Interview

Jon Hare - 2015 will see the death of many indie studios

Jon Hare - 2015 will see the death of many indie studios

Making sure you start the year in style, Pocket Gamer Connects London is happening on 13-14 January 2015 at Vinopolis

And tickets are still available.

So to give you a hint at what you can expect, we're shining the spotlight onto our speakers to provide a deeper look at the personalities who will be taking the stage at PG Connects London 2015.

League of Legends

Jon Hare is one of Europe's best known creative directors and game designers with over 10 international number one games to his name and nearly 30 years of experience in the games industry.

Jon co-founded and managed the legendary 1980/90s development company Sensible Software, creating games such as Sensible Soccer, Cannon Fodder and Wizball to great critical acclaim and commercial success and has also worked in senior posts in two of the UK's biggest games developer/publishers Codemasters and Jagex.

Since 1999 Jon has been one of the top game design and business development consultants in Europe working for many different publishing and development clients.

His own new company Tower Studios specializes in developing, publishing and licensing games on mobile and digital formats enjoying recent international success with the release of Speedball 2 Evolution and Word Explorer across numerous mobile and digital platforms.

Jon has also been a full BAFTA member for over 10 years, serving on the BAFTA Games Committee and is a regular Chairman of juries for BAFTA Games awards, as well as acting in a mentor capacity for both BAFTA and NESTA.

Pocket Gamer: We're showcasing the Best of British at Pocket Gamer Connects so how much of an impact have British game developers had in your gaming life?

Jon Hare: Having myself been a British game developer for nearly 30 years, I have to say that British game development has shaped my entire working life.

Why is user acquisition such a challenge in the mobile business today?

We would be stronger if some of the weaker developers did not survive.
Jon Hare

To give yourself a fighting chance you must not spend too much 'marketing' money chasing a dream, especially in a free-to-play market that rewards few and punishes many.

Living to fight another day is a very underestimated skill in business

What are the major challenges when publishing globally?

It depends on which countries: in the US visibility is the key problem; in China getting access to the money is often the problem; in Japan breaking in at all is the problem.

How can indie developers adapt to survive in the mobile economy?

  • Hold on to their shares and license IP instead,
  • Work with publishing partners,
  • Use contractors, not employees,
  • Scale down their ambition,
  • Do original and licensed games.
  • Also we would be stronger as a whole if some of the weaker developers did not survive.

Will new technology like wearable tech and VR change the mobile landscape?

Maybe, but it will be very fringe for a while. For most developers it will be better to see how it settles down first.

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

Beer and meeting friends.

What's your prediction for the mobile gaming industry in 2015?

  • The beginning of the end of X-Factor gaming,
  • Consumer demand for better quality games,
  • Death of a lot of the weaker studios, especially in the UK,
  • Emergence of mid-budget games on mobile as scattergun investment starts to wise up and take more shrewd punts on bigger better indie games.

Grab your tickets for Pocket Gamer Connects London 2015 here!

Don't forget to keep up-to-date with content from our speakers via the Speaker Spotlight hashtag.

And you can check out videos of our speaker talks from PG Connects Helsinki 2014 here.

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Pepe Agell Head of International at Chartboost
Interesting perspective. Thanks Jon! I agree with the fact that in the current industry, it's hard for indies to survive, unless they are extremely revolutionary. That said, 2014 was a pretty stagnant year from an innovation a creativity point of view. Players are hungry to try out fresh concepts and get new gameplay experiences. And I believe, Indies are the ones that have most freedom, agility and flexibility to bring these new concepts to the market. This is why I think 2015 looks brighter for smaller companies! :)