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.
by Cinco Barnes
Cinco Barnes, previously Lead Designer of “Star Wars: Galaxies,” currently Chief Visionary Officer of Spacetime Studios, discusses how his company abandoned their charter to create large-scale PC MMO games and leveraged unique competitive advantages to find profitability in the emerging online mobile games market. This presentation covers strategies that Spacetime Studios employed to insulate the company from uncertainty while guiding it to a new market, as well as best practices for transposing well-known PC MMO features onto today’s mobile gaming devices.
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.
by Chris Early
This case study presentation will examine Ubisoft’s concept of “companion gaming,” which entails being able to play a game on one platform and have it relate to another game on a different platform, all within the same brand. Effectiveness of existing projects will be examined, including statistics on performance and adoption. Lessons learned and some suggested best practices will round out the session.
How do you drive up user engagement? What game-like design patterns get your users to complete the sign-up, bring friends and come back? This session will expose the design patterns of engagement and incentives, including relevant metrics. Led by Nadya Direkova, Sr. Designer at Google and game designer, it will teach useful techniques that can drive up - and keep - your user base. You will leave with an arsenal of 7 design patterns to: design effective sign-up sessions and tutorials, promote virality, invite return visits, and apply game mechanics beyond points and bagdes. About the speaker: Nadya Direkova is Google’s local search designer and a game mechanics consultant - helping millions of users find knowledge and fun. She comes from the world of game design, having created fun games for Leapfrog and Backbone. She’s taught design at M.I.T. and spoken at IXDA’09 and SXSW’10.
For decades, prohibitive cost prevented creative independents in both the gaming and movie industries from getting their visions on screens of any size. Now that indie games and movies are known quantities on their own, we explore how they can collaborate and mutually benefit from the similarities and differences in their respective processes. This panel will serve as a case study of a specific project to be announced.
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).
11th–15th March 2011