The PocketGamer.biz Mobile Mavens is our panel of experts drawn from all sectors of the mobile gaming industry.
As this week's Mavens goes live, so the world and his wife are currently gathering in San Francisco for this year's Game Developers Conference.
But what will be the big announcements? And what is the industry looking to take from 2013's run to the west coast?
So, we asked the Mavens:
What would you like to see revealed at GDC? Personally speaking, what are you looking to get from the event, and who do you think has the potential to dominate GDC's headlines?
I am personally wondering what colour [editor-in-chief] Jon Jordan's fingernails will be.
The biggest news will be games that are doing very well in Asian markets. We all are thinking of how to get a better foothold in China and wondering how studios are executing their successes.
There will likely be an underlying buzz of the newest and likely last console cycle that is on most attendees minds.
It is safe to assume their will be three other Android TV console announced as well ready for launch before the 2013 holiday season.
The question, "What would you like to see revealed at GDC," is just too unrestricted for me not to beg Electronic Arts to launch a new version of NBA Jam!
Also, an isometric adaptation of the classic role-playing game Paranoia (in the vein of Planescape: Torment) would be super-duper-sweet! (Please don't pinch pennies on the Mac support for that one.)
That said, I suspect that what we will not have any such things so awesome come out of GDC, unless there is a Spore-like shock-and-awe announcement that none of us see coming. (No, that's not a sinfulrobot.com joke.) (Okay, now it is.)
Alongside multiple industry roles, Volker is the co-founder Oystercrowd, Blue Beck, and Digital M. Former posts at BlackBerry and Scoreloop add to an enviable CV, which also includes the co-founding of Connect2Me
[Pocket Gamer publisher Steel Media MD] Chris James pealing himself out of his pink (alternatively flowered) shirt...
(I think something just died in me when I wrote this...)
Oscar Clark has been a pioneer in online, mobile, and console social games services since 1998. He is also author of the book, Games As A Service – How Free To Play Design Can Make Better Games.
Well I guess there will be a usual religious wars, each with their fanatics and dissenters. There are so many topics:
- 'Closed' next gen consoles versus the 'open' mobile/smart TV type platforms (I personally include Ouya and GameStick with these).
- The now dull "freemium versus premium" debate with some smart arse (probably me) saying premium is dead or freemium is evil incarnate.
- How tablet games are taking over from console gaming.
- Publishers protesting (too much) about how important they are going to be again.
- Cloud gaming, although I hope the debate moves away from simple streaming to thin-client uses of server architecture in games.
- The changing role of the TV from being the primary screen to a new role as a secondary screen
...and of course how important it is to record and share your gameplay (i.e. Everyplay!)
I can't wait.
However, the real pleasure of the conference will be the fermentation of ideas you get from meeting new developers and partners.
How people are looking to solve problems of discovery, social engagement, rapid iterative development, etc. Sharing data insight and seeing how that's being applied in new innovative ways to inform creative design, etc.
And I can't wait for all the meetings where I can show off our Everyplay service to as many people as possible.
GDC has approximately 100 percent too little Baglow for anyone to really get anything out of it.
Or, if you prefer a serious answer, I'd like to see some evidence that 'the industry' is taking mobile gaming seriously as a creative platform.
Indies and micro studios are innovating and creating astonishing new experiences, but the major publishers are treating it as a bottomless well of exploitable idiots, or as a marketing tool, but rarely as a platform which can enhance, add value and bring out entirely new elements of their major franchises.
I want a SimCity style chance to look after a floating BioShock Infinite style city, or a GTA V money laundering/drug smuggling game which affects my console title, dammit...
Seeing as I've been working hard to get Gunslugs ready for being shown at various GDC booths, I'm very certain that there will be a large collection of open Android-based consoles and "controllersoles" where the hardware is really just a controller that links up to your tablet, phone or any other android-powered gadget.
All these controllers come with their own app stores, so it will be an interesting fight about who has the best content linked to their hardware.
I'm also hoping for Samsung or Sony to show smart tv's with Android build in, which would render Ouya and Gamestick a bit pointless, but opens up the living room to smaller devs in a huge way.
I hear this year is the year more people identify themselves as indie developers than as anything else.
So I hope we have discussions at GDC about being and growing as indie game developers.
- Health insurance. If you are an indie in North America this is a problem, a huge cost, and perhaps something a group of developers can do something about.
- EA, Disney and so forth do a lot to self promote games. Is there some common ground we can find - cheaper Chartboost campaigns for example - that can help indie app discovery?
I wish a group would pick up the indie developer mantle and run with it.
It's not going to be the AIAS or IGDA (although, gosh knows, it should be the IGDA but ) but perhaps we are too "indie" for that. I just hope we aren't so Indie we fiercely and proudly go the way of the dinosaur.
So my hope, for this GDC, is that we actually talk about how we run/grow our businesses.