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PAX 2009-The Future of Games



The success of the Wii, the iPhone, and the rise of social gaming are already turning the entire video game industry on its head. Are you ready? Following up on last year's standing-room-only talk on ...

The success of the Wii, the iPhone, and the rise of social gaming are already turning the entire video game industry on its head. Are you ready? Following up on last year's standing-room-only talk on how developers really see their gamer audience, Andrew Mayer will explain to you why the next five years in gaming are going to bring massive changes to the industry, including what games we play, where we play them, and how we play. He'll also take a look at the big issues: Is this really the last console generation? Why are your favorite developers already making games for Facebook and the iPhone? And he'll show you how you'll end up paying more to play your favorite games once everything is free. In this fast and furious look at the near future, Andrew will cover where things are going, how we're going to get there, and what that's going to mean to you as a gamer, whether you like it or not.



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PAX 2009-The Future of Games PAX 2009-The Future of Games Presentation Transcript

  • The Future of Gaming
    You Don’t Know What You’re Going to Get
  • Who Am I?
    Andrew Mayer
    17 Years in the industry:
    • Original Producer/Designer on Petz
    • Senior Designer at Psygnosis San Francisco
    • Creative Director at Cartoon Network Online
    • Casual Games developer at Playfirst
    • Social Games Consultant
  • The State of the Game
  • The State of the Game
    Some Assumptions (for the sake of argument)
    Piracy sucks
    DRM sucks
    Piracy and DRM
  • The State of the Game
    For better and worse Piracy and DRM have killed the PC gaming market as we once knew (and loved) it.
    No DRM means you need to find ways to make $$$ when people are paying nothing to play.
    This drives new models.
    Piracy and DRM
  • The State of the Game
    Many of the innovations that are going to drive “the next generation” are already here.
    It’s no longer about processors and video cards.
    Free games need a much bigger audience.
    Grow your users or die!
    The Future is Now
    New Rules not New Hardware
  • State of the Game
    But the lines are still blurry.
    And it’s even harder to see when it’s not technology driven.
    But it’s getting clearer every day.
    The Future is Now
    The Pieces are in Place
  • Where we Play
    Hardcore games are going niche.
    Already seeing a contraction in the market.
    Fewer players grabbing a bigger share.
    More cool “indie titles”.
    Virtual goods and pay to play are taking off.
    And that’s bleeding into the design.
    The Old Games Industry
    What’s Happening to the Hardcore?
  • The State of the Game
    There’s still $60 hardcore games being made, but there isn’t as much growth.
    Even the old is new.
    Stuff like Nazi Zombies & Fallout downloads
    The big boys want a slice of the tasty new piewith that delicious mainstream audience.
    The Old Games Industry
    Things are changing
  • The State of the Game
    The foundation of the next hardcore generation
    Turns out WOW really did change everything.
    People are willing to pay (and pay) for these experiences.
    The Old Games Industry
    Just add Co-Op & Multiplayer
  • The State of the Game
    Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Kongregate etc.
    Smaller games are making big $$$
    Virtual goods alone will be $1.8 Billion this year.
    Small companies are making real money.
    You may not love the games, but developers are lovable again.
    The New Games Industry
    Small is the new BIG
  • State of the Game
    Hardcore games go niche.
    Already seeing a contraction in the market.
    Fewer publishers grabbing a bigger share.
    More cool “indie titles”.
    More event titles.
    Virtual goods, co-op and pay-to-play take off.
    The New Games Industry
    So what happens to the Hardcore?
  • Where We Play
  • Where we Play
    The PC
    The Entertainment Box
    Portable Devices
    The Basics
    Where Do We Play Video Games?
  • Where we Play
    Notebooks and Netbooks are now appliances.
    Huge monitors cost less every day.
    Even low end machines have pretty decent 3D graphics.
    Developers are much better at hiding scaling issues in the software.
    The PC
    Computers are Cheaper Than Ever
  • Where we Play
    Machines that just work. (Even windows).
    The technology curve is slowing down so things are more stable and/or better built.
    Users no longer have a big wish list of innovations.
    The PC
    User Friendlier
  • Where we Play
    The PC is still the home of the most popular games in the world.
    Still proving ground for new ideas.
    Still the home of the truly hardcore.
    The PC
    Everything DOMED is New Again
  • Where we Play
    Closed (mostly)
    Most people don’t pirate.
    Allows you to make deals with big licensors across all mediums. (Games, TV, Music, etc.)
    In the living room.
    Led by Guitar Hero/Rock Band
    The Entertainment Box
    The Console
  • Price Matters
    Where we Play
    The Entertainment Box
    The Lesson of Nintendo
  • Where we Play
    Price Matters
    The Entertainment Box
    The Lesson of Sony
  • Where we Play
    Whether your opponent is busy making a killing or killing themselvesALWAYS PAY ATTENTION.
    The 360 is a fundamentally different platform from the one it started out as, and it ain’t over yet.
    The Lesson of the 360
  • Where we Play
    The console isn’t just for games anymore.
    Now users want:
    Downloadable content
    Movies on Demand
    Twitter, Facebook, and more.
    The Entertainment Box
    The New Rules
  • Where we Play
    Many more in the years to come.
    Cheap and Easy
  • Where we Play
    Followers, not leaders.
    Sort of like consoles.
    But easier to pirate.
    Sort of like PCs
    But not really open or as innovative.
    It’s also hard to make money if you’re not Nintendo or Apple.
    Handhelds are Hybrids
  • Where we Play
    Works on everything from your phone to your tower.
    Games don’t become obsolete.
    You can still easily play 10 year old flash games.
    Getting more sophisticated.
    Flash becoming mature
    Cloud computing is interesting, if not quite there yet.
    The Browser
    Everything Everywhere—All The Time
  • The World of Free
  • The World of Free
    Free games need hundreds of thousands of people, maybe millions coming every day.
    There is always some limit on the amount you can consume.
    The player is the primary method of advertising.
    Why Free?
    The Best Way to Build a Social Audience
  • The World of Free
    Your info has value.
    Online games are one big endless focus test.
    They’re desperate to try and make the games more addictive.
    “They” want to know
  • The World of Free
    Making Money
    How do you make money on Free?
  • The World of Free
    This works, but only if you have really big numbers and a really big audience.
    But everyone does it, if they can get away with it.
    At worst it’s something you’ll pay to get rid of.
    Three ways to make $$$
  • The World of Free
    Sign up/subscribe to something and get in-game currency.
    People pay the developer for bringing you their way.
    Works better than advertising alone, because the advertiser gets something real.
    Three ways to make $$$
  • The World of Free
    This is the big one.
    Three ways to make $$$
    Virtual Goods
  • The World of Free
    Items or cash that can be bought for real $$$.
    Limited quantities.
    Better than the free stuff.
    Or at least easier to get.
    Virtual Goods
    What are they?
  • The World of Free
    Anyone here ever buy a Magic card?
    D&D 4th edition is the same model.
    Free to play with your friends.
    Low initial investments.
    Then you start emptying your wallet to get more. OM NOM NOMNOM!
    Virtual Goods
    Will they work?
  • The World of Free
    Over $1B in virtual goods will be sold in the US this year.
    Games are easier to upgrade.
    Balance become less important.
    Virtual Goods
    All Your Money $1.00 at a Time
  • The World of Free
    Designs have to make you an offer you cant refuse.
    Balance become less important.
    Games are more responsive to the player’s needs.
    Virtual Goods
    How do this change the game?
  • New Ways to Play
  • New Ways to Play
    I call this the “Farmpocalypse”
    Tremble before it.
    The Future is Farming
    In the Future There Will Be Only Farming Games
  • New Ways to Play
    Everybody else is making content for ME
    I’m making content for everybody else.
    Getting Social
    What makes a game “social”?
  • New Ways to Play
    Repetitive and simple.
    Played on an existing platform.
    A lot of people might not even call them games.
    Like it or not, it’s going to show up in a lot.
    Getting Social
    Gameplay Goes Beyond Casual
  • New Ways to Play
    Not a lot of pain
    You don’t “fail”, you just win slower.
    Your friends are valuable resources that you need to collect and exploit.
    Getting Social
    No pain, slow gain.
  • New Ways to Play
    You can grind, but you can’t catass.
    Important actions are limited by energy points.
    Replenished over time—or with money.
    Prizes for showing up every day.
    Getting Social
    The Bite-Sized Grind
  • New Ways to Play
    You can grind, but you can’t catass.
    Important actions are limited by energy points.
    Replenished over time—or with money.
    Do the basic action (missions, farming, etc.) over an over again.
    Getting Social
    The Bite-Sized Grind
  • New Ways to Play
    Daily prizes for showing up.
    In farming especially, you’re given a window of opportunity to “reap” rewards.
    Getting Social
    Checking In
  • New Ways to Play
    You can buy stuff that has no in-game effect.
    Hats for your avatar!
    Pets are especially popular for this.
    But there’s always a reason to dress up your farm, buy more guns, or whatever.
    Makes it easier to sell cool stuff for real $.
    Getting Social
    Collecting is Good
  • New Ways to Play
    It’s more about status and showing off than it is about personal achievement.
    In the world of social everyone is an achievement whore.
    But unclear goals aren’t so great for hardcore gamers.
    Getting Social
    Winning is Relative
  • New Ways to Play
    Social games will get more complex.
    But only as much as the metrics allow.
    Popular titles get more MMO like.
    Check out Mafia Wars to see this in action.
    Action Gameplay will show up.
    But probably be more similar to old-style arcade gaming.
    Games of the Near Future
    Social: The Next Generation
  • Are We Having Fun Yet?
  • Are We Having Fun Yet?
    The hardcore audience is pretty-much maxed out.
    Retail prices are pretty-much maxed.
    Box sales are down.
    Dealing with Change
    The Current Problems with Hardcore
  • New Ways to Play
    Most devs love the new models.
    Or at least they love the iPhone
    You can invest less in the beginning
    The games are smaller
    Build the title as you go along.
    More money goes directly to the devs.
    Dealing with Change
    What do the Developers think?
  • Are We Having Fun Yet?
    Still learning the ropes
    Some are sad, because the old “tricks” aren’t working the way they used to.
    But you can try a lot of new things.
    We’re only at the beginning.
    Dealing with Change
    What do the Designers think?
  • New Ways to Play
    The old guard may be bummed.
    But there’s Lots of new Players are showing up.
    Millions of them.
    They will get more sophisticated, but they will be a new breed of gamer.
    The hardcore gamer is going to get some benefits, but won’t be the same world it was before.
    Dealing with Change
    What does the Audience think?
  • Questions
    Twitter: @mediashifters