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Juhani Tuomas Honkala: “Mobile is the ultimate controller for the TV gaming experience”

Return Entertainment's CTO took to the stage today at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2023 to discuss the potential of gaming on TVs
Juhani Tuomas Honkala: “Mobile is the ultimate controller for the TV gaming experience”

Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2023 is go and we’ll be bringing you coverage from our event as it happens. One key aspect of any PGC event is the talks and tracks, with individual talks by some of the game industry’s brightest and best divided into individual tracks by topic.

On the Big Screen Gaming track, Return Entertainment's CTO and executive chairman of the board, Juhani Tuomas Honkala presented a talk entitled “TV gaming - what does it mean for the audience and types of games?”

The session covered the topic of TVs taking centre stage in the gaming world, as they increasingly feature better technology and capabilities for cloud gaming. These changes present a subtle shift in how gamers are playing and who we consider as gamers. Honkala states that Netflix has changed the face of TV streaming and that same change can now be seen happening with games. “The living room will be more gaming focused going forward,” claims Honkala.

“If you think of the people in the living room watching TV, they’re probably not playing games, but rather watching Netflix. So we have to ask ourselves, is there a market for these people who aren’t hardcore players?” Honkala explained that most cloud gaming services may target hardcore players, and act as a way to allow gamers to have streaming access to AAA titles, yet the potential TV audience is not hardcore. “Instead TV audiences are the opposite; they want bite-sized experiences, something they can play with the family in shared moments,” he observed. It makes sense that a TV gaming audience would prefer an effortless experience with easy access where anyone can play despite their skills or interest in games.

TV-plus-mobile: The ultimate gaming experience

Honkala also commented upon the role of mobile in this TV gaming experience. “Mobile is the new controller, in fact it is the ultimate controller for the TV gaming experience. It is not just a virtual gamepad or a replacement but rather an extension of the gameplay on your phone.” As for the types of games players can expect to play on their TV, Honkala states that it’s not about bringing existing console or PC games to TV but instead building new games for the experience. “These games need to be easy to play and avoid long learning processes,” he said.

In addition developers should tackle the challenges presented by latency and internet issues. Most people may believe they have high speed internet connections but this often isn’t the case. Developers should be aiming to make games that are designed as latency friendly, “if you do this you can access 100% of users.”


Want to join us at Pocket Gamer Connects Jordan 2023?

Couldn't make it to Helsinki? Don't worry, Pocket Gamer Connects returns later this year in Jordan, November 4 - 5 2023. Don't miss it!

Find out more about the event and get your tickets here!