Surviving Free-to-Play for Small & Early-Stage Start-Ups -- Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2013

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The free-to-play gaming landscape is more competitive than ever. What does it take for a small company to not only survive - but thrive? Hear first-hand from Margaret Wallace, entrepreneur and CEO of Playmatics. She has had over ten years of experience running her own gaming start-ups and has also spent a lot of time working on the "other side of the table" at traditional publishers and with large media companies. Offering some crucial advice to small companies and indie development houses on the opportunities in the free-to-play space, she will provide data and first-hand experiences around negotiating this ever-changing space.

What is the marketplace outlook in 2013 and beyond for free-to-play gaming, especially for small or early-stage start-ups? What winning strategies can be adopted? In addition to establishing a baseline on the market as it stands, other opportunities and best practices in the space are discussed - including the role of "fun" in the whole equation. Questions covered include the how private investment vs. traditional publishing deal impact product choices and realities, adopting a platform strategy, whether it makes sense to work with brands - and what are some contractual and product pitfalls to avoid in order to mitigate risk.

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  • Source: http://www.deadline.com/2012/10/ifp-to-run-the-made-in-new-york-media-center/
  • Sourcehttp://www.wwd.com/media-news/digital/game-on-createthe-group-social-fashion-foray-6202881““We believe that taste can be cultivated and learned and we’re using game mechanics to facilitate that. That’s our unique angle. Like any life skill, having good taste in fashion is not universal, but something that can be cultivated and learned,” Wallace said. “Everyone has an opinion about fashion — and this tells you whether your taste measures up. Over time, players will be able to improve their taste, learning from these experts and others in the community.””
  • Insight from my informal survey of industry leaders in the F2P space.
  • High Council of Time Lords
  • Seth Sivak’sQuote
  • Credit for the Formula:Omar AbdelwahedSenior Online Producer at 2K Sports
  • Credit for the Formula:Omar AbdelwahedSenior Online Producer at 2K Sports
  • Credit for the Formula:Omar AbdelwahedSenior Online Producer at 2K Sports
  • Credit for the Formula:Omar AbdelwahedSenior Online Producer at 2K Sports
  • Credit for the Formula:Omar AbdelwahedSenior Online Producer at 2K Sports
  • Credit for the Formula:Omar AbdelwahedSenior Online Producer at 2K Sports
  • Seth Sivak’sQuote
  • Derrick Morton Quote
  • Derrick Morton Quote
  • Derrick Morton Quote
  • Derrick Morton’s Quote: Fail and move on. When you fail, admit it's a failure and move on to the next thing quickly. Don't think you can make a low performing game a hit. If a game isn't hitting benchmarks for Return Play and DAU/MAU there's a 95% chance you can't fix it. It's fundamentally not fun to play and you need to move on. IF you have good Return Rates but you're not monetizing, you may have a shot at fixing it.
  • Seth Sivak’sQuote
  • Derrick Morton’s Quote - First focus on making your game socially connected at it's core, then find creative ways to get your game in front of consumers either through publishers or partners.
  • Seth Sivak’sQuote
  • Seth Sivak’sQuote
  • Seth Sivak’sQuote
  • Surviving Free-to-Play for Small & Early-Stage Start-Ups -- Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2013

    1. 1. Surviving Free-to-Playfor Small & Early-StageStart-UpsMargaret WallaceCEO, Playmatics
    2. 2. Margaret Wallace● Entrepreneur● Advisor● Connector
    3. 3. Production Business
    4. 4. IFP will partner with other…technologycompanies, including …Playmatics….Opening July 2013
    5. 5. Start-Up Advisors….
    6. 6. Today’s Topics● (Informal) Survey of Industry Insiders
    7. 7. Today’s Topics● (Informal) Survey of Industry Insiders● Advice on Best Practices
    8. 8. Today’s Topics● (Informal) Survey of Industry Insiders● Advice on Best Practices● Biggest Mistakes
    9. 9. Today’s Topics● (Informal) Survey of Industry Insiders● Advice on Best Practices● Biggest Mistakes● “Pivoting” vs. Adaptation
    10. 10. Survey Insights
    11. 11. Development Marketing and promotion User acquisition GAAS Multiplatform…and a Hosting / server fees caveat
    12. 12. Special Thank You:Derrick Morton Seth SivakCEO CEO
    13. 13. Advice
    14. 14. * Omar AbdelwahedSenior Online Producer at2K Sports
    15. 15. Winning Formula?Advice in pseudo code:
    16. 16. Winning Formula?Advice in pseudo code:If
    17. 17. Winning Formula?Advice in pseudo code:If (cost_per_user
    18. 18. Winning Formula?Advice in pseudo code:If (cost_per_user >
    19. 19. Winning Formula?Advice in pseudo code:If (cost_per_user >avg_revenue_per_user)
    20. 20. Winning Formula?Advice in pseudo code:If (cost_per_user >avg_revenue_per_user)sell_or_quit(); * If you can.
    21. 21. Winning Formula?Advice in pseudo code:If (cost_per_user >avg_revenue_per_user)sell_or_quit(); * If you can.
    22. 22. What Does ItTake These Daysto Be Successfulin the Free-To-Play GamingSpace?
    23. 23. What Does it Taketo Be Successful?“You need to constantly iterate onthat service even after it launches ……constantly trying to acquire usersfor a cost that is below their lifetimevalue.”
    24. 24. What Does it Taketo Be Successful?“Good games. Socially connected.Endless playability.…Flexible price-points from $1 to$1,000 per player.”
    25. 25. What Does it Taketo Be Successful?Adequately Measuring Success
    26. 26. What Does it Take Monthly Traffic New Trafficto Be Successful? Strategic Partnerships Affiliate PartnershipsAdequately Measuring Success Search Engine Marketing Viral/Word of Mouth Search Engines Registrations Usage and Behavior
    27. 27. BiggestMistakes?
    28. 28. Oink!
    29. 29. Biggest Mistakes?“Thinking Players willpay to play your gamebefore they becomeinvested in the gameitself….”
    30. 30. Biggest Mistakes?“You must be able to acquire customersvirally and/or through rev share deals.”“CPI customer acquisition has gotten to the point that nobody makesmoney but the ad provider.”
    31. 31. Biggest Mistakes?Not Designing for theTarget Device
    32. 32. Biggest Mistakes?
    33. 33. Biggest Mistakes?
    34. 34. “Pivoting” vs. Adaptation
    35. 35. Questions?Margaret Wallace margaret@playmatics.com @playmaticsMy Rants and Raves on the Industry: www.margaretwallace.com

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