Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki Digital is around the corner, taking place on September 14th - 18th. To give you a taste of what to expect, we'll regularly be publishing interviews with the speakers at the show.
The conference spans across five days and will feature a broad selection of tracks, talks and speakers, as well as various fringe events and a new and improved meeting system. For more details on PGC Helsinki Digital and to book a ticket, head to the website.
Today's spotlight is on Chris Peters, LiveOps coordinator and customer support manager at MAG Interactive. Peters has a rich background in testing and customer support for mobile applications and has spent the last 15 years trialing app quality, before moving into the games space to work on LiveOps titles such as the WordBrain series.
He'll be taking to the virtual stage at PGC Helsinki for a panel called 'Stop Shooting Your Game in the Foot - The Damages of not Starting Live Ops Early', to share his insight on LiveOps management.
Pocketgamer.biz: Tell us a bit about your company?
Chris Peters: MAG Interactive is a mobile gaming studio that focuses on casual multiplayer games. At MAG, our aim is to create engaging experiences for a wide global audience and we are best known for our word games, among them Ruzzle, WordBrain and Word Domination.
What does your role entail?
I am responsible for running the LiveOps team and creating updates to WordBrain, WordBrain 2 and Wordalot. I use customer feedback to work on new exciting features and new content to keep our players returning. I have direct communication with some players and am jointly responsible for customer support.
Why did you want to work in the games industry?
Working as a consultant on apps and games for many years gave me insight to which I enjoyed doing the most; game development. Having worked exclusively with mobile platforms, I wanted to focus on games for mobile.
Since joining MAG I have found new challenges that are both intriguing and difficult to solve. Working on MAG games is very rewarding - being a part of the LiveOps team allows me to be involved in making changes our players are asking for. When we get emails back from players who have recognised that we made changes based on their feedback it feels really great, that our work made a difference to their gaming experience.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into the space?
Be keen to learn and just keep looking as you never know when an opportunity will appear. It is also great to have more than one skill, even if it is just a hobby. I created a few of the graphics used in some of our events (I have no real photoshop skills but am learning along the way).
When we see our new games getting traction early on it gives everyone a real buzz and drives the game forward. Then a need for great candidates appears. If you are always at your best, then you will be able to seize the moment.
What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?
The big thing on everyone’s horizon is the upcoming IDFA update. It will be interesting to see if hyper-casual games will still appear in the hundreds per day after the Apple release.
I think subscriptions will still play a big part in free-to-play games. Working on great offers to give our players through subscriptions gives extra incentive to our players. As a subscriber, ou get access to exclusive content, which I think makes players feel they have been part of the game development process.
What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?
We have seen a lot of players looking for a way to escape from the pandemic and gaming seem to be an outlet. I think our biggest learning from the COVID-19 situation is to realise our players engage with us if we give them the opportunity. We have altered our roadmap to add more events and we are engaging with our players' wants and needs more frequently.
I expect the wish for increased event content to continue over the next 12 months. I believe there will be far more focus on variety and frequency of events and subscriptions will be more important to access some of this content.
How has the games industry changed since you first started?
I think the games industry is always evolving. The biggest challenge is not knowing what the future holds and being able to adapt roadmaps to cater for the unexpected, whilst maintaining the game ecosystems.
When I started at MAG the teams were very individually game-focused. Now we have adapted to become more agile, with teams covering core elements used in all of our games. We adopted an agile methodology to become faster and more precise, knowing what and when we will deliver.
It is far more satisfying knowing the feature you are working on will be released on a set date.
Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?
The opportunity to be a panelist a second time, with my first remote panel, in front of more people as the event will be held remotely. Having more people attend is a great benefit of a remote event. I myself will be looking to watch more panels purely because the event is remote.
Check out the full schedule to see the complete range of impressive speakers attending. You can also check out our other track rundowns and coverage of previous Pocket Gamer Connects conferences ahead of the event itself.
There's still time to register for Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki Digital here.