Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Social Games

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Friday 11th March 2011

  • The New Frontier of Social Gaming

    by Brian Reynolds

    In this talk, Brian will discuss the typical social gamer and how this profile has evolved in the last year. 2009 was about introducing social gaming to the mainstream. In 2010, social gaming has gone mainstream with 65 million people playing FarmVille alone. 2009 was about introducing social gaming to the mainstream. In 2010, the quality bar has gone up with the release of games like FrontierVille, which hit 20 million users in its first forty days. This talk is targeted towards social game developers. In the talk, Brian would discuss the innovation and mechanics it takes to build fun, viral and engaging social games.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Friday 11th March

    In Room 12AB, Austin Convention Center

Saturday 12th March 2011

  • Indie Game Developers: What Platform Suits You?

    by Jack Buser, Sophia Coney, Jesse Vigil, Rade Stojsavljevic and Jamil Moledina

    It starts with an idea and a handful of creative minds, but where it goes from there can be anyone’s guess. Today’s indie game developers face a unique set of challenges, not the least of which is determining which platform will best aide in their eventual success. Video game publishers continue to change overnight, offering developers new tools to implement into their titles and competitive options for extending the game value. With all of these changes, indie developers are left with several unanswered questions: how do I go about choosing the best distribution method for my game? Which platform harnesses the audience that my game is best suited for? How do I fully take advantage of all the aspects that a platform has to offer? This panel brings together representatives from various platforms as well as indie developers to discuss the lessons learned when developing games for traditional consoles, virtual worlds, portable devices, social platforms and beyond.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 12AB, Austin Convention Center

  • Keynote: Seth Priebatsch

    by Seth Priebatsch

    The last decade was the decade of social. The coming one will be the decade of games. Over the past years, a few key companies have built, and now maintain, a powerful framework to foster digital connections between our friends, family and colleagues. What comes next is another framework, not another social layer, but a "game layer". And it'll be even bigger. Instead of trading in social connections, the game layer traffics directly in human motivation. It's not about the number of followers you have, or how many people "like" you, but about how you can leverage game mechanics to achieve all sorts of great things. Use them cleverly and they can enhance education, empower local businesses and make your life more fun and more rewarding. Use them incorrectly and well... it's less good. Join Seth Priebatsch, Chief Ninja of SCVNGR, for a deep dive into the coming game layer, what to be excited about, what to fear and why your life is about to become a lot more fun.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Ballroom D, Austin Convention Center

  • Causebuilding Games: Fundraising & Social Gaming Streams

    by Evonne Heyning and Josephine Dorado

    With the rise of DIY gamebuilding engines the cost of game production now makes it possible for nonprofits, political campaigns and other public organizations to create a game overnight. Trends in social gaming for the social sector include persistent communities for causes, dynamic solution-based crowdsourcing challenges and transmedia campaigns that fit well with video and web planning for large or small groups.

    Are you trying to live video with virtual worlds for your upcoming fundraising event? Need to create a quick game, campaign or experience for your constituents but daunted by the task? Selling virtual goods to raise money for a crisis cause?

    Explore mixed reality production, streaming embeds, twitter and comment community integration, game creation on the fly, collaborative processes for production. Figure out how to get your teams building together in 3D worlds, video mixes, challenges and design jams. Play your passion and make it fun for new people to engage with you!

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage slide deck

  • Storytelling through Advertising: Engaging Players in Online Games

    by Mike Sego and Manny Anekal

    What do Gillette’s Venus, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland and Skittles have in common? They have all successfully used virtual worlds and game play mechanics to engage players online. Social games, in particular, continue to be a growing form of entertainment, reaching nearly one out of every two Internet users and offering a unique platform for marketers to reach a specific target audience. However, social games always face the challenge of engaging players in a meaningful way without annoying them or detracting from the online experience. This session shares case studies from leading companies and discusses practical ways that brands have turned to social gaming to develop immersive campaigns that actually engage users and keep within a game’s narrative – and the serious risks of doing it wrong.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Saturday 12th March

    In Ballroom F, Austin Convention Center

Sunday 13th March 2011

  • Mobile Social Gaming: The Next Frontier

    by Volker Hirsch

    80% of the world population has access to mobile vs. only 23% with access to the Internet! Social interaction has revolutionized (online) digital media as it has opened new demographics and provides for a more compelling and relevant experience for users in addition to opening new tangents for search, recommendations, etc.

    The transformative power of social context was especially pronounced in gaming (cf. Zynga ["Farmville"] et al. who have grown into large businesses very quickly).

    The mobile landscape is significantly more complex than the Internet (dozens of platforms, hundreds of distribution channels, hundreds of jurisdictions), and the medium has indeed very different underlying dynamics (screen size and general form factor, input methods, mobility, use cases, etc). It is therefore vital to gain deep understanding about the underlying dynamics of both the medium as well as the users' approach in using that medium.

    It is essential to avoid a "Galapagos effect" where certain models only work on limited platforms (e.g. iPhone) or in specific territories (e.g. Japan). Only a fraction of the world's 5bn (!) mobile subscriptions are on iPhones or are in Japan, and one needs to look to tackle the fragmentation dilemma in order to unlock the enormous potential the largest medium in the world has to offer.

    This session will show the rationales that need to be applied to understand the medium and will outline paths to successfully address it.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Sunday 13th March

    In Salon J, Hilton Austin Downtown

    Coverage slide deck

Monday 14th March 2011

  • Tag, The Mobile Assassination Game

    by Alex Hachey

    Learn about the latest advancements in augmented reality and mobile game play in this detailed case study about Tag, The Mobile Assassination Game. Track friends using location and social tools, shoot them with your mobile camera, and upload the kill shot to the community for ratings, rankings and, in general, ruckus and entertainment.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 1:15pm to 1:30pm, Monday 14th March

    In Ballroom E, Austin Convention Center

  • TAG: The Mobile Assassination Game

    by Todd Marks and TAG Mobile Game

    How can a game change our social experiences? Learn how latest advancements in augmented reality, location based apps, and mobile game play are shaping our social experiences in this detailed & interactive case study featuring TAG: The Mobile Assassination Game. TAG allows players to track & tag their targets, using location and social tools on their mobile phones. This intersection of social meets mobile meets good-old competitiveness is opening new doors in social, mobile, & gaming experiences.

    At 1:15pm to 1:30pm, Monday 14th March

Tuesday 15th March 2011

  • Power of Socially-Interactive Content in Virtual Environments

    by Jon Goldman

    The rise of social gaming, and its adoption within the world's mainstream cultures, has had a profound impact on many of the world's cultures, as well as the way in which we interact with each other, with digital content and how we consume media. No longer do people want to simply consume online media in a static and lonely fashion, randomly e-mailing and tweeting links to their friends. Today's consumer aims to mimic their real-life social interactions within their online experiences, bringing the full promise of the Internet - to enhance and expand our real-world lives - with them into their online experiences.

    We are entering a time when neither the actual means of distribution, nor the content, are the primary driving forces behind consumer consumption of media, but rather, it is the socialization around that media that leads people to continually want to consume hours and hours of digital content every day and week.

    We will take a look at examples of socially-interactive digital content in our everyday lives, as well as the impact it is having on consumers and advertisers. This discussion will also provide examples of how content developers can better incorporate socially-interactive features into their online content--music, videos, photos, etc.--and how they can get site users and other consumers to fully enjoy and appreciate the power of socially-interactive features.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 3:45pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Ballroom E, Austin Convention Center