With a record setting 26,000 in attendance, GDC (Game Developers Conference) brought together an audience of indie game developers, gaming, entertainment and advertising companies plus fans waiting to hear news of the latest game releases and hardware announcements. While San Francisco is a short flight down from Seattle, I met with developers from far flung countries such as Australia, Germany, Norway and Poland. Mobile gaming has posted incredible growth and drove Gaming M&A to hit a record $33bn according to Corum's Research in 2014. The challenge many indies and larger studios face is a way to break into the Top 10 that has been so heavily dominated by King and SuperCell in the West. To get to the top, creativity and new game play need to be at the core of developing a new game, as we saw with Crossy Road. This is a welcomed breath of fresh air after the prior period of the "me-toos" riding on the coattails of Candy Crush and Flappy Bird among others.
The developers I spoke with spent significant time at the sessions, listening to the transparent feedback the speakers were sharing from their experiences. This is really why the gaming industry is so unique, with all of the change of new launches and serious user growth, developers are able to get together and share meaningful yet candid advice.