Global game strategy, brand marketing and indie tactics to survive and thrive on the agenda at PG Connects

Plus, we deep dive into the Helsinki dev scene

Global game strategy, brand marketing and indie tactics to survive and thrive on the agenda at PG Connects

Over the last couple of weeks we've been happily unveiling a veritable boat-load of speakers for the PG Connects Helsinki conference on 16-17 June.

We've casually dropped the names of industry heavyweights such as Supercell CEO Illka Paananen, King's game guru Tommy Palm and game designer extraordinaire Ben Cousins.

Our serious indie chops have been proudly displayer in names such as Corn Fox, Mag Interactive, Creative Mobile, 11 bit Games. Nordeus, Revolution Studio and outlined our Asian and emerging market expertise flaunted via Gamevil, Chukong, MetAps, Latis GLobal, Spilgun, Symobi, NTT Docomo, Dhruva Games, i-Free and Zupcat.

Weve also added a veritable Who's Who Finnish games past, present and future (including Rovio, Remedy, Housemarque, Frogmind, Grand Cru, Next Games, Seriously and PlayRaven) before liberally icing the conference cake with representatives from EA, Ubisoft, DropForge/Wargaming, Square Enix, Facebook, Google, Amazon, BlackBerry and Scopely among many others.

In short we've promised you one hell of a line up. But what precisely, are they going to be talking about?

I'm glad you asked. The content essentially breaks down into three main tracks:

1. Global Mobile Gaming Strategies – East meets West

The mean lead track is very much aimed at the bigger publisher or those with bigger global aspirations.

Opening Keynotes – What does a global mobile games company look like? What does it do next?

We’ll open the day with keynotes and fireside chats with King’s Tommy Palm and Illka Paananen of Supercell discussing their vision for what a global gaming company looks like now and in the future

Session: Building brands and monetising!

Next up is a dedicated mini-track of short talks and panels exploring the issues and benefits around brand building. We’ll explore how brand marketing is becoming a key part of the mix for the bigger players and a way to make UA more effective, how IP brands from console can work on mobile and how you can generate additional or even greater revenues through licensing.

Speakers include: Rovio, DropForge/Wargaming, Ubisoft, Remedy, Next Games

User Acquisition on a global scale - what you really need to know!

Following on from brand marketing session, we get into the nuts and bolts of the current user acquisition trends with keynotes and panels exploring the latest techniques, some of the key global variations and look at what’s going to happen next and how to make the most of your UA dollar.

Speakers include: Mag Interactive, HasOffers, Inmobi, ApplIft, Midverse, Native X, Fiksu

Region Focus: China

In the first of our region focus sections we’ll take a look at the super hot Chinese market. Kicking off with the latest market stats from the analytics experts, well then move on to providing market guides and specific tips from local experts and practical experience from western companies who’ve tried their hand.

Speakers include: Sky-mobi, Chukong, 6waves, GMGC, GameGrapes, GMIC, Spilgun, Hit Cents

Region Focus: Korea & Japan

The Korean market is arguably the most mature smartphone games market and as such it provides an excellent insight into the trends that may shape the rest of the mobile gaming world. Japan meanwhile is still the most lucrative market in pure ARPU terms and boasts many of the biggest names in gaming (mobile and otherwise) plus in Puzzle & Dragons, the world’s richest game.

Speakers include: Gamevil, Metaps, Chorus, NTT Docomo, Latis Global, DeNA, Marvellous AQL

Region Focus: Emerging markets. India, South East Asia & Rest of the World

Which markets are going to break out next and how do you take advantage. Short sharp facts, figures and tips on the places you’ll be talking about next year!

Speakers include: 99 Games, Dhruva, i-Free, Frecuencia LatinAmerica, Fortumo, Zupcat

2. Indie Rock Star Track

You’ve got the idea, you’ve got the talent, you might even have a bit of money. But what does it take to make it and break out as an indie rock star in 2014.

This track will break the core issues facing independent game-makers into bite-sized chunks and wrap up the discussion with some of the greatest minds in the business both on the main keynotes/panels and in the cross-examining indie heroes (think X-Factor meets games conference).

Inspiration (Creativity)

What constitutes creativity? What drives it? Is copying legitimate? Are games art? Where do great ideas come from? What do players really want? How can we find the fun? These and more questions will be debated.

Speakers from: Frogmind, TabTale, CIE Games, SongHI, NAFNA, Grand Cru, Secret Exit

Perspiration (Production)

The idea is beautiful, but how are we going to fund it and how it is going to make money? Here we explore the realities of funding and work out how to marry our brilliant idea with the business models that are dominating the market (even if we don’t like them much!)

Speakers from: Cornfox, G5, Plarium, Mag Interactive, Shark Punch, Tag Games, Lumo, Revolution, Housemarque

Collectivisation (Tools & Partners)

Okay, so this isn’t really an ‘isation’ at all, but in this bit we’ll look at the potential tools and partners that can help your game become a reality.

Speakers from: FoFoFUm, ExitGames, Unity, Remode, Goo, GameFounders, Flexion

Perspiration (Sustainability)

We’ve made a game, maybe even had some success, but how do we turn that into a sustained business. Whether it’s running games as a service or setting up your company to produce more hits (or at least good bets)

Speakers from: Square, Scopely, Tinman, Remode, Roadhouse Interactive and Signus Labs

Futurisation (What’s next?)

In the final forward-looking session of the day we’ll examine other issues that you need to consider and the trends, technologies and more that will shape your games in the years ahead.

3. The Finnside Track

When in Helsinki, it only seems polite to dedicate some time to talk about the local scene. Fortunately for us, Finland is about THE hottest place in the mobile gaming world right now.

Playa presents…research

Partnering with one of the local development agencies Playa, who will be presenting a whole host of initiatives and research that they’ve been instigating and funding in recent years. Expect to get an insight into serious games, hear back from academic research into business models around gaming and learn about some specific initiatives such as free-to-play game testing.

Speakers: To be announced shortly!

History of the Finnish Mobile Games Scene

To seal out the first day we’re going to take a leisurely step back in time and look at the history of the mobile games market through a Finnish lens. Through keynotes, panels and fireside chats, we’ll be tracing a brief history of the industry from Snake and Riot on Nokia Series 40s through the Java/Symbian/N-Gage days of Digital Chocolate, Mr Goodliving, RedLynx and Rovio (mark 1) and into the smartphone era with premium hits like Angry Birds and Zen Bound then onto the free-to-play revolution led by Supercell, Grand Cru and more. Finally we’ll look ahead to the next generation of talents including Next Games, Seriously, PlayRaven as well as the console players like Remedy and Housemarque who are entering the space.

Speakers: A who’s who of the Finnish mobile games scene of the last 10 years.

4. Bonus Level – Investment, Unconference, the Very Big Indie Pitch and Pecha Kucha!

As if three core tracks weren’t enough, we’ve decided to squeeze in some bonus content (no in-conference purchase required) for the first day, allowing us to cover of a few areas that aren’t touched elsewhere.


A combination of interesting talks that didn’t quite fit elsewhere plus an open-mic pitching free for all, the unconference stage is ideal for those people who like a surprise – warning it could get a bit odd!
So far we've got panels and presentations about dealing with the under-18 game audience, advice on reaching the media, a special version of our Moneti$er and some soothing words of wisdom from a yoga game creator... more to follow!

Speakers: TBC

Playa presents...The Investment Track

As it turns out, Jessie J might not have been entirely right after all, especially in the modern world of global mobile publishing and ever increasing user acquisition costs. Getting the right backers and the right amount is becoming a key part of the new studio scene in Helsinki and beyond and in this micro-track we'll hear from Playa, their partners and others about the latest trends, tips and pitfalls in this part of the market.
Even if you don't walk away with a bulging bank account, you'll definitely learn something!

Very Big Indie Pitch

After a short introductory session the VBIP will open up with journalists and indie pitches locked in a 5 hour battle of wills as we look to uncover the next big thing. Who will crack first? Who will walk away with the honours and the prize? How much beer and pizza can we get through in an afternoon? These questions and more will be answered.

Pecha Kucha Sessions

The Japanese art of succinct presentation, PechaKucha is like a powerpoint haiku. Wilhelm Taht (COO Playground Publishing) will host a series of quick presentations Powered by PechaKucha. Topics will span from Monetization to the Best Games and beyond, presented by industry luminaries. If you want to partake with something clever, please get in contact with Wilhelm directly!

Speakers: Vungle, Pocket Gamer, Agnitio Capital, PlayMob, Mark Sorrell, King.

If that’s not enough for you, we also have the Very Big Indie Pitch, three networking events in the evening to let your hair down (Mobile Mixer and VIP Dinner on Monday and the PG Party on Tuesday night), plus a fancy meeting system, recruitment centre, indie showcase, some game challenges, journalist bars and expert tip bars.

Frankly there’s enough here for a whole week of conferences, but you get it all in just two days and for an amazing price. Sign up now to secure your spot before the prices go up next week.


A footy game fanatic and experienced editor of numerous computing and game titles, lively Chris is up for anything - including running Steel Media! (Madman!)