Interview

PlayScreen's William Volk on sharing Apple Watch tips at PGC San Francisco 2015

PlayScreen's William Volk on sharing Apple Watch tips at PGC San Francisco 2015

Marking our first conference in North America, Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco is happening on 7-8 July at The Village.

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.

William Volk is CCO at US social mobile game developer PlayScreen.

PocketGamer.biz: What do you think has be the biggest story in the mobile gaming industry of 2015 so far?

William Volk: The move to 'curation' by Apple to prevent publishers from gaming the App Store.

We had an indication of this with the launch of the Apple Watch, with only a few games showcased on the Apple Watch Companion App. The changes in iTunes are the next step in this progression.

Tricks like "burst campaigns" and copycat titles just became far less effective. It's more about what games Apple Editorial considers to be worthy, than algorithmic tricks.

We're starting to see the growth in mobile gaming revenue slow down in western markets, while in most Asian countries it's still very high. Is this changing the way you approach the sector?

Not so much, other than focusing on OWNING niches, which makes sense for a smaller publisher.

Brands and celebrities continue to get more important. Is this a good thing for mobile gaming?

It's inevitable when the CPIs (cost per install) are exceeded LTVs (life time values) for most games.

Changes to iTunes are another step in Apple's curation of the App Store.

Brands and celebrities are a alternative user acquisition strategy and it appears to be working very well for some games.

There's lots of hype about wearables, VR and AR at the moment. Do they excite you as gaming platforms?

Watches are exciting because we can leverage all that expertise gained on feature phones, with small displays, in the pre-smart-phone era.

VR awaits the killer app, and the hardware isn't quite there yet, although Google Cardboard shows a way this could happen very fast.

AR could be a real winner, given the right device.

What's been your favourite game of 2015 so far. Why?

Crossy Road, because it showed how a classic (Frogger) could be bought into the modern market in a way that was fresh and exciting.

What can you reveal about the talk you're giving at PGC San Francisco 2015?

It's not just sweetness and light, there are some real technical, usage, and marketing challenges with games for the Apple Watch and other Watch platforms.

We'll share how we dealt with this, and also where we think this is all going.

What are you most looking forward to at PGC San Francisco 2015?

Learning from some of the best people in the industry.

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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