Speaker Spotlight: Sam Fisher talks about growing a successful games company - and learning from your mistakes

Meet the industry pioneers and business leaders who are speaking at Pocket Gamer Connects London on January 23rd and 24th 2023.

Speaker Spotlight: Sam Fisher talks about growing a successful games company - and learning from your mistakes

The leading games industry conference is almost here. Pocket Gamer Connects London is now just a few days away and what a lineup of speakers we’ve got in store for you.

On January 23rd and 24th Pocket Gamer Connects hits home soil, returning to London for two days of insight-sharing, and contact-making interspersed with our world-famous thought-provoking panels, seminars, keynotes and more.

There are amazing networking opportunities and our expert sessions are your chance to get up close and meet some of the biggest names in mobile games in what will be our biggest and best PG Connects London yet!

In the run-up to the show we're speaking to the pioneers, founders and industry leaders who will be taking to the stage at PGC London and finding out more about what they'll be discussing - as well as their thoughts on the games sector in 2023 and beyond!

Sam Fisher is the CEO of Hyper Hippo Entertainment. His key focus is bringing together amazing talent, encouraging creativity, and leading the strategic vision to grow Hyper Hippo’s global portfolio. A believer in the transformative potential of entertainment, Sam is a board member of DigiBC and speaks regularly at industry events about the power of entertainment as a global force. What can delegates expect to hear from you at PGC London?

Sam Fisher: Last fall, Hyper Hippo celebrated our 10-year anniversary. Over the last 10 years, we’ve experienced some incredible wins. We’ve also had some misses. It keeps us on our toes. And hungry. Our willingness to take risks is what has made us stronger as both a close team of creators and a global community of gamers. It’s taught us that as long as we keep listening - to each other and our players - even our missteps provide learning opportunities that bring us closer to our goals.

In this session, I’ll share some of the biggest lessons with you that we’ve learned in our 10-year journey. While we recognise and are grateful for the successes we’ve had over the last decade, we truly believe that our best years are ahead of us and the best games are yet to be made. Join me for a conversation about the journey - the highs and lows - that shape who we are as makers, players, gamers, and creators.

What's the most common mistake you see being made in the games industry?

Focusing on profit over people and players. Something we’ve learned in Hyper Hippo’s 10-year journey is the importance of long-term thinking. While it can seem like profit should be the key driver behind decision-making, this ultimately drives short-term thinking. Games can last for generations, and if you want to continue being part of your players’ life in the future, your focus needs to be on creating IP that can last in the long term.

What single piece of advice would you pass on to other games companies?

Invest in innovation. It takes time for great teams and meaningful visions to become powerful. Identifying what your unique value proposition is – what it is that your entertainment brings that is authentically you – takes time, several iterations, and a willingness to take risks.

Where are the next big innovations coming from in the games market?

New Global Markets are key markets for growth over the next 10 years. Invest in people and partnerships that will help you understand where you have the potential for audience growth and outline a path into those markets.

Don’t put off thinking about localisation until after your game is out in the world; incorporating universal themes into your games from conception can make it easier to culturalise games for global markets down the road.

What's the most important KPI for Hyper Hippo - and why?

The breadth and depth of direct relationships in our Active Player Base is our main currency for long-term growth and success. Healthy relationships and communities aren’t a nice-to-have; they’re essential components of lasting entertainment. Don’t cut corners or skimp on this investment!

What are your goals for Hyper Hippo?

We aspire to be the leader in breaks – we want Hyper Hippo games to be what people think of when they step away from the stressors of their day and take a few minutes to play. The idle genre is a natural fit for breaks, and our goal is to continue making games that are felt by audiences as genre-leading.

What is the single biggest challenge facing the games sector in 2023?

Increasing regulations and constraints for all based on the actions of a few. The “bad apples” make it hard for everyone, and this will become clearer as more fines, rules, regulations and laws are rolled out. The cost of compliance will reduce profits throughout the games industry in the coming years.

What are your thoughts on cross-platform games?

Building worlds with depth - those elements that allow players to imagine themselves in the world - is of utmost importance if you want to be able to captivate and capture players’ attention. The power of game platforms and closed systems will run contrary to player preferences while forcing game makers to build new ways to connect with and monetise active players outside isolated platforms.

The more opportunities game makers can take to connect with and integrate themselves into their players’ lifestyles, the better.

What do you enjoy most about working in the games industry?

The opportunity to unleash the creative impulse in all of us. At Hyper Hippo, we cultivate a high-trust, high-learning culture where creators are empowered to make decisions and experiment. This approach allows us to be more agile and innovative as a studio while empowering creators with the resources and support to continually work towards mastery of their craft.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Find what you’re good at - what your players expect from you - and focus on it. At Hyper Hippo we focus on short-form interactive entertainment, helping people enjoy their day through several short daily interactions.

What first attracted you to the games sector?

Games are a form of art and entertainment. They are a medium that touches both the heart and the mind. Mobile gaming is relatively new as industries go - never before has there been a globally accessible platform to engage people around the world in commonly shared entertainment. Being able to shape our industry and contribute to making it great is an exciting opportunity.

What can delegates do to prepare for your session at PGC London?

Over Hyper Hippo’s 10-year journey, we’ve learned the importance of trusting our instincts, even (especially!) when taking risks. Think about your own journey, especially those moments where people questioned you – did you trust yourself and your instincts, or compromise your vision to meet others’ expectations? Remember, good team members will love you for being bold.

Can people contact you at PGC London?

Absolutely. I love conversations about how our industry can conquer the current litany of challenges, and what we can do to make the world a better place through what we do in our industry. If you’d like to connect with me, email is the best way to get in touch. 

There's still time to get your ticket for Pocket Gamer Connects London. To find out more about the event and secure ticket visit the PGC London website. regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.