Interview

Indies should always be looking for their perfect publishing partner, says Hitcent's Macy Mills

Indies should always be looking for their perfect publishing partner, says Hitcent's Macy Mills

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.

Brand values

Macy Mills is director of strategic partnerships at US creative agency and app developer Hitcents, where she works with budding startups and progressive companies on potential partnerships.

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?

Macy Mills: There's definitely a few Brits who have got me addicted to their games, like Clumsy Ninja from NaturalMotion.

Something about tickling that little guy always makes me laugh!

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

User acquisition has become extremely challenging in today's mobile gaming market mostly due to the fact that the highest revenue generating games can easily monopolize UA channels.

The highest grossing games have a lot more capital to reinvest in UA, making it difficult for smaller developers to compete in that market. This means that indie developers, or developers with little to no budget, have to come up with creative ways to gain users outside of paid efforts.

One way to do so, which happened with our game Draw a Stickman Epic, is to hope that the game goes viral.

Draw a Stickman Epic - designed with virality in mind

Now, if you think about that in business terms, it's virtually impossible to create a business model that relies on the probability of rapid spread by word of mouth. There has to be a strategic effort to maximize the possibility that your game could go viral.

Instead of taking that risk, many ad networks offer free cross-promotion platforms, where you can put ads on your games while others are showing ads about yours. This is a great way to get started since there are no up front costs, and hopefully it can generate some revenue that can be reinvested into more robust UA campaigns.

What are the major challenges when publishing globally?

Gaming companies are obviously becoming more interested in publishing their games in different countries due to the market growth in various territories.

[Indies] should continually be trying to meet with publishers to see who falls in love with their game and is ready to make a great deal with them.
Macy Mills

As a medium-sized mobile gaming company that decided to set up shop in China, we have over a year of stories to showcase the difficulty of publishing in a foreign country.

One of the biggest problems is the ability of smaller developers to find publishers to launch their games. It can be a daunting task to find a trustworthy publisher in another territory that you are unfamiliar with.

If possible, it's important to have decision makers on the ground in various places to secure the best deal possible for the developer.

At Hitcents we always say, "20% of something is better than 70% of nothing" [in reference to publishing in China].

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

They need to keep using their creativity to come up with innovative new ways to look at gaming. They should continually be trying to meet with publishers around the world to see who falls in love with their game and is ready to make a great deal with them.

It's important to find that perfect partner who is ready to take a game to the next level.

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

Definitely. I believe more and more mobile games will be integrated with wearable tech and/or VR. We already see Samsung launching its Gear VR that pairs with the Note 4.

Hitcents had success in 2014 with Hanx Writer

This is just the beginning of a trend toward playing games on multiple devices. I can't wait to see what creative things companies come up with in the wearable space for gaming.

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

Looking forward to seeing old and new friends in the gaming industry at this awesome conference! Oh, and the party of course.

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

I think the trend toward famous intellectual property will continue. More and more game developers are seeing the value of IP in user acquisition models and are trying to get their hands on IP.

Similarly, IP owners are starting to truly understand the benefit of allowing developers to publish games based on the IP on mobile devices.

I'm positive not all of these games will be successful, but they sure as hell will all try!

Monument Valley - flying the flag for paid games

I also believe that premium games will make a comeback.

With the market for mid- to hard-core mobile games growing, some of these will see better financial results by offering their games at a premium price. Indie developers, like Monument Valley creator ustwo, are seeing some success in this arena and I think this will grow in 2015.

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.

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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