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Pocket Gamer 10th Anniversary

PG is 10: Alumni Revisited - Simon Byron

Lord Byron writes his PG-centric memoir
Product: Pocket Gamer 10th Anniversary | Publisher: Steel Media Ltd | Format: Android, DSi, iPhone, Mobile, PSP, Smartphone, iPad, 3DS, PS Vita
Pocket Gamer 10th Anniversary Android, thumbnail 1
As part of our 10th anniversary celebration we've asked ten former key members of the PG team to share their memories and thoughts (and also their all-time Top 10). Let's dive in…

Who are you?
Hello, I'm Simon Byron, publishing director at Curve Digital, co-host of One Life Left, and officially one of the top 100 people in the game industry 2014.

When did you work in the Pocket Gamer empire, and what did you do?
Well that's a very broad question. I've known Team Pocket Gamer since before they were Team Pocket Gamer.

I remember when [Steel Media MD] Chris James told me he'd registered the URL – it was when I was working on the launch of the Neo Geo Pocket Color, which must have been 1998, something like that.

Good to see someone doing something with the URLs they end up squatting on. I *must* do something with VRSoul.co.uk (VR Arsehole).

I did freelance for PG for a few months until someone complained about it.

What are you up to nowadays?

I'm publishing director of Curve Digital, the world's leading publisher of indie games on PC and console.

Do you have any fond/happy/mad/secret memories of your time on PG you'd like to share?
If I was on an Activision earnings call, I would describe my current state as "having some difficulty transitioning to the next generation" – which in lay terms means I'm getting old and am therefore suffering from the sort of memory loss which makes me a terrible candidate for such questions. I forgot who the snooker player Steve Davis was the other day.

What I'm trying to say is I can't remember many specifics beyond recent history – so perhaps my fondest memory of Pocket Gamer is when people complained about our videogame karaoke (Marioke) at a PG Party recently. They thought we were interrupting their "networking opportunities".

We have subsequently rewritten Prince's 1999 to go, "So tonight I'm gonna network for an hour, from 8 til 9," which is one of my favourite lines.

What key moments or developments stick out for you from the last 10 years of the mobile games industry?
Well. The App Store, Android, free-to-play – the industry is unrecognisable from that of 10 years go.

I guess consolidation has been, broadly, a good thing. You no longer have to wade through a sea of model numbers just to see if the £5 you're about to waste on a sub par version of Ikari Warriors will work on your handset.

Which was your favourite mobile gaming platform(s) or hardware?
My Galaxy S6 or iPad Mini.

Do you still play mobile games? What are you playing now and on what device?
I think mobile gaming is in a really interesting place, now – we're seeing games like Downwell and Cira Infinity exist happily on PC, console, and mobile, rather than losing something in translation.

I'm spending more in the Google Play and App Stores than ever before.

Where do you see mobile games and the industry going in the next 10 years?

Someone's got to do something about battery life – chief concern for me when mobile gaming at the moment is play time, which is broadly governed by when I'm going to be able to plug the thing in again.

The convenience of one device is slightly tempered by the fact I'm terrified I'll not be able to make a call when I need to (not that I make calls on it, but you know what I mean).

Aside from that, I'm really looking forward to developers understanding mobile play some more. We've gone through the cynical cash-grab, hopefully; I believe we're at the start of what will be a golden period.

There are loads of interesting things in development at the moment – look out for what Jack Attridge is doing next.

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, and Nordeus. Head over to the PG 10th anniversary homepage for more information.


Reviewer photo
Simon Byron 19 March 2016
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