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's incredible 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!
We're highlighting some of the pioneers, founders, creators and thought leaders who will be taking to the stage at PGC London.
Benjamin Troy Drysdale is a seasoned leader, computer engineer, and capable manager. With over 20 years’ worth of experience in tech - 15 of them in leadership positions - Troy has a unique combination of skills honed to solve complex tasks in various industries.
For over 10 years, Troy has managed teams and created tech solutions in some of the most prominent aerospace, defence, and robotics companies across Canada. The other half of his experience lies in the game industry, with several technical leadership roles at companies working on intellectual property for Disney, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, Build-A-Bear and many others.
PocketGamer.biz: What can we expect to hear from you at PGC London?
Troy Drysdale: AR/VR/XR and machine learning are topics of interest - I am excited about how the new tools are going to change our development processes and how players interact with the games.
I have experienced the value a well-tuned AI system can have in generating content for products, and also to improve the players' experience.
I like to follow advancements in machine/human interfaces, and it'll be interesting to see how military/medical breakthroughs in that domain are adapted to gaming.
What are the most common mistakes you see being made in the games sector?
- Forgetting the “Fun” factor.
- Overworking teams to the point of burnout. It’s not a sustainable model and as an industry, we need to do better.
- Not knowing the audience for your game. Making features that shouldn’t exist
- Lack of use of a “force multiplier” - you should start taking advantage of it in production!
What's the most important KPI for you - and why?
Was it fun? Yes/No boolean KPI. End of the day, I make and play games to have fun. Historically, I would have said sales, downloads, or concurrent users, etc. After you have a few successes, all you care about is “Was it fun?” It’s someone else’s concern about downloads, conversions, daily player counts, etc.
What do you think the next big disruptor in mobile games will be?
Applications of advanced AI—both in production and as part of the challenge players face in games.
What's the single biggest problem facing the games industry in 2023?
I’d say there are two. Firstly, skilled resources. Most developers burn out five years in, meaning there is a distinct lack of experienced engineers making well-executed games. Secondly, gaining attention for your products. Demands for people's attention continue to grow. Getting noticed becomes harder and harder. A lot of studios are churning out the same games, with the same features and the same art.
What's your favourite mobile game?
Pokémon Go / Ingress — Pioneers who showed AR games can work. They also got people out of their houses, and into the world, gaming. Amazing social impact. I used to love yelling “There’s a Pikachu on the other side of the park” and watching 200 or more people migrate there.
What's the most overhyped trend from the last year?
Those game advertisements where the video has the player screwing up the gameplay. I am clearly not the target demographic - it makes me NOT want to play the games advertised.
What key trends can we expect to see in mobile gaming in 2023?
- VR. Lots of big investments. Cost of entry for consumers dropping. Lots of studios doing research into what works and what doesn’t. Multiple standards are being established to keep the experience positive. I expect we’ll start seeing those platform-defining experiences showing up around the same time prices drop to be consumer-friendly.
- More games that exist in the real world and require people to “be outside”. Maybe just a fanciful wish to see more people back outdoors.
- AI applications in and out of games will start having a large disruption in the production and quality of games.
Is hypercasual gaming here to stay?
I remember this question over 10 years ago. I would say hypercasual has been around my entire career, even if it wasn’t called that 20 years ago. And we should expect to continue servicing that sector. Gamers come in all colours, shapes, and sizes, so the market will continue to exist.
What are your thoughts on the metaverse?
Start learning how to develop for the metaverse. Follow the money. There's so much investment here, they’re buying smart minds, all of these amazing AI advancements, military investment into R&D, and the new work norms with so many studios being remotely distributed. The metaverse is poised to disrupt, but it’ll need people making content. There is an alignment of multiple facets which makes that too hot to ignore.
What do you enjoy most about working in the games industry?
I love helping the next generation learn the variety of skills necessary to be good at game development. It’s what appeals to me the most about the industry. Do people even exist without a phone capable of gaming in their pockets anymore?
What's the best piece of advice you'd like to share with others working in games?
Tough question, because you want me to give you my best, and there are so many to choose from!
- Technology is a lifelong learning endeavor. Get good at learning.
- There’s nothing another layer of abstraction can’t solve” always made me laugh.
Can people get in touch with you at PGC London? Who would you like to hear from?
Yes. Programmers. Team leads of programmers. Any technical person. Anyone doing AI, VR, or machine-human interactions. Let’s go get a drink.
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.