20 Feb 2012

Round Up - 13th February - Data Driven Mobile Apps

Many thanks once again to MoMoLo volunteer Valentina Ciolino @MissFog for her write up of last Monday's event. Thanks also to @GemmaPhelan for her video (below) and to @Thayer (for all her help and the photo below).

Check out the additional posts by Simon Judge and Adam Cohen-Rose.

We're extremely grateful to Kasabi http://www.kasabi.com for sponsoring this event!

I confess I did not know what to expect to hear from the panel last Monday, since the topic of the event was a little confusing to me: what’s the story with “data-driven mobile apps”? Well, I can say I learnt something.

#momolo data driven apps panel chilling before the gig by Thayer18, on Flickr
On the stage, to share their knowledge with me and the rest of the audience, we had (L to R in the above Photo): Matt Biddulph as panel moderator, Ian Holt, to bring the data provider point of view, Hanna Donovan,  Legh Dodds from Kasabi and Jeni Tennison, as unofficial voice of the government.

Here some of the interesting issues that they discussed.

A definition of “Data-Driven App”

Every panelist had his/her own definition for a data-driven app, which is funny you think about it, but makes sense as well. Hanna was the more excited about these kind of apps as “they give keys to the universe”, making things easy and helping to sort the confusion of having no information about a topic, or too much information. Sounds too much like the definition of just a good interface? Yes, said Leigh, and since every application makes use of data in one way or another, he noted, the archetypical data-driven app “must provide an insight on data”, that is helping the users to understand more about the data themselves. Matt also pointed out that “proper” data-driven apps get better the more data they receive. Especially for user-generated data, they can drive the addition of new features.

The problem of “API-vomit”

The interesting term was coined by Hanna and immediately adopted by both the panel and the audience. What is it about? Well, developers producing data-driven apps tend to put a huge amount of data on their applications, without first thinking of use-cases and thus making the interface confusing and difficult to understand. An app where data isn’t presented in a consumable way suffers from the “API – vomit” problem. The panel agreed that developers need to work with UI and UX designers, and sometimes with marketing people too, to figure out what’s the right approach to filter the information. Companies who provide APIs to developers could help them by giving feedback and working together to identify the use cases.

API as censorship tool?

Sometimes the data providers themselves try to define the use cases and, to make their API easier to use – and to help developers - restrict their data to those cases. A wise voice from the audience pointed out that the governments especially shouldn’t have to assume what data re-use is needed, to avoid the risk of their API becoming a tool for censorship. The API-vomit must remain a developer/designers problem, and there should be a trend to open as much data as possible.

Data gathering via mobile apps, what level of communication with users?

Developers of data-driven apps often ask their users to agree to share some useful information (from the location to the address book, from the Facebook status to their mobile pictures gallery). Users are warned about the request on a “cold and scary” installation interface and sometimes abort the download in fear of scam and privacy violations. The panel found that devs don’t have ways to explain directly to the users the reasons for requiring access to data, how they will use them and when. The actual rate of this mistrust feeling is still to be measured, but good practice for operators would be to provide space (few lines? links?) in the download screens for developers to explain why they require access and what they will do with the information.

Open data and common licenses

So, assuming that you get your data from your users, crowd sourcing a lot of information, you will probably mix them with data from the public sources available: governments and public entities, private companies, etc. Some content is open, such as the NHS dictionary of medicine and devices, or most timetables for travel services, but sometimes data are under license, creating a bit of a problem for developers that have to use the most restrictive license to the whole data. Leigh noted that the creative common license is not legally recognized in most countries yet, same for open data commons, and the attribution stacking problem is not easily to solve. A good point is that for public data, Jeni noticed, is that you can track their origin and provide it through API too, meaning that if something goes wrong, you can check where and when it went wrong.

Finally ...

... an interesting thought for developer of every kind of apps : when you start a project, don’t forget to ask yourself what’s the best problem that you can have; imagine the best scenario for your product and try to anticipate problems and evolutions, it will be an useful exercise.

The example we learnt from the world of data-driven apps is the following: Last.fm, starting as small tool to share music tastes, was all about indie music and a selection of good content for “music-nerds”. After joining the Xbox platform it went big and then bigger and became a window for the most popular of pop music, leaving the niche audience of its beginning a little disappointed. Too bad (?).

Thanks Valentina - and to close, that video from Gemma:

16 Feb 2012

Demo Night Returns! 2nd April - Call for presenters/demos

Mobile Monday London in partnership with ICT KTN (http://ictktn.org.uk) is pleased to announce the triumphant return of Demo Night! It will be on 2nd April.

We are looking for the best and brightest examples of of mobile concepts, products and services to present to an even-bigger-than-usual audience. 

You don't have to have a live product, you don't have to be a start-up and you don't have to be based in London to apply!

There are no prizes but previous entrants have subsequently gone on to do great things ... win fabulous prizes and more ... at last April's Demo Night, for example, we featured:
  • Stuart with Mindings which went on to be a winner at the  Cambridge Wireless Discovering Start-Ups 2011 competition, and is now about to launch,
  • Terence with QRPedia, has been chosen as one of the four most innovative mobile companies in the UK of 2011 in the SmartUK Awards to compete in the finals at MWC Barcelona, 
  • Richard with Parcel Genie which won 2nd Prize at the Vodafone Clicks 2011 Finals,  
  • Swiftkey has been nominated for a GSMA Global Mobile Award in the “Most Innovative Mobile App”  category also at this year’s Mobile World Congress. 
... not that we are claiming credit for their work, of course - and nor can we guarantee every entrant fame and instant riches, sadly.

Each demo will be 3 minutes long, followed by 2 minutes of questions from the room. We are ruthless about the timings. 

Please express your interest in presenting/demoing by filling in this form: http://j.mp/momolo-demo-night-2012-04-02. Entry will remain open until March 23rd. 

As usual attendance at the Mobile Monday London demo night is free - to attend demo night (but not to apply to present or demo) register on EventBrite

As usual this event will take place at the CBI Conference Centre at Centre Point, the very tall building immediately above Tottenham Court Road tube station, on the Central and Northern Lines. Please use the entrance at street level under the bridge formed by the building itself.

6 Feb 2012

Event Round Up - 28th Jan, Mobile Games - Part 2

In the second part of the round-up from our event of 28th Jan on Mobile Games, Steve Devo, @sdevo, offers his view of the proceedings.

Steve's been attending Mobile Monday London events since the beginning (November 2005), so we were particularly touched by him tweeting:

Valuable insights from the  panel last night, good to hear what does not work as well as what does. this is momolo at its best.

What follows are Steve's views, put more expansively than 140 characters allowed.

Once again, many thanks to our event partners, ICTKTN.

There is a thriving and vibrant mobile gaming industry in the UK,  and it is starting to have effects beyond gaming with the so called "gamification" and "socialisation" (you are allowed to smile or groan at this point) of applications starting to become more mainstream.  So let's take a look at the gaming market and some of the more prevalent aspects.

I have written this after attending a Mobile Monday London conference this week and combining that with my own experiences of talking with the mobile community here in the UK.

There are three parts: commercial, technical and buzzword (the third is,  you guessed it,  about those two concoctions mentioned above.)

Commercial Aspects

Freemium model has taken hold and is now the main driver of revenue.

Freemium is where a game or app is provided free to try,  and if you like it you pay (in app charging) to have access to the rest of the game,  or to buy upgrades in the game such as better weapons, extra levels, better cars etc.

It should be noted that when freemium is added after a game has been built it nearly always leads to a poor user experience,  therefore "in app upgrading" must be built into the design.

Lots of games cross sell/advertise the publisher's other games,  and analytics is starting to be used to maximise these opportunities.  We are starting to see that games will send back usage and activity data to the server to drive this analysis, indeed this is critical to success.

Traditional app developers should consider a more explicit freemium model in their big tools, the ability to buy access to advanced functions as and when I as a user need them would make the management of license fees far more acceptable, especially in the mid market.  This also support the gamification of apps - more of which below.

Discoverability is a big issue,  because there are 380k and 500k apps in the android and apple app stores,  and they are averaging 100 new games per day.  You can pay to be in the Apple preferred top 25 lists or selected lists - however this is very expensive and if the game is not a natural hit it will die quickly. Obviously cost of getting those people back is much higher again, so make sure game is ready before you attempt this type of marketing.

Conversely it is wise to get the game out early and see what the user reaction and usage patterns are.  This is aided with freemium as you can add new sections and better replacements later (if the app is able to load modules) or use the upgrade functions of the platforms to send new better versions to the users.

Yoshi Monsters spent 10 of their £11M funding getting the game of the ground,  that's not good enough and way beyond the budgets of most game publishers so the Games industry investors are now looking to see that a publisher has not just build and creative skills,  but also analytical marketing skills.

Acquisition of these analysis skills is a problem for a lot of these smaller companies, but it is one of the ways that some small publishers are rising above the crowd and solving the discoverability problem. 

A further use of the analytics is to alter the game design as well as the price of the premium parts,  thus parts of the game move in and out of the premium sections, and the costs change in response to usage, including the equivalent of abandoned carts within the game.  Clever stuff,  you might say this is taking scrum/agile methods into the post launch period,  and that is what is so smart. You could say this is games companies version of "live life in beta".

The inability to get your game noticed without being clever and/or having some decent wads of cash meant that out of the 248 mobile game startups in England last year (most in London) 135 died within the year.  This is about double* the usual attrition rate. (* having trouble confirming this statement though, so grab some salt)

Copycat games are a problem because a successful game will get copied ad infinitum.

There is still money to be made from Java games,  but this is only in the growth markets rather than the Western markets where smartphones are dominating.


But what is the income split for a game? Well typically  it looks like this:

  • 20% advertising- other people advertising within your game/site
  • 20% is from the game - purchase of the game, remember you give a lot of this revenue away to the store owner, hence this may be lower than you think.
  • 60% is digital goods - upgrades and additions -  e.g. in a zoo game you might buy extra ground, a cafe, more exotic animals etc.

You'll notice there is no product placement revenue in that list,  this has not worked on the console gaming world because the amount of effort required to manage the relationships / partnerships is too great for the small amount of income it generates.  Also gamers are quite a harsh audience and decry any placement that are too obvious or get in the way. It is expected that these issues will not change with a switch to a mobile platform.

Formats, technology and the like

Smartphones are mostly for casual games,  that is games that are just for fun,  there are very few successful mainstream games on these devices.

The tablets however are for more "serious" or hardcore games and the new ranges of tablets have the processing power (processor and graphics engines) to properly take on hardcore games. BUT there is a real challenge in moving a game from a console/PC to a touchscreen and that's because of the controls.  

There is a triangle of controllers: buttons/joystick for consoles/PC, movement for consoles (Wii, etc) and touch.

Moving a game between these controller types without this change being built in from the start has not been successful yet.  Also games scaled up from a phone to a tablet tend to have the controls in the wrong place and too far apart,  needs to be thought through.

TV's & Multi-device: As yet the game companies do not see a great deal of use for a game that spans several devices _and_ a TV.  I think this is missing a trick, playing a board game like monopoly, scrabble, etc,  or other turn based games could benefit from a large shared screen,  and then local hand held screens.  On the negative side a lot of casual gaming is played at the same time as watching TV.
For software vendors it would be good if these guys could consider dual screen/device working for some tools.  e.g. being able to use a subset of RSA or Doors etc on a tablet when working away from the desk, or even in presentations, meeting  makes a lot of sense to me.  Multi-person edit sessions that go beyond screen sharing makes sense too,  life is more about collaboration these days,  yet we are more likely to be in physically separate spaces.

HTML5 is not ready for gaming (yet).  Games need fast reactions to complex series of inputs. HTML5 does not cut the mustard.  And then there is the old saw of fragmentation.  HTML5 supposedly will fix this by having the browser act as middleware between the HTML5 and the device.  However this is dependent on the browsers acting consistently and they never do.

For an iOS game you're likely to produce 4 different versions, and for an Android about 6 perhaps as many as 10 in some markets.  Compared to the bad old days of Java when 800 to 2000 versions (skus) was not uncommon - this is vastly improved.

Tools: So how does one build apps for multiple platforms, remembering that Android is Java and iOS is objective C?

Well the answer is either two build efforts or the use of some clever strategy.  Some folks simply use C++ for the core elements of the game (physics engine etc) and then can port this to the devices quite easily.  The libraries that deal with device specific elements (camera, input, accelerometer and other gadgets) are written per platform.

There are some tools for writing once and building to multiple targets such as unity and marmalade and IBM's newly bought Worklight.

It seems that opinion is split on these tools.  Generally if you are stressing the device with a lot of work then you need to hone the code by hand,  if you're more  a turns-based casual game (eg Sudoku) then these tools are ok. But be careful. Here be demons.

Artificial Intelligence: A lot of platform games compete with the quality of the AI that controls the game.  This is becoming true with mobile games,  and the AIs are starting to fit into the constraints of the mobile.

Siri has sparked a lot of interest because it is not just a voice recognition AI,  it has a personality all of its own and that is what intrigues gamers.  Expect to see this kind of system in use in games quite soon.  
I suspect that we will start to see eye tracking soon,  then you can sneak things onto the screen whilst the user's gaze is elsewhere,  that kind of input into the AI will make a big difference.

Sadly you'll have not noticed the BlackBerry or Nokia/Windows phones in anything above.  these are just not working for games.  Yes a _lot_ of kiddies have BlackBerrys leading to these devices being the biggest seller last year,  however they are not set-up for gaming,  and a lot of the devices go to corps where games would be frowned upon or banned.

Nokia/Windows are just not a big enough market to justify the costs of entry, and the way things are going this is likely to remain the case for some time to come.

Some horrible buzz words that are emerging.

Gamification: (I did warn you) this is the use of game type techniques in apps to gain traction and maintain interest.  A Lot of apps,  and by that I mean the vast majority of apps have a short usage life on a device.  People download,  have a short flirtation with the app, and then it just kinda lurks on your screen unloved and unused.  there are figures for this and they are scary.

According to a Harris online survey on behalf of mobile ad provider Pontiflex, only 3 percent of apps downloaded through incentivised install campaigns are used frequently, and only 62% of downloaders use an app more than once.  Given this challenge and the popularity of games what can a game teach us to make an app more likely to be used.

Well initially people used "badges and leader boards" like Foursquare did,  and this can help but is a little cheesy to say the least.

What games do to increase usage is, I think, the following: -

  • They take you through a period of learning,  where you are introduced to more and more parts of the interface and the application.  This prevents the user being overwhelmed. 
  • Then they discover what you want to do,  and adjust accordingly,  and with the freemium model this means targeting the best upgrades / extensions at you.  
  • Then they let you explore and move around the game as you like.
Seems to me that this is the way to go with other types of apps,  understand the user's journey from wide eyed innocent through knowledgeable user to comfortable expert.  Forget the cheese.

Next up games use incentives that appeal to the user at a quite simple level,  often involving completing something and feeling good about it.  We can see that web sites are using short, chunked up, incentives to get folks to fill in their profile data,  for example Linked-in and Yahoo! properties do this, encouraging you to get 100% on your profile,  but not all at once,  they will ask you for more as you progress through your journey with them,  and will reward you with encouragement and kind words,  and, yes, sometimes a little competition, especially for men.

Socialification (it's worse then gamification,  and that's saying something) simply put, this is the use of social networks and interactions into an app.  

Games are starting to use presence in an asynchronous way,  that is knowing about other players without necessarily playing against them.  This provides a sense of belonging and with care can become an incentive to return to the game.

Multiplayer is not social networking,  get over it.  OK?  

Thanks again, Steve, for this really interesting piece!

Event Round Up - 28th Jan, Mobile Games - Part 1

Not just one round-up but two this time! We're very fortunate to have two complementary views of last Monday's event.

The first is from volunteer Valentina Ciolino that's @MissFog. Thanks for this most comprehensive-write up, Valentina - what's the story with the hats? Indeed!

With many thanks, once again, to our event partners, ICTKTN.

Oscar Clark
Having worked in video games and mobile, I could not miss the first London Mobile Monday of 2012. “Mobile Games” was the hot topic of the night, discussed by a great panel of professionals and chaired by Oscar Clark of Papaya Mobile. Not that one would want to miss any of these industry gatherings, but, for me, it was also the first time on the volunteer side. In fact, they even gave me the chance to blog about the event, so here I am.

While on the tube to go to the event, I was thinking about the topic. I personally feel that video games and mobile industry are converging towards something different, and mobile games development is driving the innovation. The new mobile and tablet platform allowed games to change, thanks mainly to three new features: touch screens, connectivity and portability. All the portable game consoles we used before the rise of the app stores lacked at least one of the three, not to speak about the powerful graphic of the new mobile screens. We now have tap/swipe/multitouch games, games paid by ads, a new type of social games, 5 minutes games (to repeat every hour). Before the event started, I wondered what other changes the panelists would forecast for 2012. The answer at the end of this post!

But back to the evening: Oscar, who was one of the two people in the room wearing a hat (pictured), made a good job moderating the debate and bringing on the table some alternative points of view of his own.

Credit is due to Oscar and to Mobile Monday London for bringing four panelists with different background and experience, always a good way to guarantee a nice and lively discussion.

Here their names and titles: Ian Baverstock (Tenshi Ventures), Struan Robertson (Product Director, NaturalMotion Games), Gareth Edmonson (CEO, Thumbstar Games), Georgina Mackenzie (CEO at Toytek). They are famous enough for me not to speak about them, but you can always click on the links to know more.

The icebreaker question regarded the current situation of the mobile games industry and its latest evolutions. Some 2011 changes in the market were felt as very important: first of all the rise of the Android platform and market, which grew and gained strength in terms of monetization. Android can be seen as a difficult market as it’s full of freemium products and shows high piracy and discoverability problems, but it offers many opportunities in terms of potential innovation. The hardware presents high fragmentation but the majority of the Android devices are powerful enough – in memory & chips - to allow for creativity. And the fragmentation can be addressed; in fact, Gareth mentioned that there are 6 versions of Android OS but 4 of Apple iOS. On the bad side, the gap it’s probably widening as Struan noted, and this could higher the entry barrier for developers. Moreover, even if sales on Android are big, the Apple App store is more predictable, continued Struan, and many developers spend much money on it.

Another 2011 hit was the tablet market, with the iPad leading the way. It is a “spectacular platform” as Ian said and features a type of games different from mobile, 3D games with great graphic and new additions to the user interface. It is also easier, Ian noticed, to get visibility on a smaller market such as the iPad App Store than on the larger ones, which is definitely an important advantage for games developers.

The Copy Cats
The third, less positive trend of 2011 was the increase of the number of “copycat” games on the market. Apparently, some big and medium companies (in order to avoid the risks of innovation, and the costs of experimenting with new channels, noted Georgina), prefer to reproduce famous existing games, replicating the gameplay. One of the possible solutions to this problem is to use the cloud to make social-mobile games for a large market, which is something that big publishers are already betting on. “Social mobile is going to explode”, said Gareth, “thanks to the cloud”.

Socification of games was the topic of one of the question from the public (by @torgo) which started a nice debate on if social games today are “really social” or not. People playing asynchronously on the same server brings a lot of revenues, said Oscar, and developers spend a lot of time to get people to complete quests, but it can’t be compared with the experience of multiplayer games. On a slightly different note, Ian noted that only few games, and mainly on consoles, are well-tailored for the multiplayer mode. The verdict on socificiation was, in the end, that it’s not bad as long as it adds to the game experience and don’t steal the fun out of the gameplay to increase sales or get new users.

The main discussions revolved around few topics: business models (freemium vs premium, ads), platforms and markets (emerging markets, operators, Windows Phone) and, of course, customers. I am really happy to report on this last theme because I think the panelists just put in words my thought: there are many kinds of gamers, gamers change all the time. As Georgina mentioned, the advergaming players, for example, “don’t consider themselves gamers at all”, but enjoy the experience anyway. Similarly, the console gamers may not be scared to move to TV games as long as the controllers stay the same, since, as Ian stated “console games are basically TV games”. When touchscreen emerged, the lack of buttons was seen as a problem for gameplay, but now there’s a large audience who won’t play with controller as they are too different and require a different approach. There are some psychological differences too, added Oscar, and different inputs works better for different games – and gamers.

Same story for business models: free games with ads appeal to some gamers, free games with in-app purchases appeal to others. The freemium model has been affected by a bad reputation as the UK industry is still not fully convinced it works, but maybe the developers just have to start adjusting the learning curve for their games to make them sell more. The “user training” tricks proved to be very effective for all the applications that use game mechanisms to engage consumers (the so-called gamification of apps). Struan made the example of LinkedIn apps where daily simple notifications ask you to recommend your colleagues, add a picture or complete your profile, thus explaining how to use the app itself. Other tricks used on gamified apps are the public leader boards and the awarding of badges. Oscar quoted a very effective explanation for gamification, which is how you get people to go back to the app, versus game design, which is the way you create fun. Not necessarily marketing people can make good design or even level design, and not all mobile developers know how to learn from games.

One of my favourite questions of the night was the following one: Is this a good moment to be a game development company? There are many opportunities, especially on mobile and tablets, but also a lot of competition. The barrier to enter the market is low, but the effort requested to make good games has increased. There are new ways to work across formats (web, mobile, consoles, etc), and this is driving a change in content and gameplay, but also new ways to market products, which is an opportunity that requires new people with marketing knowledge. It would have been good to ask to some of the experts at TIGA, who were between the audience, what’s their take on it, if it’s true, as Georgina reported, that of 147 development companies set in UK between 2008 and 2010, 131 shut down before the end of that period. How many of them were mobile developers, I wonder? And what’s the number of start-ups which develop games but have other digital products too (apps, or websites, or design, for example)?

The panel discussed a lot of other topics, and answered some 999 questions from the passionate audience, but I thought I’d better condense their words into a list of 8 kick-ass suggestions for UK mobile game developers:
  1. Research about your target market and decide the business model before stating to design your game: if you go web, you can have a “try before you buy” approach and make the first level teasing like a movie trailer or, if you are opting for the freemium approach, the gameplay must be compelling enough to make your audience play often and pay for in-app. That’s what Natural Motion did before releasing “My Horse”, and that’s a point on which all the panelists agree, the marketing must be integrated with the game design.

  2. Choose your coding language and engines with care: Objective C can limit your chance to port the game to other platforms in the future, warned Georgina, who suggested C++ for the core features of any game so they can be transferred, but only if you’re using the same core mechanics. The rest of the code could then be more quickly ported from one program to others. When someone from the audience asked if the panel would suggest developing games separately for each platform, the answer was unanimous: you can develop you own engines, but don’t underestimate the value of cross-platform engines such as Unity, Marmalade and so on.

  3. Don’t limit your business to only one market; try to plan your production so to include porting the game to other platforms and stores. Having one product on one app store is not going to be enough for funders to notice you, as Ian hinted, and, as in Struan’s experience, being an established developer on one app store also helps to get more users thanks to “internal” cross-promotion. As Gareth said “there’s an opportunity in throwing at different channels out of the app stores” such as operator’s markets, if you have good content, or, better, a network of content. But there’s a catch: be specific about the channel you address: don’t go for the common lower denominator, try to exploit all the hardware features.

  4. Make a clever use of analytics: pass the knowledge from the commercial to the production team and back, change your product price and game design according to the feedback from your customers. Never before the game industry has had such an amount of data, comments and feedback from the users, let all the people in your company understand the information you get.

  5. Have a roadmap for main changes, but be able to respond to the market. In the console world sales data were locked due to licensing and access issues, and both prices, design and were basically fixed. Now, instead, you can change your game’s design depending on the rise or fall in sales, so have an expert to look at your data and let your product evolve with them.

  6. Beware! When porting your product to the iPad, remember that it is used in a much different way and for longer game sessions compared with mobiles. Ian was the first to point that out: people use their mobiles to play on the go, shorter and simpler games, but if they can choose, they opt for the iPad as console and buy optimised games. Porting from iPhone to the iOS tablet is one of the simplest ways to differentiate, he said, and Georgina added that her company produces games with high quality graphic exactly for that reason. That applies to all the platforms.

  7. Don’t save on Q&A, or better, set a budget for proper testing. Ian pointed clearly out that many mobile developers unfortunately have no idea how much important that is for every release. I would add: test features that will make your product stand out from the crowd - original soundtrack, great graphic, vibration effects, multiplayer etc. Don’t be scared to be original and innovative, as long as your products are technically impeccable and fun.

  8. Apply for grants and funding. Abertay University, TIGA and ICT KTN periodically offer the chance to get some money for your ideas and support the applicants during the process with mentoring sessions. Someone from the audience even said he had won one of the challenges and got a fair amount for a mobile game! You’ve just missed the deadline for the contest to produce a game integrated with the SDK and marketed through the networks of Antix Labs and Turbulenz, so try not to miss the next one.
And here we are with the panel’s trends for the future of mobile games. First of all: social-mobile is going to explode, according to Gareth, thanks to the cloud, and big publisher are going to put big money on innovation and game content for the genre. But there are some cool features that can drive innovations, such as voice controls, added Struan, or Augmented Reality, said Georgina. Oscar bets on location games, if they move their focus from tech to the experience. What did Ian forecast for 2012? The boom of more expensive and higher quality mobile games. It’s time, I say.

Finally, I’d like to go back to the initial note about the chairman who was wearing a hat and add that the other person wearing one at the event was the host himself, Jo Rabin. May I assume there’s a fashion trend? Your opinion on this important theme will be very welcome.

That is probably the first time I have been accused of being at the forefront of a fashion trend :-) - Jo