Casual Connect 2012: Visions of the future from PopCap

One of the company’s executives spoke about the future of the gaming industry, meta-games, and why iOS is still better than Facebook.

One of the last speeches of the first day of Casual Connect 2012, currently taking place in Seattle, was a report by Giordano Contestabile, Bejeweled’s general manager at PopCap, who began with a rather loud statement that “the biggest changes that have happened to Bejeweled in the 12 years of the title’s history have occurred in recent years“.

According to him, more than 1 billion people spend time playing games these days, and about half of them play Bejeweled or its clones. It is clear that these figures, thanks to the rapid growth of the mobile industry as a whole, will actively grow. So Constable believes that mobile games in the future will be able to increase the gaming audience by several billion, because “a smartphone is not only the number one gaming device in the whole world, but also the only gaming device for very, very many.” 

However, his vision of the future of the industry does not differ much from the generally accepted one: “the future belongs to freemium-monetization, constantly online devices and social integration, which allows you to connect not only with friends, but, most importantly in the mobile segment, with those people you don’t know.” 

Asynchronous gameplay will continue to be popular, while publishers will try to integrate various social services into their products, which will become increasingly difficult over time. As a result, the experience of playing a particular game will strongly depend on the device (and it will be reduced not to the difference in control, but to the gameplay). This may lead to the emergence of meta-games in which the game environment of shooter players will directly depend on the decisions of strategy players, and the availability of additional ammunition depends on the number of points scored by players in the local Match3. 

But Constable shared not only his opinion about what awaits us in a few years (although, in fact, all this is already reality), but also complained that only 20% of iOS players in Bejeweled Blitz play through Facebook. Anyway, the average revenue from a player on the iOS platform is 229% more than with Facebook.

Curiously, Constable called push notifications the most important marketing tool on mobile platforms.

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