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Nitro Games’ CEO Jussi Tähtinen on the importance of preparing for failure in business

Learn from Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki’s brightest minds as we hear from our speakers ahead of the September conference
Nitro Games’ CEO Jussi Tähtinen on the importance of preparing for failure in business

Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki is gearing up to be our biggest event in the city yet, and we couldn’t be more excited to share with you all that we have in store! It’s going to be a magnificent two day event packed with endless opportunities to learn, scale and most importantly, connect. Today, we’re kicking off our series spotlighting just some of the amazing speakers that will be gracing the stage at our Helsinki show this September. They have been generous enough to share a few of their insights and expertise with us ahead of time, and you won’t want to miss them!

If you haven’t heard, we’re bringing back Europe’s favourite games industry conference to the spiritual home of mobile gaming for the first time in two years. On September 27 to 28, over 1,200 games industry professionals from around the globe will descend upon Helsinki for two days full of networking, matchmaking opportunities and hours of wisdom from over 200 thought leaders from all over the world. Starting today, we will be highlighting some of the most highly anticipated speakers we have joining us at the conference this September – keep checking back every day for more brilliant insights from our superstar speakers.

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Nitro Games’ CEO and co-founder Jussi Tähtinen. Jussi is a games industry veteran who has been developing games for over 20 years. He's the loud and proud CEO and Co-founder of Nitro Games, a Finnish mobile games powerhouse. Jussi is a versatile leader with experience from development and publishing to company management and funding. His recent focus has been on building a multinational team, growing and succeeding by sharing the same values & vision.

“Build your business plan with the aim for success but expect to fail.”
Jussi Tähtinen

Join us at PG Connects Helsinki on September 27 to 28 to hear Tähtinen deliver a session on how Nitro Games approached documenting and using these in a way that makes a difference. What’s the most common mistake you see being made in the games sector?
Jussi Tähtinen: I think in mobile gaming the mistake that teams often do, is not preparing for failure. The dynamics overall are such that most games fail, and "fail fast, take the learnings and try again" is a mantra that you hear a lot. However, where teams fail often is in building their business plans relying too much on hopium and not having enough room for the inevitable failures and retries.

If you could give other mobile games companies one piece of advice, what would it be?
Build your business plan with the aim for success but expect to fail. If your plan still makes sense with room for failure, then you can expect to succeed eventually.

Where are the next big opportunities in the mobile games market?
Mobile games are evolving so rapidly that there's so many big opportunities pretty much all the time. Our focus at Nitro Games is on the shooter and action games where we see bigger and better opportunities moving forward as a result of the constantly evolving hardware, networks and player adoption.

What’s the most important key performance indicator (KPI) for you - and why?
Growth. This applies to our people, our games and our business.

“Having the ability to meet and work with interesting people from all around the world, pretty much all sharing the same passion, is something that I appreciate more and more all the time.”
Jussi Tähtinen

What do you think the next big disruptor in mobile games will be?
I’m not sure if it's the next big disruptor, but in the longer term I believe that we're going to see more and more games that players can access regardless of the platform/hardware they use. We already have quite a few good cross-play games out there, but I believe there's still room for more innovation on this front in building game experiences that are accessible for larger audiences however and whenever they want to play.

What is the single biggest challenge facing the mobile games industry today?
Increasing cost of market entry. We're seeing more and more high-end, high production value mobile games on the market. This obviously translates to higher budgets and longer production times. This combined with the very hit-driven nature of the business and the fail fast mentality required creates a challenge that requires new types of thinking on how to build the games and room for failure in a commercially sustainable fashion.

The mobile space evolves at a much faster pace than console and PC gaming, but is there a console or PC trend that you think has potential within the mobile space?
Definitely yes: shooter games. The way I see things is that shooter games are a category that has always ended up as a dominant genre when a platform (or a generation of a platform) has reached technical maturity. The same is ongoing on mobile now.

What is the most overhyped trend from the last 12 months - and why?
Crypto-based play-to-earn. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion, and some companies have already scored some really impressive successes, but most of the stuff out there has been just fluff: excessive hype without any real substance.

What role do NFTs play in the future of games?
I definitely think there is a role to play, but what that is, I don't know. I see a lot of potential in the technology, but I'm not too impressed with the level of innovation on the game design so far. We're still lacking real added value in most of the cases I'm aware of. I expect someone to crack the nut during the next 24 months in a completely new innovative way that we haven't heard of yet.

Tell us your thoughts on cross-platform games
What we're seeing now are the first success cases. I believe that moving forward we will see new innovative approaches to cross-platform gaming where the outcome is greater and bigger than the sum of its parts. Sort of like what we've seen with WWW, Web 2.0, Web 3.0 and so on... I believe what we're seeing now is comparable to the early days of web browsing, and the really good stuff is yet to come.

What do you enjoy most about working in the mobile games industry?
The people. This whole concept of working in a global industry and having the ability to meet and work with interesting people from all around the world, pretty much all sharing the same passion, is something that I appreciate more and more all the time.

“You don't fail when you fall down. You fail when you decide not to get up and try again.”
Jussi Tähtinen

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received that you can pass on to others?
There's so many... but the first thing that came to mind is "never give up". Meaning that you don't fail when you fall down. You fail when you decide not to get up and try again.

Can people get in touch with you at PG Connects Helsinki? What sort of people would you like to connect with?
Definitely yes. I'm happy to connect with anyone really, and usually very hesitant in spending too much time listening to sales pitches about new revolutionary services or tools of all sorts. I'm not buying, we have other people for that in Nitro.

What is one way attendees can prepare for your talk at PG Connects Helsinki?
Just show up and leave the rest to me. We'll have a good time. If you don't believe me, check the recordings online from any of my previous presentations at any of the events.

Connect with our stellar speakers
Expand your network with the likes of Jussi Tähtinen and many, many more brilliant minds at this year’s Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki conference. There is no better place to connect with the biggest and most inspiring industry players and take your business to the next level. You can still take advantage of our Early Bird offer, but it’s ending soon! Head over to our website and buy your ticket today, you can save up to a whopping £290 if you act fast.