Casual Connect Europe 2016 Day 1 Summary – It’s moving to Berlin

So the first day at Casual Connect is over and I’m sitting in my hotel room eating biscuits and watching Champion’s League football. Some may say I should be out networking at a party; my brain says a low quality live recording of PSG versus Chelsea takes precedence.

Anyway, to make up for my total lack of networking productivity, I thought I’d round up what happened at the conference today instead. Here are my abbreviated highlights: enjoy them or perish immediately.

Note: you will not perish immediately if you don’t enjoy them.

The morning of the first day

I had barely planted my bum on a seat in the main conference hall (which I won’t attempt to spell the name of here because Dutch is a silly language) when I was nearly blown off it by a seemingly throw away opening announcement.

In the quick hello before the first speaker came on stage, Carl Quinton from Casual Connect announced that we will not be enjoying the European leg of the show in Amsterdam next year. Instead, it’ll be taking place in Germany in beautiful Berlin on the 7th-9th February 2017. That’s a big call to make, but one which probably makes sense due to all the juicy potential sponsors currently living it large near the Berlin TV tower so I’ll let him off. Also I’ve not had currywurst in a while so it’s hardly the “wurst” decision, right?

…Anyway, unsure of whether or not I should have been phoning a news editor about this, I instead took the easy way out and listened to keynote speaker Maximo Cavazzani, CEO of Etermax, discuss the rise of Trivia Crack instead. Key points I took away included the importance of localising for different types of Spanish, how machines can solve some really random problems (in this case, how Etermax’s Question Factory helps them generate thousands of high quality questions from user submissions across the world) and how Cavazzzani is young, handsome and successful. The git.

temp

Don’t mess with Gustav

Finally, the main highlight of the morning was Tommy Palm from Resolution Games. Partly it was due to his informed take on the VR space, which balanced optimism for its potential as a platform with a clear explanation of the challenges that lie ahead for it. But mostly it was due to the fact that his talk was loosely based on Gustavus Adolphus, legendary Swedish King and historical badass. And any games conference talk that ends with a painting of a man being trampled to death by a cavalry charge needs to be applauded roundly, so congratulations Mr Palm.

Afternoonsies

After scoffing a decent lunch and accidentally missing a meeting due to the fact that I scheduled all of mine at OP Mest rival Meeting Point 1, I caught a few talks in the afternoon instead.

The first was Peter Warman, Founder of Newzoo, talking about the state of play in the eSports industry. Even though they’re one of my clients and I probably should say nice things about them, their data is really good. From telling us that 96% of eSports enthusiasts play mobile games to the big impact North America is making on the scene, it was full of tangible stuff to happily smush your face into. And did I mention Peter is a fan of the greatest game ever, Rocket League, and therefore has wonderful taste and must never be criticised ever?

Rocket League aka game of the gods

Rocket League aka game of the gods

Later in the day, Teemu Huutahnen, CEO at Next Games won the award for calmness under technical pressure, as a) all his videos in his presentation failed to play and b) he was forced to briefly to suffer the indignity of using a Windows PC. But his talk about game licensing was a good one nevertheless. The main things I took away from it were to hire a good lawyer to make sure you understand what you’re actually able to use when you license a game (e.g. getting a licence to a TV show doesn’t necessarily mean access to the characters played by actors) and that you shouldn’t be afraid to create a game that really suits the brand/IP you’re working with. Teemu also likes to throw out show spoilers mid talk, so watch out when he’s nattering at conferences Walking Dead fans.

Lastly, Jeffrey Haas, who is the international man of mystery at Draft Kings, spoke about its plans to become the leading Daily Fantasy Sports provider. Aside from the fact that the acronym for the sector, DFS, is shared with a particularly annoying British furniture company, it is legitimately interesting to see how they’ve taken one financially lucrative fantasy model that worked with baseball and have adapted it to work for American Football, Basketball, Football and even Golf successfully. Nicely done.

Arbitrary conclusion

And that’s it from today. I’ll be back to summarise what happens on Day Two of Casual Connect tomorrow, including picking out my highlights from the Indie Prize for reasons of fun, tomorrow.

Ciao for now!

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