Unger, Bushi-go

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.

After nearly eight years working in financial services powerhouses like Morgan Stanley and Paine Webber, Kimberly Unger left to pursue her passion for videogames.

She has been in the games industry for nearly 20 years, starting as a freelance texture artist, moving up to 3d modeler/animator and finally production for independent mobile titles.

She is now CEO of the videogame startup Bushi-go, Inc. developing independent titles for iOS and Android.

You can find her on twitter at @Ing3nu or on G+ using her real name.

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

Kimberly Unger: I think the biggest story is Epic finally making the Unreal Engine available to developers on terms they can work with.

They're up against a pretty broad install base amongst mobile developers and Unity and I'm curious to see how it plays out.

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

Reinventing monetization is going to be huge challenge.

The free-to-play model works really well for a certain type of game. But there are more games out there, and as this vast new audience gets more sophisticated, more educated, they are going to start taking their dollars elsewhere.

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

Being indie is no longer a state anyone stays in for long. There are indie studios out there, sure, but a lot of indie developers are high-end hobbyists: they end up either getting hired or acquired or they are one-hit wonders.

Reinventing monetization is going to be huge challenge.
Kimberly Unger

At the same time experienced developers go back to being indie in the spaces between paying jobs. The indie scene is in constant flux.

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

Iconography. Any game, even a story-driven title, can benefit from simplification.

DO as much as you can without words, use your symbols well and you can reach a broader audience.

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

5. Most of my exposure to the game development community has been seriously US-centric.

I'm looking forward to connecting with the international community, to seeing how it's done everywhere else.

Which mobile game has made the biggest impression on you this year?

Flappy Bird. It's the final word in social gaming. No matter who you are, no matter where you are, you've heard of Flappy Bird.

We all, every single one of us, knows the pain of trying to score in that game. It was the ultimate water-cooler conversation starter for a while, which I think explains some of its virality. It gave a lot of people a common starting point.

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

Content, content, content. Platforms rise and fall depending on the content they possess, so where are they going to get it?

Grab your tickets for Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki here! and and don't forget to keep up-to-date our with new speakers.

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.