We have arrived in the Land of Always Winter. A foul blizzard blows in from the north. After ten minutes of walking through the cold this morning, I realize that wearing Converses without socks was a bad idea and I am forced to buy Bruins socks from a local tourist stall. I don’t even know what sport the Bruins play.
The line is peculiarly long this year. By the time we make it inside, my toes have gone numb. Miraculously, our groups show up to the lobby almost simultaneously. Together we number 10. This is the calm before the storm, the one time this weekend we will actually be together in the same area before we fracture into groups.
Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t take long for us to split up. A quick detour to the restroom and they are gone without a trace by the time I get back. I immediately use the time to hop over to the Indie showcase.
At the indie mini booth I bump into Kyle Seeley, the designer of Emily is Away. I compliment his game and tell him I’m looking forward to the sequel. Also, I take a selfie with him.
The highlight of my day comes from the developers of BCE, a pre-historic fighter game. Unable to land a booth on the show floor, they built an arcade cabinet costume and walked around with their game on the floor itself. I picked up a controller with a fellow con-goer and fought the developers (we won). Talk about a guerilla marketing campaign. Color me impressed.
After meeting up with Matt and Cathy on the con floor, we tour the indie section and board games. Along the way we find Caroline, Jack, and Frank at Revenant Games showing off Where Shadows Slumber. Congrats again on making it to PAX East guys.
Some games we investigate while on the con floor:
- Bulb Boy: A macabre point-and-click adventure where everything is shaped like a bulb.
- Cat’s Manor: You’re a cat. You solve puzzles.
- Xenno the Rogue: A basic 2D platformer with throwing axes.
- The Shrouded Isle: A human sacrifice management sim. It’s so bizarre, we loved it.
- BlockPocalypse: Build a tower blocks to escape rising lava. This was pretty cool because was four player co-op.
- Ten Minutes to Kill: A logical deduction board game where you must hunt down three targets on the board while trying to avoid detection from other players.
- Gruff: Cathy and Mate bought this (board game) but we didn’t play it yet.
- Pit People: We somehow managed to sneak into a free spot at the Behemoth booth. Stamper’s voice is hilarious.
The floor closes at 5pm. I bump into Andrew in the hall. He recommends Fantasy Strike, which I will try to hit tomorrow. Matt, Cathy, and I head to the video game data panel at 5:30. Some interesting tidbits:
- Female gamers account for roughly 55% of mobile gamers. It’s a little more skewed at 36% for PC. Nevertheless, a third is still an impressive number of female hardcore gamers.
- Last year there were 7,000 digital game releases, almost all of them for Steam.
- Lower barriers to entry for digital publishers means more cross-platform releases (which jumped significantly in 2016)
- Men overwhelmingly tend to be heavier payers for mobile games (more impulsive I suppose?)
- There are billion dollar premium (paid) and free-to-play PC/console games and billion dollar mobile games. But so far, no bestseller premium mobile games gave come out.
- The top 2% of console games generate about 30% of console revenue.
- Clash of Clans is basically dominating mobile gaming revenue.
And that’s it for Friday. Matt, Cathy, and I are heading to dinner with Alexis Holmdal (at the Squealing Pig in Jamaica Plains). The snow hasn’t stopped for hours. Tomorrow will be brutal.