Alexander Casassovici is the CEO and co-founder of Azarus.io. Azarus.io claims to be the biggest game for streams where creators challenge their viewers over mastery of the game they stream. Casassovici is a serial entrepreneur and a technologist, advisor to multiple blockchain and non-blockchain companies. He was instrumental in the creation of the first connected children’s toy, Spykee, and has over a decade of experience in building interactive mobile services, cloud services, VR devices, and more recently AI-powered community platforms for the gaming industry. When he’s not working, you can find him trail running in the Marin headlands, leading the local elementary school’s engineering club, scuba diving in kelp forests, or completing quests, solving puzzles or bush-hiding in PC, console and mobile games.
Casassovici joins us for Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki Digital 2020 where he helps creators drive watchtime and playtime to their games, providing lessons and case studies.
Before the event takes place next month, we caught up with Casassovici to see what’s changed in the games industry since he joined, and what trends he expects to see over the next 12 months in the industry.
PocketGamer.biz: Tell us a bit about Azarus.io
Alexander Casassovici: Azarus.io is the biggest game on streams today. We were one of the first companies building a Twitch Extension and have been building the biggest game as an overlay to streams.
What does your role entail?
The industry has a place for everybody, it's about following your dreams and finding a path - and a team - that works for you
As the CEO, my role has multiple facets, but my main focus is on helping the team build the best product possible and helping our network of creators and publishers drive strong impact through it. I wish I were still coding a bit, but I rarely do more than spreadsheet macros these days.
Why did you want to work in the games industry?
I grew up with an Amstrad CPC 6128 and a GameBoy and have always been a gamer. As an engineer, I am passionate about building products and solving problems, and I see the games industry as a unique place where passion, technology and art exist together to - often more than not - create deep and beautiful experiences.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into it?
The industry has a place for everybody, it's about following your dreams and finding a path - and a team - that works for you.
What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?
With E3's cancellation this year, I feel 2020 generated a strong reality check with most publishers taking a more agile approach to new titles marketing more in line with the nature of those titles. I'm excited to see the industry recognizing more and more the role of creators and online communities beyond ‘hardcore’ Twitch personalities.
What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?
I expect to see more games taking streaming into account in their game design but I also expect creators to start upping their games when it comes to interacting with their communities
In the next 12 months I expect to see more games taking streaming into account in their game design - just like Hyperscape - but I also expect creators to start upping their games when it comes to interacting with their communities. A lot of the infrastructure is starting to mature and what we have beet testing in 2020 will become something viewers expect in 2021.
How has the games industry changed since you first started?
Games have deeply changed from games sold in boxes in retail, to now live games that live in beta forever! The expectations from the players have changed along with the way games are made and monetized, and the industry as a whole has not fully adjusted to that shift.
Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?
I just love the matchmaking aspect. I've been coming to the conference for years, and some connections I've made during the conference have been game changing for me. Whenever I get to sit in sessions I love to project myself on how others are seeing the wind blow and take that time to compare it with how I'm seeing it - and more often than not this will generate light bulb moments for me!