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Speaker Spotlight Seattle: Delivering premium live services with Kazutomo Niwa of Game Server Services (GS2)

We get up close with the speakers at our upcoming Pocket Gamer Seattle event. Don't miss out!
Speaker Spotlight Seattle: Delivering premium live services with Kazutomo Niwa of Game Server Services (GS2)
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On May 16 and 17 2023 Pocket Gamer Connects - our series of internationally renowned live events - is BACK in Seattle.

Following the smash that was Pocket Gamer Connects London earlier this year, once again, we’ll be bringing together over 1,000 attendees from the games industry from all over the globe to network, pitch and learn from over 150 of the games industry’s top authorities in our favourite Stateside location.

A big focus for this conference is diving into new technologies, particularly AI and Web3 and their impact on the games industry, to reflect the most up-and-coming industry trends that you need to know about in 2023.

Our brilliant speakers and panellists will deliver insightful content on game design and development, monetisation and growth, life as an indie, new technologies, company culture and much, much more.

There's limitless 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 Seattle yet!

Before the event kicks off, the PocketGamer.biz team has been catching up with some of the incredible pioneers and thought leaders who will be taking to the stage to find out more about their talks and their thoughts on the global games market through 2023 and beyond.

Kazutomo Niwa is the CEO of Game Server Services (GS2), a cloud-based game server solution that frees up developers to make great games. Niwa's previous experience at Nintendo, taking care of operating systems and SDKs for their consoles and large-scale game servers showed him an opportunity to fix a big pain point game developers and GS2 was born.

Want to learn more? Be sure to join us at PG Connects Seattle on May 16 and 17 2023. Click here for details.

PocketGamer.biz: What can we expect to hear from you at PGC Seattle?

Kazutomo Niwa: The trends in the game markets of North America and Asia differ. In my session, you will learn about the structure of live-service games in Asia/Japan and how GS2 features and tools can be utilized. This will provide valuable insights on how to improve user engagement and monetization for your game operations.

Just as Unity and Unreal Engine have done for game engines, GS2 improves workflow in the game server realm. As a solution developed by game developers for game developers, GS2 has been in service for three years now after four years of development and has received high levels of satisfaction from clients.

What do you think the next big disruptor in mobile games will be?

I am confident that the US mobile market's expansion will bring disruptive changes. Historically, the US market has been hesitant towards gacha-based monetization, but this sentiment has changed in recent years. While the average revenue per user for mobile games is lower in the US, successful high-end mobile games like Genshin Impact and hybrid casual games generate sales comparable to Japan due to their large user bases and high customer value.

If the average revenue per user increases to Japan's level, the US mobile game market is expected to expand by about four times. This could lead to more mobile games being developed in the US and then globalized to other markets.

What is the single biggest challenge facing the mobile games industry today?

Very high development costs are the biggest challenge. In the mobile gaming industry, AAA titles such as Genshin Impact and Honkai Star Rail are already being developed with budgets comparable to those of console games. To address this challenge, it is important to efficiently develop games, shorten development cycles, increase user engagement to expand game lifetime, and maximize monetization.

What developments do you think have been undervalued by the mobile games industry?

I believe that the US gaming industry is not fully recognizing the potential of the high-end mobile market. Genshin Impact has already generated over $2 billion in revenue, and Honkai Star Rail has earned over $13 million in just its first week of launch. In fact, the US has the highest number of downloads in the world for these two titles. It is strange that such large-scale categories are almost exclusively dominated by Asian developers, and it is curious that this situation is being accepted as it is.

Is hypercasual gaming here to stay?

Profitability in hypercasual gaming is declining due to an increase in cost per performance relative to its lifetime value. In contrast, hybridcasual has gained popularity in recent years and is demonstrating sufficient profitability. Therefore, I believe that hybridcasual has a great chance of success.