Mobile Mavens

Who won GDC 2013? The PocketGamer.biz Mobile Gaming Mavens discuss

Who won GDC 2013? The PocketGamer.biz Mobile Gaming Mavens discuss

The PocketGamer.biz Mobile Mavens is our panel of experts drawn from all sectors of the mobile gaming industry.

It seems fitting that, given our last Mavens focused on what the industry wanted to see at this year's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, this week's should be on what actually happened.

So, we asked the Mavens:

What were the highlights of GDC? Did you happen upon any cool or interest games or products, what were the big surprises, and what will be the memories you take away from this year's event?

Will Luton Luton & Son Founder


For me it was the positivity that stood out. Everyone wanted to be the little man: Indie devs pushing the medium of games or a start-up killing it on the App Store. Lots of success, lots of smart people.

I don't recall having a single conversation about the PS4 or even seeing a Wii U or Vita.

Jared Steffes Co-founder Muxy


I agree with Will, but I did have conversations with both Sony and Nintendo.

It was interesting to hear from a Sony engineer that he believed this would not be the last console cycle like we are used to. He said seven years will be the next. I just kept stating Moore's Law, but he didn't care.

The Nintendo HTML5 and WiiU developer partner framework was interesting. I had a chat with a rep and I asked "What's the catch? This isn't like Nintendo at all!" He replied that anyone that signs up has to be accepted by Nintendo and he has no clue how many they will actually take.

He said it could be 5 or it could be 50. Not very open or viable, in my opinion.

My favorite thing at GDC was the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 theater. They demoed the 4k video and 7.1 channel simulation in a stereo headset. My team and I were amazed at how good it emulated 7.1 channels. I started taking the headset apart looking for more speakers and was politely asked to stop. I still get the chills of excitement thinking about it.

There was also some nice alley ways that had partys. Will and I did some interviews in them which I will be posting.

Scott Foe Chief Product Officer Ignited Artists

This year's Game Developer Conference felt like the year for women in gaming: Check out Forbes' list of women in gaming to watch! And, who knows, we may never see another booth babe at GDC after the party hubbub?

I think that also telling are the things that people were not talking about: Not much talk about dedicated game consoles, at all, except maybe Ouya. Times, they are a changing!

Oscar Clark Consultant, Co-Founder Fundamentally Games

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.


I was impressed by how much buzz there was. I have never had so many meetings with so many developers at Games Connection first and then at GDC.

I still got into a few arguments about freemium and premium; but less than usual and more and found that developers were starting to understood the need to move to games as a service rather than just one-release products.

Personally, I met a few die hard console guys still making premium content - but even these guys were looking at their games as services and most of the ones I met were looking to learn from what was happening in mobile even if they had yet to be convinced of every aspect for console.

One thing that doesn't seem to be happening yet however is success for cross-platform games. It seems that shifting people from playing games on one platform to another isn't easy and most stick with the original device. That's something I'm going to take time to think about.

The Ouya launch was brilliant, Julie Urhman was on great form and the people attending as hyped as any launch I've ever seen - probably more.

Even hard-nose business-type developers I know were ecstatic to see their games up on screens from that rubiks cube-like box. I was also pleasantly surprised by the Nvidia Shield - still don't like the form-factor but Steam support is cool - and GameStick, although that is a bit too big and blocky in my honest opinion. These were the talk of the event for me.

Indeed, I don't care how many they sell - my guess is that Ouya will sell 5-10 million, and the others about 5 million each (I'm usually rubbish at predictions) but the impact they have will be profound by disrupting the business models of the other consoles and by creating a range of high quality games which will leak out to all high-end Android devices.

I suspect Android is about to come of age and it will be interesting to see how Apple and the other consoles react.

On a more personal level, for us at Applifier GDC was incredible. We had so much interest, helped along by the timing of the release of Nimblebit's Nimble Quest and Apple making it their 'Editors Choice'.

The game uses our Everyplay SDK to record the gameplay. There are some amazing clips out there now, but this is my favourite. However, apparently the main reason people had heard of us at GDC was because of the Korean BBQ Taco Vans we had running out free food on the first two days.

Who knew that free food could be so popular!

Christopher Kassulke CEO / Owner HandyGames

Oscar, free is the best business model. Everyone prefer free - like FREE Food, FREE Games, FREE Beers, FREE T-Shirts.

GDC is one of the best conferences for the whole games industry. Most of us are on too many events around the globe, but GDC is one that I personally don’t want to miss.

It’s a great place to have a look out of the box. I had a perfect dinner with Julie and the other angel Backers of the Ouya. It's just great to have backed and be part of the Ouya – it’s a small milestone in the Games Industry.

I also see many other Android consoles and controllers that are trying to change the world a little bit. Thumbs up for that!

GDC showed me again that content is king and HandyGames is in a perfect position for the next couple of years. GDC's best parts are the sessions, however, and the networking you do during the show or at the events around it.

If you want big news go to the trade shows like E3, MWC, WWDC, Google I/O, etc. – GDC is more like a "family business", and that’s the sexiness of the event in my opinion.

Joony Koo Head of Business Development Block Crafters

It was great to see everyone talking about mobile. I have been coming to GDC since 2008, and boy has mobile grown.

I saw a lot of polarisation of knowledge and understanding in the market - especially of that around the F2P business. Some companies are heading the market with extensive knowledge in designing the in-app economy, UA costs versus LTV backed with a huge scale of economy, and data analytics on both market data and usage data.

And some still believe they need to rely on traditional account management.

As for new markets, I saw a lot of people coming from Asia this year trying to understand the US market. I also met a lot of people putting their nose in to the Asian market and talking about chat platforms Line and KakaoTalk.

It all seems like a step towards a 'glocalised' market, moving away from the one global market approach - a sign of the markets maturing.

All in all, the best part of GDC is seeing old friends in the industry, all taking a good role in the market and still remembering the days. If it was last year, I would have speculated on how King and Supercell and all these big names would lead the market and such.

However, mobile is always changing so rapidly and this is the beauty of this space.

Enjoy the big and small successes you have right now, but try and envision changes in the market - the developers who do will be the Kings and Supercells of GDC 2014.


With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.

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