Interview

2014 in Review: Mike Rose, tinyBuild - Breaking down the barriers between mobile and hardcore gaming

2014 in Review: Mike Rose, tinyBuild - Breaking down the barriers between mobile and hardcore gaming

As 2014 begins to fade into memory, we're taking a look back at the events that have dominated the last 12 months in mobile gaming.

As such, we've asked the industry's great and good to give us their take on the year, as well as predicting the trends that will dominate in 2015.

A one-time scribe at Pocket Gamer, Mike Rose has crossed to the light side and is now "a kind of mashup between the village's new town crier and talent scout" at indie developer-turned-publisher tinyBuild Games.

Pocket Gamer: What was the most significant news in 2014?

Mike Rose: I really want virtual reality to finally happen, so Facebook buying Oculus was the big news for me.

When a company like Facebook throws $2 billion at something, you know that they *need* it to work out, so I can imagine that we're going to see VR have its best shot at succeeding in the next few years as a result. Whether it will actually take off this time is another matter!

How did your business focus change in 2014?

TinyBuild went multiplatform in 2014! We were originally a PC-only developer and publisher, but there's so many opportunities outside of PC now that it seems silly not to spread ourselves, especially when the company has already had success, and can afford to experiment.

We've got a bunch of games coming to mobile in the next several months, and we've got a handful of console games on the way in 2015 too.

SpeedRunners is the foundation for tinyBuild's growth

I think the most significant news for tinyBuild this year is just how big SpeedRunners has been for us.

The game is still only in Early Access on Steam, but it's seen an explosion of popularity over the last six months especially, allowing us to really ramp up our business elsewhere (hence going multiformat). The game isn't showing signs of slowing down either, so the company is in pretty damn good health at the moment!

What was your favourite mobile game of the year?

Arg, tough one. I'd say Threes... or maybe 80 Days... no wait, Framed. No, actually, Monument Valley. Helix! Desert Golfing!

I can't answer this question, sorry - there was way too many good mobile games this year.

2014 was the year, in my opinion, that mobile finally showed true signs of maturing. It's part of the reason that tinyBuild is so excited to enter the mobile space now.

What do you predict will be the most important markets for your games in 2015?

We want to start by scouting out which markets work for mobile, and sort of go from there.

We're aware of the popularity of mobile games in the East, of course, and from what I understand games that are specifically catered for Eastern audiences do best. So I think the plan will be to build up a mobile fanbase in Europe, the US etc first, and then see where we stand with regards to targetting Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong.

What do you predict will be the most important trends in 2015?

I'd love to see 2015 be the year that negative perceptions of mobile gaming were well and truly squashed.
Mike Rose

I think a lot of people will start focusing on all the mobile VR stuff that's going on, but I think it's not going to be worth gunning for just yet - the tech needs time to mature before it'll be worth exploring.

Rather, I think a lot of smaller devs are going to be looking at all the big popular mobile games that have been taking up the headlines this year, and thinking "Hey, we could do that too!"

That's my hope, anyway - I'd love to see 2015 be the year that negative perceptions of mobile gaming were well and truly squashed.

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

Oh man, I don't do New Year's resolutions because I never stick to them. But if you're going to put me on the spot, I'd say my own personal resolution is do some exercise so I don't end up a withered stick figure by the age of 35.

As for a resolution for the games industry, I hope that in 2015 we break down the barrier between "mobile games" and "hardcore games", and treat all games equally. I can dream!

Thanks to Mike for his time.

You can check out all of our 2014 in Review interviews here.

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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