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PG Connects speaker spotlight: Nicoll Hunt, I Fight Bears

Micro-consoles could be the 2014 opportunity for indies
PG Connects speaker spotlight: Nicoll Hunt, I Fight Bears
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It's just weeks to go before Pocket Gamer Connects 2014.

Our first conference will be held in London on 20-21 January - you can find out more details here.

So to whet your appetite, we're finding out more about some of our speakers.

A veteran of Codemasters, Visual Science and Realtime Worlds, Nicoll Hunt is a rising star in the indie scene.

His latest game, time-travelling-lumberjack-'em-up Fist of Awesome, was released in October on mobile and console platforms to widespread critical acclaim and commercial success.

Pocket Gamer: So who are you and what do you do?

I'm Nicoll Hunt, a Scottish man with a beard. I'm the creator of Fist of Awesomeand head honcho for I Fight Bears, a micro-studio based in London.

What do you think has been the most significant event for mobile games during 2013?

I think this year has largely been evolutionary, more than a revolutionary one.

Hardware has again improved but the changes are becoming more nuanced now, similar to the progression of the bigger consoles. Raw power is becoming less of an issue, and increasingly software is the main differentiation between the various mobile platforms.

As such I think iOS 7 was a particular highlight, and a bolder move than I think most people give Apple credit for.

On the games side of things I was happy to see Ridiculous Fishing's launch go so well and prove there is still a healthy market for paid apps.

From a personal perspective the release of Fist of Awesome is the undisputed highlight. I'm incredibly proud of how the game has been received, and especially happy its gesture-based combat system has been so highly praised.

What do you think will be the biggest challenges and opportunities in 2014?

As the number of developers and available games continues to increase, discoverability will always be the prevalent challenge. It's already incredibly hard to stand out from the crowd, and that is going to be even more true in 2014.

The biggest opportunities I see are in the developing markets of micro-consoles and integrated technologies in new TVs.

The various platforms (Ouya, GameStick, Android TV, Nvidia Shield, etc.) are all very similar to develop for so supporting a wide range of devices is surprisingly simple from a developer point of view.

It's inevitable that most of these emerging platforms will underperform but all it takes is for one or two to break-out and there'll be a new market that indie developers can be a part of from the very beginning.

How will indie developers fare? Any advice?

I think it'll be tough and exciting year for indie developers. The quality bar will keep rising, which makes things harder for new developers looking to create a foothold, but also means gamers will have a huge amounts of fabulous games to choose from.

My advice would be that if you want commercial success then you have to work VERY hard to stand out from the crowd. Marketing a game well is absolutely vital to ensuring people hear about it, and should go hand in hand with actual development.

How big do you think the East-meets-West opportunity is, and which markets are you most excited about in 2014?

If I'm honest I'm excited about anyone that wants to play my games!

What are you expecting to learn from attending Pocket Gamer Connects?

I'm hoping to meet a huge range of people who love creating unique experiences for mobile devices and learn as much as I possibly can from them.

What were your favourite mobile games of 2013?

There are far too many to list! If I'm only allowed three, I'll go for Ridiculous Fishing, Mikey Shorts and Icycle: On Thin Ice.

Finally, what's your New Year's resolution and what resolution would you enforce on the industry?

My resolution is to be as open and honest and possible and not be afraid to voice my opinion on controversial topics.

I'd love to enforce an industry resolution of "We will not take advantage of people by charging obscenely high amounts of money for consumable virtual items".