by Adrian Hon
Most ARGs are like icing on a cake - they make an existing TV show, movie, game or book taste even better by giving fans another way to explore and interact with the fictional universe. But you can't live on icing, so the question is: can an ARG ever work on its own, without relying on a massive audience from another medium?
Very few have tried, and there are no enduring successes (including my own Perplex City). As a result, many have implicitly concluded that a 'native ARG' can't be done, and are now moving on to transmedia. But at Six to Start, we think it can be done, and we've been developing Project 314 to prove it.
Project 314 is an online social game blended with an ARG, aimed at a mass audience (just like Zynga and Playfish games) but with a depth of gameplay, story, and world that they can't approach. During development, we found that there are enormous advantages in creating an ARG that's attached to an online game; for one, you can avoid the irritating friction that always occurs when switching between media; for another, it feels incredibly natural (and there are a few more to discuss)
It took us three years to come up with the idea for Project 314, and to assemble the right team. In this talk, I'll also share why Project 314 is so important for the future of games and storytelling, why it took so long, and how other game developers can create similar games (while avoiding the pitfalls we encountered).
Indisputably, algorithms and user interface (UI) are both crucial to any software’s success, but many companies struggle to find the sweet spot where back end meets front end development in a perfect balance of product success. The age-old battle of function vs. fashion emerges when resources need allocation, road maps are determined, and the fate of a startup hangs in the balance.
Algorithms crawl the internet, digesting tons of data to spit out content that is valuable for users, while UI attracts, retains and instills trust in users to delivering that value to the masses. But in the end, drives innovation and success, the algorithms or the UI? If you’ve got funding for 6 hires, who are they?
This informative discussion will be led by Aaron Patzer, VP/GM of Intuit’s personal finance group and Founder of Mint.com, an algorithms engineer with several patents at the core of his product who also recognizes the value that perfectly pixilated, easy-to-understand charts and graphics brought to Mint. Panelists, including a UI designer, algorithms expert and CEO of company that has successfully merged the development of both, will discuss how to combine different types of expertise into a winning formula; what’s necessary to create complex technology and dense data into simple information for users, whether product innovation should be driven from the product’s front end or back end, and how an organization’s structure changes the way product development takes place.
by Reid Hoffman
Emerging social media platforms offer musicians unprecedented opportunities to distribute music and engage fans, often circumventing the traditional models of label deals and radio airplay. Today, it is more about creating a community around your music and engaging your fan base than major label deals and platinum sales. For some artists, fan engagement has happened organically, as a result of the quality of their music, years of touring or their innovative sound. Certain bands have always had fans that followed them from city to city, meeting other fans, sharing music and stories. New social media tools, like the location-based social networks Gowalla and Foursquare, can be used as platforms for rewarding fans for desired behaviors.
Currently, these platforms are in their infancy. Their focus is evolving toward event as well as location-based check-ins. Musicians can engage these services by encouraging fans to check-in at shows, offering rewards for multiple check-ins on a tour, providing a space for fans to aggregate photos and videos, and offering a way for fans to develop their own interactions, like organizing meet-ups and creating trips. Once fans are signed up with a location-based service, bands can offer merchandise discounts, meet and greet access, limited edition items and downloads or other incentives. The key is engaging passionate fans wherever they are in the world via mobile devices. Let them help by giving them the tools they need to spread the word. Co-presenting on this panel will be Jonathan Carroll, Community Manager at Gowalla.
11th–15th March 2011