Marking our first conference in North America, Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco is happening on 7-8 July at The Village.
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.
Macy Mills is director of strategic partnerships at Hitcents, a US interactive agency.
At Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco 2015, she's part of the Licensing & Branding panel, on 8 July from 12.55pm.
PocketGamer.biz:What do you think has be the biggest story in the mobile gaming industry of 2015 so far?
Macy Mills: In my opinion, the SoftBank investment, as well as the coinciding valuation of Supercell, was a pretty amazing eye-opener for the industry.
Even though I don't think there has been an official confirmation yet of the $5.5 billion valuation, any number even close to that amount would make Supercell easily worth more than any other mobile gaming company in the world.
Just a year and a half ago, the valuation was sitting at around $3 billion. I think it confirms for non-industry folks who are reading these articles, just how profitable mobile gaming can be!
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?
Actually, Hitcents has been focused on the Eastern market for over a year and a half now. We decided then that opening an office in Shanghai, China was our best bet to try to understand the Chinese mobile gaming market.
We decided opening an office in Shanghai was our best bet to try to understand the Chinese mobile gaming market.Macy Mills
I think the industry has had an understanding for a while that the Asian countries are extremely important, revenue-wise.
We will continue to make individual culturalized experiences for the Asian markets to capitalize on the potential revenue coming from that side of the world.
Brands and celebrities continue to get more important. Is this a good thing for mobile gaming?
I believe it's a good thing! Recently, the focus of Hitcents has been based around creating gaming experiences for branded IP: movies, franchises, and celebrities.
We've always been keen to explore innovative ways of bringing in user acquisition, and capitalizing on proven IP is certainly a great way to start with a solid foundation of users.
The only issue is that the mobile gaming market has become crowded in the IP space, and this automatically creates a sliding scale of quality in mobile' games.
Obviously it doesn't just take good IP, it takes good IP with a great game. But I don't want to give too much away—more on that during our panel!
There's lots of hype about wearables, VR and AR at the moment. Do they excite you as gaming platforms?
They do, but with a caveat: I almost think their potential impact has been overstated up to this point. While I believe that, VR and AR are changing the gaming industry, in reality, they aren't going to replace our entire ecosystem.
It seems to me like all of the money in our industry keeps going towards those particular gaming platforms, but I'm a little hesitant to think it's the only place that money should be invested right now.
I do believe there are a lot of interesting things that can be done in gaming with wearables, however, and anything that connects the real world to the gaming world is exciting to me.
Although there is not 100% adoption of fitness wearables, I believe there is enough to make a stir when data from these are being fed into a game for in-game rewards.
What's been your favourite game of 2015 so far. Why?
Does Not Commute by Mediocre Games. The game is frustrating, but in a good way, and I really like the out of the box way they decided to monetize it, similar to their title Smash Hit.
You can play the game for free, but until paying for the premium version, you can only go back to the first checkpoint. I'm also more of a casual gamer, so this game fits me well!
What are you most looking forward to at Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco 2015?
I'm really excited to be a part of the first ever Pocket Gamer conference in San Francisco. It's only fitting that the biggest mobile gaming conference will come to the biggest city for mobile gaming companies!
Plus, Pocket Gamer timed it well with our 9 July launch of Draw A Stickman: Epic 2 as well (hey, don't we get one shameless plug here?!)
What can you reveal about the talk you're giving at Pocket Gamer Connects San Francisco 2015?
I will be on a panel discussing the pros and cons of licensing famous intellectual property from studios, franchises and talent agencies.
I want to focus on helping smaller development studios understand the risks involved with deciding to license a famous IP, as well as the benefits it can bring.