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Casual Connect USA 2015 Preview

With Casual Connect USA 2015 this week, it’s time to take a look through some of the sessions, event features and topical focuses that might make the highlight reel after the show in San Francisco is a wrap:

Virtual reality

Thanks to TIME Magazine’s recent dubious issue cover of a man spaced out in virtual reality, VR is getting more awareness than ever. Expect to see the topic (and the arguably even bigger market opportunity in augmented reality) covered fully at Casual Connect, notably on Wednesday, August 12, 2015, and Thursday, August 13, 2015. All things VR, from casual games and VR to funding to mobile VR and more will be covered across this spectrum. Noteworthy VR speakers, such as Nicole Lazzaro and Guy Bendov and numerous others, will address this topic.

Roundtables

This isn’t so much a topic as a conference feature. Not very many conferences bring roundtables into play, but as a rule of thumb, a moderator (and often, panelists) manages the topics and flows of conversation. What distinguishes this style of session from the other types is that the audience usually has ample opportunity to engage in the topic with the folks in the drivers seat through the talk, rather than just at the end with whatever spare minutes remain.

Among the panoply of the roundtables are “Growing a Studio: The Hard “How To” List. The Hard Things No One Wants to Talk About“, with a spectrum of indie developer panelists, talking the talk about walking the harder, uphill walk of building and growing a studio. Also, “Casual Game Design Roundtable: Social Casino” addresses the still-growing, and often legally complicated, world of social casino-style gaming. Co-speakers Juan Gril, studio manager with Joju Games; Dave Rohrl, founder of CasualPro Consulting; and Steve Meretzky, vice president of creative with GSN, are featured in four casual game design roundtables.

All in all, there should be plenty of opportunities to bring your best insights to roundtables in indie game development and casual game design, as well as others.

Indie Prize portmortems

Few kinds of talks will lend granular insight into what worked — or what did not — when developing a game than a postmortem. Going further, an indie developer will have a unique perspective, often having had to wear many hats, versus the more singular roles played by folks at a larger studio. Casual Connect USA is packed with talks like these, with 18 talks by my count in that category.

Security

Security remains a thorny issue for all platforms, and emerging into a steady source of distressing news about leaks, breaches, patches on mobile, on almost a daily basis. One panel at Casual Connect, led by SEWORKS’ Mary Min, directly takes on the complex but important topic as it relates to game developers, their creations and their audience: “Keeping Our Games Safe from Hackers, Copycats and Other Scammers“.

Events

We indexed many of the satellite events in orbit around the brightly shining Casual Connect star. These events, and the companies who host them, are as relevant as the attendees’ respective interests in the game development space may be. However, you can never go wrong with the official list as a starting point. These are likely to be the center of gravity for most Casual Connect USA 2015 attendees. All you need is your official conference badge for these events and no other pre-qualifier, but a few extra business cards and a smile can never hurt either!

Keep an eye out for more coverage of Casual Connect USA 2015 on our site, Facebook and Twitter!

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