CEO talks Industry Opportunities and Trends

Nifty’s CEO was recently the Speaker Spotlight on PGbiz. Read the full article here.

In today’s Speaker Spotlight we’re talking to Nifty Games CEO Jon Middleton.

A game industry veteran of over 20 years, he has held executive leadership roles in digital content (Madefire) within game publishing (Pulse Entertainment) and game hardware (Mad Catz).

He was formerly founder and CEO of Boom In-Game Music, which was acquired by LiveGamer Inc in 2008. Prior to that, he co-founded Massive In-Game Advertising which was acquired by Microsoft in 2006.

Before forming Massive, Middleton was CEO of Eight Cylinders Inc, a game developer and authoring tools company acquired by in 2000 and subsequently Google.

Founded by gaming industry veterans Jon Middleton and Pete Wanat, Nifty Games has been formed to deliver high-quality sports games on mobile and digital platforms for a large global audience, targeting passionate sports fans.

The founding investors include many notable names from the investment, professional sports and gaming communities, including: esports and video game investment leader aXiomatic Gaming and venture capital firms March Capital Partners and

Nifty Games will focus on head-to-head free to play mobile and digital games, presenting a uniquely different gaming experience for sports fans.”

At Pocket Gamer Connects London, Middleton will be taking part in a fireside chat entitled ‘Creating Enticing Sports Games With Short And Fast Play Time’. What does your role entail?

Jon Middleton: Everything outside of tech, art and development. The less important stuff…

Why did you want to work in the games industry?

I was a mad gamer as a kid. As coin-op games journeyed towards in-home console and PC, I was hooked. I’ve been a gamer for decades. I’ve always loved the end product and the combination of art and technology that games bring to bear.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into it?

The easiest advice is to use your skills and make an effort to network. Show off the talent you have when you can, but lean into the community.

The industry overall is friendly, mingle and meet people. Conferences and trade shows can be really useful. Always try and be genuinely helpful – it will be paid back in spades. We all have a common goal. Have fun.

What are your thoughts on the industry in the last 12 months?

2018 was a transitional year. Our industry has always been incredibly adept at targeting our efforts, the past 12 months was no different.

Another industry reformation has begun, access to gamers has never been better and tactical games companies are winning. Mobile obviously has continued to win market share and there’s been a lot of exciting change on the PC front.

The Fortnite juggernaut was impressive and proved that cross-platform play is here to stay (and long overdue). The brand integrations Epic implemented with the NFL and Marvel were good fun.

Some obvious difficulties were laid bare. Traditional retail is dead and dying. VR/AR is a non-starter. And traditional triple-A games publishers are facing transform or perish obstacles.

There are big openings available for focused game companies.

What major trends do you predict in the next 12 months?

Continued growth in mobile and cross-platform play, along with further innovation in digital distribution (including cloud gaming) and app stores will expose a ton of opportunity.

Quality games with higher production value will continue to bring success and on a wider market basis.

How has the games industry changed since you first started?

The industry hasn’t changed. Still a blast. The output is always fun!

Which part of the Connects event are you most looking forward to and why?

Everything. Events like PGC are the lifeblood of the industry. Excited to see all corners of mobile together.