As indicated in our headline, GDPR has taken a big slice out of 2018. This has been known about for a long time, but the deadline was approached with a crescendo as requirements were defined very late and not in terms that were easy to understand so people struggled to implement all that was needed. Even our local doctor felt that GDPR required them to ask our permission to let us know when our booked appointments were (patently absurd). Some companies found that they had to suspend their services (e.g. PInterest), while they discovered that maybe they had not fulfilled the GDPR requirements which threatened multi-million euro fines.
The big stick worked and people dashed to comply with GDPR. A negative of this is that the whole world was flooded with GDPR requests for permission in mailboxes and very likely most people simply ignored this overwhelming deluge. We can infer this as we needed to ask permission to continue to send this newsletter, and some of our manifestly ardent readers never replied. So we have indeed deleted about half of our subscribers. Anyone can still immediately completely unsubscribe at any time by emailing us.
Well, that was our rant. We applaud the concept of GDPR but did not enjoy the initial implementation, which burned a lot of time for very many organisations.
Apart from that, we are still doing very well! This is now our 15th Anniversary year and we are very much still here. We put this down to how efficient our lean company is. We made many good decisions during the last 15 years and have greatly benefited from a highly regularised generic game architecture that has made support and new development very easy. Better bespoke tools have made it easier to work better. We have seen what it is like to not have this and clearly what we have done has worked. Part and parcel of this has also been the analysis of the markets, particularly Android, understanding why apps go up and down the charts. We got this right and have greatly benefited. We have to thank Google for providing an outstanding developer console to help us analyse our market. This has been enormously helpful.
Android moves on and with the introduction of Android 8, with the new adaptive icons, it was clear that our old icon style had to move on. The old rounded rectangular icons now sat inside a circle and started to look a little lost. We put our heads together and our artist Kirstie came up with a new branded style that not only maintained our AIF identity, but replaced it with something that managed to feel fresh, vibrant and easy to recognise. We were shoe-horned into doing things better. Little touches like this are massive, particularly with the sheer size of the market. Small artistic nuances convey important subliminal messages about who we are and what users might expect from the product. This was a happy change.
As usual we attended GDC San Francisco. This is a huge event seething with energetic committed game developers and so many high quality presentations. It is the best place to network in this field. Within it are so many mainstream topics, but also many oddball fringes providing entertainment, thinking well outside the box. It has plenty of the bizarre and strange. We also met up with our regular partners Mopub, Vungle, Optime, Admob and newly acquainted "Max", which was borne from some of the previous Mopub people. There are so many threads here and, however efficient we might be, there are only 3 of us, so we still have a lot of catch-up pending.
As usual we hosted a modest meal at the R & G Kearney, giving us a chance to talk to friends and colleagues with less noise than GDC inflicts. Below is a somewhat edited version of a photo of that meal, courtesy of Meilir Jones who transformed this into our very own "Last Supper".
A difficult final footnote to GDC was Dave Mark, who heads up the important AI Summit, being involved in a serious accident on the very last day. He has been through a lot and is still recovering. We all wish him very well.
Develop Brighton was the last event of the Summer and offered a more modest conference than GDC, but easier and somewhat less disruptive to attend. It provided interesting insights into the depths that marketing can offer, with interesting references to Netflix. It was also an opportunity to brainstorm some ideas on Spades AI with AI developers also attending. Dr Sam Devlin below talks about our Spades Free and other products used for research at York University.
Another good year!