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Pocket Gamer Connects Seattle – the editor's picks for unmissable sessions

Editor Khai Trung Le gives his lineup of essential talks, panels, and sessions in PG Connects Seattle, taking place on May 9-10
Pocket Gamer Connects Seattle – the editor's picks for unmissable sessions

I hope you've got your tickets, both digital and live, for Pocket Gamer Connects Seattle, as we bring Europe's premier B2B games industry conference to the US west coast on May 9-10. This is not an event you'll want to miss out on: two packed days of experts sharing their insight, tips, and observations in an industry that has never stood still.

Frankly, the task of picking a selection of unmissable panels and sessions feels a little unfair, because I can't just copy-paste the schedule here. So, under some mild duress, here is my pick of talks you don't want to skip.

Why ‘Play & Own’ Solves the Instability of ‘Play To Earn’
Monday 9 May, 09:30 - 09:50

Million on Mars’ Mitch Zamara makes some heavy promises with his session, positing the potential of what we know as play-to-earn as something that “could potentially bring not just gaming but also banking and payment systems to everyone”. This is a crucial element of P2E gaming’s inherent promise yet-unrealised and, to my mind, ill-defined. Zamara’s insight will be one to watch out for.

I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major Studio!: The Missing Ingredients for Hit Games in 2023–2024
Monday 9 May, 09:50 – 10:10

Crossover Technologies’ Eric Goldberg comes out swinging: “mobile developers are making games as if they’re still stuck in 2009 – and PC and console developers as if the clock is set at 1999”. Goldburg promises a talk that will bring together approaches to building games with modern digital media and the internet in mind.

Finding & Accelerating Diamonds in the Rough
Monday 9 May, 10:10 – 10:30

It’s not often I hear Supercell, Mojang, and CD Projekt Red described as indie studios, but Lunar Owl’s Colin Donaldson and Howard Donaldson looks at the success of diamonds in the rough: studios seeing outstanding success compared to the gargantuan size of entities such as Tencent, Epic, and Microsoft. How can we find them, and what resources should be brought in to make the biggest difference.

Keynote: Financing LTV Cycles
Monday 9 May, 11:10 – 11:30

Pollen VC’s Martin Macmillan is a staple of PG Connects, and his talk in Seattle promises something fundamental to many mobile games: learning how to maximise success along the LTV cycle of your game. There is no understating how integral this is.

Are Ads the Right Monetisation Method for Your Game?
Monday 9 May, 14:00 – 14:40

We bring an expert panel of AppLovin’s Tony Chau, InMobi’s Jobie Tan, East Side Games’ Josh Nilson and Steel Media’s own Dave Bradley for this in-depth discussion on monetisation methods for your games – of particular note will be the comparison between premium models and in-game advertising.

Gaming M&A from the insider’s perspective
Tuesday 10 May, 09:50 – 10:30

It has been a wild period for mergers and acquisitions. Quantum Tech Partners’ Alina Soltys will lead a panel to discuss the outlook from the founders, stakeholders, and advisory firms’ perspective.

How to design your game with multiple ad formats in mind
Tuesday 10 May, 10:30 – 11:10

A panel discussion between Kooapp’s Chun-Kai Wang, HyprMX’s Dylan Umali and AuthorDigital’s Serena Robar will explore the benefits and perils of integrating multiple ad formats in your mobile game.

Keynote: Discovering the why: launching new games and features in 2022
Tuesday 10 May, 11:30 – 11:50

Solsten’s Josh Rivers gets straight to the point in his keynote about reocgnising the ‘why’ that drives players to engage with your games. His secret weapon is a combination of psychological insight and ethnographic data, and Rivers will walk you through his ‘why’-centred development process.

Are casual games still the dominant force in mobile gaming?
Tuesday 10 May, 11:50 – 12:30

A plethora of experts – Rainbow Unicorn Games’ Athena Peters, East Side Games’ Josh Nilson, Software Illuminati’s Jon Kimmich, SpicaTech and Wixel Studios’ Reina Abbas, and Rogue Games’ Scott Prather – will break down something that has been on my mind for some time: the enduring strength of casual games. Hypercasual has been a force of nature, and even helped propel entire countries into the mobile games industry. But how sustainable is this?

The state of trans representation in video games
Tuesday 10 May, 14:20 - 14:40

Look, I know we're an industry/biz site and I know issues like ATT and in-game monetisation are absolutely the hot topics. But, on a very personal note, this really matters to me. was lucky enough to talk with Ryu Games' Lilly Contino back in January, and I absolutely urge you all to take in her insight and experiences, and make the positive change you can.

The Very Big Indie Pitch
Mobile: Monday 9 May, 14:00 – 17:00
PC and console: Tuesday 10 May, 10:00 – 13:00
Awards ceremony: Tuesday 10 May, 17:00 – 17:30

If you know Pocket Gamer, you know the Big Indie Pitch. Sophia Aubrey Drake hosts our live Big Indie Pitches, and we are eagerly awaiting your games. Register to get feedback from an expert panel of judges for critical advice, prizes, and promotional packages.

Global Connects Party
Monday 9 May, 19:30 – 11:59

Last time, I inferred that the games industry was fond of a drink, and I stand by that. But after a long day of networking, info-gathering, and expertise-sharing, there’s nothing quite like winding down (or spooling up) with a cool drink among friends and peers. The website says it finishes at 11:59, but my suspicion is none of us will turn into pumpkins so perhaps it’s advisory?