Massive, a Ubisoft Studio’s João Eiras Antunes on why you need to stay ahead of | Pocket

Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki is gearing up to be our biggest event in the city yet, and we couldn’t be more excited to share with you all that we have in store! It’s going to be a magnificent two day event packed with endless opportunities to learn, scale and most importantly, connect. Today, we’re continuing our series spotlighting just some of the amazing speakers that will be gracing the stage at our Helsinki show this September. They have been generous enough to share a few of their insights and expertise with us ahead of time, and you won’t want to miss them!

If you haven’t heard, we’re bringing back Europe’s favourite games industry conference to the spiritual home of mobile gaming for the first time in two years. On September 27 to 28, over 1,200 games industry professionals from around the globe will descend upon Helsinki for two days full of networking, matchmaking opportunities and hours of wisdom from over 200 thought leaders from all over the world. We are currently highlighting some of the most highly anticipated speakers we have joining us at the conference this September – keep checking back every day for more brilliant insights from our superstar speakers.

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Gameplay Programmer at Massive, a Ubisoft Studio, João Eiras Antunes. João is a game developer and a programmer – in that order. Originally from Portugal, he is now a Gameplay Programmer at Massive – A Ubisoft Studio, in Sweden. During his professional career, he was a programmer in studios of varied dimensions (from indie to AAA) taking part in projects for different platforms (mobile, VR, Console, PC). In his second life as a game dev, he likes to create small disruptive games and participate in (or many times organize) game jams or game dev meetups. He owns more games than he can ever play in his lifetime.

There’s a growing aversion to creative risk.

João Eiras Antunes

Join us at PG Connects Helsinki on September 27 to 28 to hear Antunes deliver a session on the top mindset characteristics AAA developers should aim for. What’s the most common mistake you see being made in the games sector?
João Eiras Antunes: There’s a growing aversion to creative risk. Companies want to be profitable – which is reasonable – but might end up cutting too many corners when doing so, which might result in games that, while maybe innovative in some aspects, may blend onto the existing market background.

What’s your favourite ever mobile game?
New Star Soccer by New Star Games! Initially released 10 years ago, I still eventually install it on any new phone I get. It’s the perfect time killer, with an addictive loop and not too intrusive ads scheme.

What game do you think offers something new, and exciting that hasn’t yet hit the mainstream?
I might be a bit suspect here, but I have to go with Catalyst Black from Super Evil Megacorp. First and foremost, it has the better visuals and performance I’ve seen for a game in its scope – I first tried it on a 8 year old phone and it ran smooth. But ultimately, it’s all about the gameplay – and what is there is fun, fast, deep and varied. It has everything needed to be the next big thing in mobile.

What is the most overhyped trend from the last 12 months – and why?
NFTs and the metaverse, which are pre-existing things with new names but are being pushed like crazy onto the public discussion sphere.

What role do NFTs play in the future of games?
I believe the good thing in digital goods is that they are not scarce. By creating artificial scarcity and with a considerable environmental impact, NFTs seem like a bad idea from the start, mainly pushed into the game development space by outsiders. I don’t think NFTs will have a part in the future of games – or at least I hope they don’t.

When not making/selling/playing games, what do you do to relax?
I mainly travel and do some physical exercise.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received that you can pass on to others?
Work for the product, not for people – but of course, work WITH people.

What was your first-ever mobile phone?
A Siemens C25. It had no games, but I remember I could “program” my own ringtones. I then had a Siemens C45 and it had some cool games on it.

Work for the product, not for people – but of course, work WITH people.

João Eiras Antunes

What sessions/speakers (apart from your own) are you planning to attend?
I heard Isaque Sanches is giving a talk and his talks are always very interesting.

Can people get in touch with you at the event? What sort of people would you like to connect with?
Of course! I am open for casual chats with anyone, but it might not be worth your time to promote me your services as I am in no position to accept them. Still, let’s grab a coffee!

What is one way attendees can prepare for your discussion?
Feel free to ask any questions and to openly disagree. My talk comes from a lot of discussions I had over the years and not everyone fully agrees with what I may defend and I’d love to hear your take on the subject.

What is the best way to disrupt a market?
Be ahead of the curve. There’s always a certain degree of collective thinking – and thus creativity – that makes humanity aim towards similar ideas. We just need to look at the amount of feudal japan games that came out the last few years or horror space shooters announced recently. If you can anticipate this creative curve and be the first one to put something with quality out there, you will disrupt the market and your game/product will serve as a benchmark for all your competitors.

Connect with our stellar speakers
Expand your network with the likes of João Eiras Antunes and many, many more brilliant minds at this year’s Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki conference. There is no better place to connect with the biggest and most inspiring industry players and take your business to the next level. You can still take advantage of our Early Bird offer, but it’s ending soon! Head over to our website and buy your ticket today, you can save up to a whopping £290 if you act fast.

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