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PG is 10: Alumni Revisited – Peter Willington

As part of our 10th anniversary celebration we’ve asked ten former key members of the PG team to share their memories and thoughts (as well as their all-time top 10 games). Let’s dive in…

Who are you?
My name’s Peter Willington. You can find me on twitter.com/xeroxeroxero

When did you work in the Pocket Gamer empire, and what did you do?

I started off as Handheld Editor for Pocket Gamer and Community Manager for Steel Media in December 2011, and by the time I left in October 2015 I was Deputy Editor of Pocket Gamer and the Editor of AppSpy.

What are you up to nowadays?

I’m the Producer at Auroch Digital. We’re the leading independent developer of digital board and card games, and work with top-tier IPs and IP holders.

Currently we’re working on Last Days of Old Earth with Slitherine, Dark Future: Blood Red States with Games Workshop, a physical card game called Elections of US America Election with Wonkette, and a number of other unannounced titles.

Do you have any fond/happy/mad/secret memories of your time on PG you’d like to share?
One of my most surprising moments was heading to Bangalore for Pocket Gamer Connects and getting to meet so many incredibly talented developers that I’d otherwise never have had the opportunity to meet. Seeing what they were working on, and realising that the entire scene is hot on the heels of Western game development, really came as a (thoroughly pleasant) shock.

And while I could also mention getting to interview Peter Vesterbacka, or the one-day round trip to Amsterdam, or covering the launch of PlayStation Vita, creating the world’s most popular mobile games stream, or a bevy of other things, my absolute favourite memories are getting to work with (and learn from) a world class editorial team. Rob Hearn, James Gilmour, Harry Slater, Mark Brown, Alysia Judge, Jon Jordan, Jennifer Allen, Mike Rose, George Osborn, Will Wilson… the list is too long to mention everyone, but each played their part in making my time at Steel so memorable.

What key moments or developments stick out for you from the last 10 years of the mobile games industry?
The rise of F2P with casual games was certainly important, but it’s the acceptance of it as an acceptable model by hardcore players a few years back – with games like Hearthstone, World of Tanks Blitz, Vainglory, and so on – that has truly revolutionised the space.

We now have games with extremely large budgets, high quality assets, and excellent community interaction that are no longer working on Skinner Box tricks to keep people playing, but instead feature rock solid gameplay that rivals that of paid alternatives.

And of course paid games taking more creative risks in recent years has been just as fascinating. Prune, Progress to 100, Device 6… these are all games that just wouldn’t work as well on other platforms, and offer whole and contained experiences that absolutely justify their moderate entrance fee.

Which was your favourite mobile gaming platform(s) or hardware?
The first Nintendo DS. It brought in a whole new type of player with its stylus interface, and made gaming for everyone again.

Do you still play mobile games? What are you playing now and on what device?

Of course! If you’re working in the games industry and you’re NOT playing mobile games then you’re ignoring so much of the future of the industry.

The Journey Down: Chapter Two, Stride & Prejudice, Civil War: 1863, and Battle Golf are all clambering for my attention at the moment, The Room Three is waiting in the wings for a rainy day, and I’m counting the days until Bertram Fiddle Episode 2 – A Bleaker Predicklement.

Where do you see mobile games and the industry going in the next 10 years?
I think we’re going to start to see multi-purpose touchscreen devices a lot more in the near future (see Surface Book and rumours about the Nintendo NX), and that’s going to merge a lot of markets together.

And as F2P continues to evolve, and paid brings in more monetisation options, players will quite rightly demand better gameplay experiences in exchange for their time.

So the lines between hardcore and casual, F2P and paid are going to continue blending, and making sense of that will be crucial to developers.

Anything you’d like to add?
Congratulations on reaching your 10th Anniversary Pocket Gamer, here’s to another 10 years!


What’s all this, then?

The Pocket Gamer 10th anniversary is a month-long celebration of the last decade of mobile games running March 10th – April 10th and featuring a stream of retrospective articles and fun stuff, supported by our friends at Gram Games, Gamevil, JoyCity, Rovio, Nordeus, and Ninja Kiwi. Head over to the PG 10th anniversary homepage for more information.