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Gdc 2010: Convergence of Flash Portals and Social Gaming

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Web game portals reach 100 million gamers, a population that is comparable to almost any other game market. This audience is looking for great games and is willing to pay money for the right …

Web game portals reach 100 million gamers, a population that is comparable to almost any other game market. This audience is looking for great games and is willing to pay money for the right experience. How do social games tap into this vast emerging market?


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  • MakingFacebook games! I’m totally into iPhone these days! What do you think of Android?
  • This is platform thinking. Not entrepreneurial business thinking. Platform companies spend shocking large amounts of money to turn you into ‘fans’ and tie your business to a specific platform.
  • Start with this mental modelPut platforms in a proper perspective. Need to reach out into big pools of customers, bring them in and convert them.
  • Social Gamers: http://www.infosolutionsgroup.com/2010_PopCap_Social_Gaming_Research_Results.pdfiPhone:http://www.mobile-ent.biz/news/35886/iPhone-users-keener-for-games-than-Android-and-BlackBerry-users (47% of iPhone users game)
  • Social Gamers: http://www.infosolutionsgroup.com/2010_PopCap_Social_Gaming_Research_Results.pdfiPhone:http://www.mobile-ent.biz/news/35886/iPhone-users-keener-for-games-than-Android-and-BlackBerry-users (47% of iPhone users game)
  • So this was the perspective I started looking at Flash portals…a source of customers.
  • ExamplesFantastic Contraption: (Flash web game)SAS Zombie Assault 2: (Flash web game) Bunni: How we First met (Flash web game) Kongai: (Portal) Restaurant City: (Facebook)Habbo Hotel: (Website)(Needs pictures)The basic designs on all of these could be done by a small team in 6 months. Some have grown quite large, but that is
  • ExamplesFantastic Contraption: (Flash web game)SAS Zombie Assault 2: (Flash web game) Bunni: How we First met (Flash web game) Kongai: (Portal) Restaurant City: (Facebook)Habbo Hotel: (Website)(Needs pictures)The basic designs on all of these could be done by a small team in 6 months. Some have grown quite large, but that is
  • ExamplesFantastic Contraption: (Flash web game)SAS Zombie Assault 2: (Flash web game) Bunni: How we First met (Flash web game) Dream World: (Basic MMO) Restaurant City: (Facebook)Habbo Hotel: (Website)(Needs pictures)The basic designs on all of these could be done by a small team in 6 months. Some have grown quite large, but that is
  • ExamplesFantastic Contraption: (Flash web game)SAS Zombie Assault 2: (Flash web game) Bunni: How we First met (Flash web game) Kongai: (Portal) Restaurant City: (Facebook)Habbo Hotel: (Website)(Needs pictures)The basic designs on all of these could be done by a small team in 6 months. Some have grown quite large, but that is
  • http://wiki.mochimedia.com/Flash-Games-Market-Survey
  • http://wiki.mochimedia.com/Flash-Games-Market-Survey
  • 58% make money from ads. 43% make money from sponsorshipsAs of 2009, only 6% make money from transactions. 30,000 portals
  • 58% make money from ads. 43% make money from sponsorshipsAs of 2009, only 6% make money from transactions. 30,000 portals
  • 58% make money from ads. 43% make money from sponsorshipsAs of 2009, only 6% make money from transactions. 30,000 portals
  • 58% make money from ads. 43% make money from sponsorshipsAs of 2009, only 6% make money from transactions. 30,000 portals
  • 58% make money from ads. 43% make money from sponsorshipsAs of 2009, only 6% make money from transactions. 30,000 portals
  • 58% make money from ads. 43% make money from sponsorshipsAs of 2009, only 6% make money from transactions. 30,000 portals
  • Defered sign-ins work super well.
  • Viral loops, even crappy ones super charge portal distribution. What does a good viral loop do? For a viral factor of 1.0, you can have 20 million users after 5 months.
  • Super charge your distribution. You can release a new ‘version’ of a Flash game every 3 to 6 months without overwhelming the distribution channel. Saturation effects start kicking in and making the viral loop less effective.
  • Habbo Hotel: Achievements tied into existing games
  • Directly reward playersIM
  • Kongregate
  • Not that effective. These meta-game activities that aren’t tied into the core game loop drive only mild virality.
  • Free version directs to paid version: Some portals don’t want developers to make money so they block paid versions. You can give portals a choice of free or paid links to put up on their site. Portals are leaky and cannot track outbound links except through manual inspection of your game. Some portals will play every game. Other cannot.
  • This split lets 30,000 portals bloom and make their owners considerable money. Everything outside the game is the portal’s to monetize. Ads, user login, chat, etc Everything within the game is the developer’s to monetize as they desire: Microtransactions, offers, etc. If a developer uses a service made by a 3rd party, it is fair to pay for it with a percentage of revenue. However, the developer has the right to A) shop around for the best deal and B) switch services. If you find a portal who doesn’t follow these rules, move on. Their users aren’t worth it and by collaborating you make them stronger.
  • Cost of production goes up. The risk of failure stays steady. Larger groups that control one of the three key areas gain economies of scale and risk mitigation. This is the way it always has been. Expect to see the same things happen on the iPhone
  • My friend Karl Marx
  • Can you walk away? Can you negotiate?Diversification into new frontiers is critical.
  • Game in the cloud. Target multiple pools of customersAlways be shifting to find new pools of inexpensive early stage customers.
  • Side note
  • If you want to make moneyAll games are social gamesAll games are long form gamesAll games are funded by direct monetary transactions with the user
  • Transcript

    • 1. Convergence of Flash Portals and Social Games
      GDC 2010
    • 2.
    • 3.
    • 4. What is your platform?
    • 5. Wrong question.
    • 6. GAME
      $
      Facebook
      Portals
      Mobile
      SOURCES of CUSTOMERS
    • 7. What are the best sources of customers?
    • 8. What are the best sources?
    • 9. Why is Flash Interesting?
    • 10.
    • 11.
    • 12.
    • 13.
    • 14.
    • 15.
    • 16. Who is playing?
      1.1 billion plays a month
      CAGR of 22%
    • 17. Competition
      Top 2%
      >10 million plays
      >$10,000 a month
      Bottom 66%
      <2 years of experience
      The thousands of games is a mirage.
      Very easy to stand out
    • 18. Middlemen
      Ad Network
      Payment
      Developers
      Flash Game License
      Big Portals
      Small Portal
      Customers
    • 19. Middlemen
      Ad Network
      Payment
      Developers
      Flash Game License
      Big Portals
      Small Portal
      Customers
    • 20. Middlemen
      Ad Network
      Payment
      Developers
      Flash Game License
      Big Portals
      Small Portal
      Customers
    • 21. Middlemen
      Ad Network
      Payment
      Developers
      Flash Game License
      Big Portals
      Small Portal
      Customers
    • 22. Middlemen
      Ad Network
      Payment
      Developers
      Flash Game License
      Big Portals
      Small Portal
      Customers
    • 23. Middlemen
      Ad Network
      Payment
      Developers
      Flash Game License
      Big Portals
      Small Portal
      Customers
    • 24.
    • 25. Fun rating
      4 out of 5
      Test with real users
    • 26. First 30 seconds
      Tutorial
      Be a Popcap game
      Deferred login
    • 27. Deferred login
    • 28. Surprises
      Willing to play long games
      Fine with complexity
      Open to paying
    • 29.
    • 30. 3 Distribution scenarios
    • 31. What happens after 8 weeks?
      Portal + Viral
      3,650,000
      Portal
      950,000
      Viral
      11,000
    • 32. Multiple Portal Releases (40 weeks)
      Portal + Viral
      14,920,000
      Portal
      3,200,000
      Viral
      420,000
    • 33. Facebook Connect
    • 34. Incentivized URL sharing
    • 35. Address Book Mining
    • 36.
    • 37.
    • 38. Email Directly
    • 39. Competitive Invites
    • 40. Flash Friendly Payment Services
    • 41. Leaky Portals
      Developer
      Website
      Portal
      Community
      Free
      Game
      Paid
      Game
    • 42. Philosophy of Fairness
      Arcade portal
      Portal owns outside the game
      Game
      Developers owns inside the game
      (Developer chooses 3rd party services)
    • 43.
    • 44. Game markets evolve
      $
      $
      $
      $
      $
      $
      Consolidation
      Maturity
      Growth
    • 45. Developer roles also evolve
      Consolidation
      Maturity
      Growth
      Contractor
      Manservant
      Entrepreneur
    • 46. Where opportunities exist
      Flash
      Portals
      iPhone
      Retail
      Social
      Networks
      Console
      Download
      Consolidation
      Maturity
      Growth
      Contractor
      Manservant
      Entrepreneur
    • 47.
    • 48. To remain independentDevelopers must own…
      The means of production
      The means of acquisition
      The means of retention
      The means of monetization
    • 49. Be an Octopus
    • 50. Questions
      Contact: danc@lostgarden.com
      Slides: www.lostgarden.com
    • 51. We build socio-mechanical systems
      Mechanics
      Desired Value
      People
    • 52. These systems are our core competency
      $
      Retain
      Monetize
      Acquire

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