Pocket Gamer Connects London 2016 broke its own records on pretty much all fronts with its highest ever turnout, as over 1,400 mobile games delegates flooded through the doors of the Brewery in central London during 18-19th January.
This represents a 30% increase year-on-year and a doubling of the first year's event in 2014.
A who's who of mobile games
Pocket Gamer Connects was a genuinely international event, with over 800 companies from 54 countries and 5 continents represented.
Indeed, the UK accounted for just 54% of attendees with the remainder flying in from all across Europe (28%), North America (8.5%) and Asia (7.5%), as well as representatives from Latin America, Middle East, Africa and Australasia.
Finland and Vancouver were especially well represented thanks to support from industry hubs like Playa and the Vancouver Economic Forum.
Although creatives quite rightly dominated the show – with publishers, developers and brand owners accounting for c.60% of attendees – there was wide representation of the whole ecosystem with 8% from advertising, UA or related monetisation, 7.5% professional services (from legal, PR, agencies, etc including 3.5% related to funding), around 5% media, 4% platforms (with Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung and more present) and 6.5% from the education sector.
There were plenty of senior folks amongst them too with 55% having job titles in senior management or above and 27% at C-Level.
The show usually provides a good introduction to the key trends year and 2016 edition looked to be no exception with the biggest CEOs to the smallest indie developers lined up to give their views on the issues, challenges and opportunities they'll be facing in the mobile games market for 2016.
Key topics included the contiuing power of brands and pursuit of more varied marketing approaches, the potential of eSports and VR, the advent of the first $10 billion game and the ongoing complex relationship between East and West as everyone aims to go global.
The biggest names from around the world
As usual there was a strong presence from Asian markets with senior representatives from the likes of Tencent, Netease, Gamevil, Nazara, Kunlun, Cybird, Square Enix, Adways, Dico and Forrest Interactive discussing the potential and sharing tips for success on East Meets West, all ably backed up by the latest data from data partners Newzoo.
The big western publishers also had plenty to say with EA, Kabam, Rovio, King, Sega, Chillingo, Scopely and co talking about their aspirations and strategies for the year ahead, alongside leading brand owners such as Fox, BBC, Channel, Endemol and Games Workshop.
The best of British
There was a particular celebration of UK talent too in Best of British where the likes of Ustwo, TT Games, Fireproof, NaturalMotion, Mike Bithell and Space Ape spoke alongside industry luminaries such as Ian Livingstone, regional hubs and student representatives about why Great Britain is a better than ever place to make games.
Indie Appocalypse? No!
Although times may be getting tougher for the smaller developers, the indie community was in good voice and out in their hundreds, from superstars such as Creative, Frogmind, Flare Games and Digital Legends to new arrivals either taking part in the big indie pitch, exhibiting in the packed Indie Expo area or taking on advice and inspiration from the Mobile Games University and Indie Appocalypse tracks.
Top draw networking
Aside from the education in the tracks, it was all about the networking as both Pitch & Match system and brand new app was creaking as over 3,600 meetings were arranged at the venue and countless more took place in our pitch events and after hours party.
There was time to let hair down too as attendees rocked out to Iron Maiden for the announcement of Roadhouse's new game, swapped stories in saris at Nazara's reception or, in one memorable case, peeled back their dressing gown to reveal...rather too much as PechaKucha went Rocky Horror.
“I’m absolutely delighted by this year’s show, both due to the growth of delegate numbers but also the continuing diversity in terms of countries and companies represented - we had over 1,400 people from 5 continents converging on London this week," commented Steel Media MD Chris James.
"Thanks to the hard work of our amazing team, the support of our sponsors and the engagement of speakers and delegates, London in January is now a fixture on the games event calendar”