Gain new skills and industry knowledge with the next round of PocketGamer.Biz MasterClasses

Get essential games industry insight from some of the finest minds with these deep-dive workshops

Gain new skills and industry knowledge with the next round of PocketGamer.Biz MasterClasses

You’ll gain essential knowledge and insights from the finest games industry experts with our MasterClass series, as it returns on June 8th to 10th. We're hosting more insightful sessions designed to help enhance your skills and knowledge, by providing a practical deep-dive into specific subjects, all accessible from the comfort of your home office.

We’ll help you understand how to build a game pitch, set up and manage your in-house playtest campaign, master data for engaging game design, cognitive science and UX, and how to design for live ops success.

These professional, half-day workshops are delivered by the finest industry experts through Zoom, with learning support tools like Miro, Mural and Google docs to support collaborative activities including tutorials, lectures and breakout group work. You can expect to explore a range of key games design topics from economy design and optimisation, to core design fundamentals and product management, to live operations and everything in between.

Check out the upcoming MasterClasses below and don't forget to click the links for a full, detailed breakdown of everything you can expect; including the core topic areas, key takeaways and session format.



Tuesday, June 8 (10am - 1pm UK)

MasterClass: Building a Game Pitch: From Concept to Doc

Arran Topalian Senior Game Designer Mediatonic Ltd

Fuelled by a childhood of unforgettable industry-defining games, Arran’s eight-year long career in the games industry has allowed him to work across a wide variety of genres, project sizes and responsibilities, from Sea Of Thieves at Rare to the top-grossing mobile game Yahtzee With Buddies.

Currently employed as a Senior Game Designer by Mediatonic, Arran continues to help teams create life-long, memorable experiences for a new generation of players- and play all the games he possibly can!

This MasterClass is designed to equip participants with new skills and knowledge on how to write user-friendly, well-structured pitch documentation that strikes a strong balance between level of detail and upsell. You can expect to learn tips and advice that will ultimately culminate in the creation of the first, and possibly most important, page of your own pitch document by the end of the session.

Key takeaways include:

  • Why game concept pitching can be so important
  • Best practices around how to explain a game concept idea
  • Tips on how to prove the strength of your concept



Tuesday, June 8 (2pm - 5pm UK)

MasterClass: Setting Up and Managing Your In-house Playtest Campaign

Pascal Luban Creative Director

Pascal Luban is a game designer and creative director. With over 25 years of experience, he has led design teams on both triple-A console games (Splinter Cell - Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory, Alone In the Dark - The New Nightmare, Wanted - Weapons of Fate, etc.) and mobile titles (Wars and Battle, The One Hope).

He set up and managed the playtest facility at the Ubisoft studio in Annecy where the multiplayer mode of Splinter Cell games was developed.

This MasterClass will explain how to set up your own in-house playtest structure and how to run a playtest campaign while remaining affordable, even for very small studios.

Key takeaways include:

  • Step-by-step method to prepare and manage a playtest campaign
  • Sample documents for the preparation of a playtest session, and its debrief
  • Best practices to find the playtesters most adapted to your needs



Wednesday, June 9 (4pm - 7pm UK)

MasterClass: Cognitive Science and a UX framework to Improve Your Game

Celia Hodent Game UX Consultant

Celia Hodent is recognized as a leader in the application of user experience (UX) and cognitive science in the game industry.

Celia holds a PhD in psychology and has over 12 years of experience in the development of UX strategy and processes in video game studios.

Through her work at Ubisoft (Rainbow 6), LucasArts (Star Wars: 1313), and as Director of UX at Epic Games (Fortnite), she has contributed to many projects across multiple platforms, from PC to consoles, mobile, and VR.

Celia is also the founder of the Game UX Summit, advisor for the GDC UX Summit, author of The Gamer’s Brain: How Neuroscience and UX can Impact Video Game Design and of The Psychology of Video Games.

She currently works as an independent consultant, helping studios increase the likelihood of their games to be engaging and successful.

This MasterClass will delve into how the human brain works in terms of perception, attention, and memory (critical elements for usability), and offers guidelines to significantly improve the experience of a game, as perceived by its target audience, not only in terms of usability, but also in terms of engagement.

Key takeaways include:

  • The main characteristics and limitations of the human brain (in terms of perception, attention, memory), the three main learning processes, and how this knowledge can help game development.
  • What makes a game engaging and how to foster these components in a game.
  • Have a clear and concrete understanding of what having a UX mindset and developing a UX strategy entail.



Wednesday, June 9 (10am - 1pm UK)

MasterClass: Mastering Data for Engaging Game Design

Poornima Seetharaman Director of Design Zynga

Poornima has been part of the gaming industry for over 15 years and undertaken roles varying from Game Designer to Producer to Studio head and Entrepreneur.

She has been part of companies like Indiagames (Disney India), Jumpstart, GSN Games etc.

She is currently a Director of Design at Zynga.

She has worked on franchises like BioShock Mobile, How to Train your Dragons, Neopets, and FarmVille 2: Country Escape to name a few.

She is a Women in Games Ambassador and also a Hall of Fame Inductee at the Global WIG Awards 2020, making her the first Indian game developer to receive such an honour.

Vimal Sathish Director of Design Zynga

With close to two decades of work experience, Vimal's been at the helm of building games long enough to see the inception and growth of the free-to-play business model in the casual space, as well as the advent of the OG iPhone and the consequent touch-screen games boom.

His experience working on a multitude of hit games and incredible IPs (The Walking Dead, UFC, CSR Racing 2, etc.) and across varied platforms (Nintendo DS, AR/VR, Plug and Play, mobile, etc.) brings a well-rounded and informed perspective to the table - a key element in helping enhance design as a skill amongst others.

Vimal currently works as the Director of Design at Zynga.

The 'Mastering data for engaging game design' MasterClass will touch upon how we can influence game design and game experience with the help of data and also how to use game design to move different metrics. This will act as a starting guide for you when you are thinking about your next big idea or looking at improving your current game.

Key takeaways include:

  • Why data is important in Free to Play (F2P) games or games in general
  • What are the kinds of data available
  • How to interpret and understand player behaviour
  • Weaving data with game design



Thursday, June 10 (4pm - 7pm UK)

MasterClass: Designing for LiveOps Success

Crystin Cox Director of Live Game Operations Xbox Game Studios

Crystin Cox is currently the Director of Live Game Operations for Xbox Game Studios Publishing.

Before joining Xbox in 2019 she spent 16 years as a game developer working on large scale, online games with teams at ArenaNet, Nexon, and Disney.

Throughout her career, Crystin has focused on game design and direction, monetization strategy, and LiveOps while also being active in the game developer community as a frequent speaker and writer, she is also the co-host of the podcast The Art of LiveOps.

This MasterClass is about designing games that will grow and engage players through live operations. We will be exploring the fundamental elements that create longevity, growth, and engagement in games regardless of genre or platform. With a focus on design and player experience, we will dive into Retention, Monetization, and Live Content and lay out how to align your game’s design with best practices in these key areas.

Key takeaways include:

  • Which elements of design will drive retention what which might be getting in the way of retention
  • How to create monetization goals and pillars
  • How to evaluate live content plans for sustainability and efficiency




BOOK NOW: Multi-buy & group discounts

3 for 2: Book three MasterClasses for the price of two!
Corporate discount: a group of six or more from one company can get 30% off if booked together.

To arrange any of the bespoke packages above, please email  for more information.

Tickets are limited so be sure to get in touch today to secure your place.

Events Writer

Charlie is the Events Writer at

You can catch him on Twitter @CharlieScowen_ talking about anything gaming, TV or football related whilst also sharing too many memes.