Speaker Spotlight: 12traits CEO Joe Schaeppi reveals the importance of empathy in retaining players

Joe Schaeppi will be giving a talk titled The Future of Gaming is Empathy - The Key to Retaining Players at Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki

Speaker Spotlight: 12traits CEO Joe Schaeppi reveals the importance of empathy in retaining players

Joe Schaeppi is the Co-founder and CEO of 12traits. At Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki on September 11th to 12th he'll be giving a talk titled The Future of Gaming is Empathy - The Key to Retaining Players. Click here to get more info on the show and to buy your tickets.

Schaeppi is the co-founder and CEO of 12traits where they believe that the path to a better future lies in unlocking the true potential of humankind through combining deep psychological insights with machine learning: powering the empathy of AI.

He is a startup advisor, a clinical counsellor specialising in adventure-based psychotherapy as well as neuropsychology, and a published author on the Harvard Business Review.

Previously, Joe was the Sr Manager of UX at Big Fish Games and a UX director at MRM // McCann, creating games and experiences grounded in applied psychology.

Schaeppi has a M.S. in clinical psychology from Prescott College and B.S. degrees in psychology and anthropology from the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

PocketGamer.Biz: What does your role at the company entail?

Joe Schaeppi: Keeping the main thing, the main thing. As the CEO of a startup, things are constantly moving, shaping, and evolving.

Being able to prioritise and execute on the overall vision while also being very detail oriented is one of the more pertinent tricks of the trade.

Currently, I'm very customer and product focused. We need to be unparalleled when it comes to the scientific and technological rigour we have when our main product constitutes deep AI-driven psychological insights.

Providing an incredible experience for our customers that builds an enduring level of trust is paramount to me. Making sure that we're over-delivering on value both extrinsically and intrinsically is key.

What do you think have been the most exciting developments in gaming since the last Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki?

What excites me the most is how far so many gaming companies have come along in their ability to act on data and the increased investments in human-centred design, while many companies are simultaneously starting to understand that focusing on behaviour data alone doesn't hold even close to all of the answers.

It puts us in an exciting position to ride a wave of needs that are unfulfilled and can be acted on.

As a result, I think games are going to start to feel a lot more culture or "tribe" centred, not just providing dopamine-driven experiences, but moving further into intrinsic needs of every individual on a more personalised, adaptive, and dynamic level.

What are your thoughts on the way the industry has grown in the last 12 months?

As VR isn't as interesting as it used to be from a financial perspective, AR seems like a huge lift for many companies, and Blockchain has become this buzzing problem solver that only a few have found problems to solve within gaming, I think the most profound and interesting area to focus on based on growth alone is eSports.

This is a really exciting time to be a gamer or be in games and I think that eSports will eventually drive the evolution of all of the aforementioned buzzwords that we've heard the past few years.

What do you think the next 12 months in mobile gaming are going to look like?

A messier, redder ocean, esportier landscape than the year before.

And in my selfish hope: fewer companies creating games based on competitive analyses, copying successes, and instead designing games that they think are fun and use the unique talents of a studio to meet the needs of their players.

Meaning: game companies are taking the time to address gaps in the market space, doing research on the players in that space to understand them intimately, and creating experiences that deeply resonate with their chosen audiences.

I wouldn't call it more personalised, but a step towards being more humanised.

Which part of Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki are you most looking forward to and why?

Meeting friends, catching up, and celebrating some big successes: there are so many people doing amazing things in this industry right now and finding success.

It's a great energy to be around. As well, PG Connects always does a super good job of creating human interactions with their attendees, so looking forward to meeting new people, and especially talking to anyone who wants to vastly raise the bar on how their games can create more enduring as well as engaging experiences for their players- it's what makes all this worthwhile.

About Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki

In a few short weeks the whole mobile gaming industry is set to descend on Helsinki for Pocket Gamer Connects. The event, which runs from September 11th to 12th, is packed full of talks, tracks, networking opportunities, and more. You can read about the full conference schedule here.

There are still tickets available for the show, and if you click this link right here you'll get all the information you need on how to buy them, and what's going to be happening in Helsinki over the two days.

Contributing Editor

Harry used to be really good at Snake on the Nokia 5110. Apparently though, digital snake wrangling isn't a proper job, so now he writes words about games instead.