The factors of social games success
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The factors of social games success

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This presentation shows an overview of the factors that had made the social games a profitable sector of the game industry.

This presentation shows an overview of the factors that had made the social games a profitable sector of the game industry.

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  • The social game is an online game that is distributed through social networks (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google+, or own network) and its basic concept is about the multiplayer asynchronous gameplay style. That means that it gives you the chance to play with your friends' network independently of them being online at the same time that you play. We will focus our attention in the social network called Facebook, since it's the largest one in Internet.
  • Few years ago, the most popular casual games, like Solitaire, Minesweeper, were considered a meaningless games to lose the time in the office. Almost nobody in gaming sector paid attention to them... so, which were the factors that made this subsector of gaming one of the most profitable of all the market? Mainly, there were four key factors that helped to make this change:
  • There is a big discussion between game developers about the use of human weakness to create addiction in the social games. Not all the designers agree with the fact that anything is allowed to get profit from the users.
  • It was only a matter of time that the users got used to the new payment methods and to buy anything through Internet. One question: Has anybody STEAM? I'm quite sure that you couldn't have resisted some offers and you had bought compulsively.
  • It's probable that you have a friend that has discovered the world of games through these kind of social games. The formula of easy, fast and isolated plays make these games appealing to this kind of people. This people usually are scared of traditional gaming because the complexity of some games and these social games have been a perfect introduction for them to the computer gaming world.
  • In the perfect scenario, a social game shouldn't have to invest in marketing, but the players will spread the existence of the game between his friends.
  • Through this presentation will show the rules that make work these kind of games and the psychological methods they use to make the big money.
  • We will see the game mechanics of the most popular game style, the city building games. All these mechanics or similar ones are used by most of the current social games.
  • The basic mechanic of these kind of building games is that we begin with a finite energy to do activities. For each activity completed we use the energy until we run out of it. At the same time, we get experience points to level up. For each new level, new items are unlocked, more energy, more bonuses, etc... This system based in energy is perfectly planned to excite the player without reaching a satisfactory experience. By this way, the user needs to come back to the game periodically to don't lose his progress or to pay to get the progress complete without waiting.
  • This is one of the more popular techniques and it is about that the tasks need an amount of time to be completed. When a task has been completed, if the user doesn't appear to collect the results soon, the results are spoiled and lost making the user feel guilty for the lost of a valuable task. That feeling makes the user to come back periodically to keep up to date with the results of the tasks. This is known as players' retention.
  • Basically, there are 2 ways to progress in the social games, either you pay cash or you invite your friends to help you out in your game progress. In the beginning, talking about Facebook platform, the social games could publish directly on the user's wall without user's permission. But this behaviour were considered annoying by the Facebook users who didn't like these games. So Facebook forbid the direct access for the games to publish, the only way to publish was under consent of the players. By this way, the games began to reward the players who shared game posts with their friends.
  • The social games are really single player experiences. One question: Can anyone tell me if he has enjoyed a great play with friends in these social games? An experience so fun as you can get playing online with friends to games like World Or Warcraft or League of Legends? The reason behind it is because the nature of the game. Social games are meant to be played fast, punctual, with instant rewards. To try to organize a online play with friends at the same time means a different level of commitment that most of the social gamers don't have because they don't want or because they don't have the time. So each player has its own world and they are progressing in parallel with the other players. And the level of interaction between players is reduced to visiting another players' world or giving gifts to friends.
  • These mechanics are the most popular, but not the only ones and everyday new evolutions of these mechanics or new ones appear in the social game market helping the sector to advance. Sometimes ideas from smaller developers are adopted by big developers in several ways, by cloning the game idea, or by buying the small company to add their products to the catalogue of the big developer.
  • A critical part of the success of the social games are the methods used to make the game discoverable by the big mass of users.
  • We are aware of the power of the virality of the social networks. But, Is virality enough to let know the people about a game? No, visibility use to be the key for the success. Let's see how the developers make their games known to the audience:
  • This method is about showing in an area of the game links to other games of the same company, sometimes offering rewards for the game if the player press on that links and join the other games. This makes that the users to be orbiting around the games of the same company.
  • This method is about showing in an area of the game links to other games of the same company, sometimes offering rewards for the game if the player press on that links and join the other games. This makes that the users to be orbiting around the games of the same company.
  • Some companies had undervalued the advertisements because they believed that with the network virality would be enough to let know the game to the users. In the first days of social gaming in Facebook, Zynga invested more than 50 Million of dollars to be known to millions of users as a trustworthy game company.
  • They are the main channels of communication that offers the social network platform for their users to communicate. At first, it was easy for the games to get visibility through these channels because they didn't need users' confirmation to post on these channels. Everything changed when Facebook change the policy and restricted the posts on the wall when the users had really confirmed them. Then the developers began to offering rewards to the players if they let know in their communication channels about the game to their friends. That's the reason why these games have some many pop-up windows asking the players to share messages with their friends.
  • Due to the huge size Zynga got in the first days of Facebook games, now it has a visibility factor huge. That makes easier for them to introduce new games to the market and get millions of players fast.
  • In short, the visibility is one of the most important keys for the success of a social game. The current situation of Facebook makes difficult for small developers to get enough visibility for their games to be profitable. It's know that Facebook it's trying to improve visibility, but ultimately it seems that the only games that get more attention are the most popular ones. That makes that the whole profit of social games in Facebook is shared by few big developers, with hard times for the smaller developers to survive.
  • The developers are obsessed with players' retention. It means that players return to play the game. Because the more time the players keep playing the game, the more chances that they will become addicted to the game and that will increase the payment for virtual items. That is known as monetize the users.
  • In some cases, like in Farmville, it was possible to get 30% of players' retention. That was possible when the games had direct access to the users' wall which helped them to remember to come back to the game.
  • One critical fact, is about the users who discover for the first time the videogames. They use to be quite loyal to the first experiences they play. In this case, the most visible company usually captures them, it's the case of Zynga and King.
  • Next, we are going to analyse the different kind of tasks offered to the players to keep them playing the game.
  • The action of mouse click to do tasks (do harvest, collect the rent, collect the profits...) give to the user instant rewards like coins or energy. Psychologically is proved that the more clicks the user does, the more addiction it creates.
  • Nearly all the tasks in social games are completed after a period of time. - Farmville strawberries 5 minutes, corn 24 hours - Zombie Lane, stop a wave of zombies 8 hours Usually, there are different ranges of time to finish these tasks. So, the users can get a fast reward for the short term tasks. Meanwhile the longer tasks offer a much bigger rewards and they ask the player periodic attention to complete it with success, if he doesn't want to lose the reward. The key here is to offer a range of different tasks to keep busy the player for short term and long term.
  • The new items are long term rewards. They allow the player to access to new areas, to get more energy for tasks, to build new kind of buildings, etc... All these new features introduce a big change in the game's experience that invite the player to discover them.
  • The key factor of this reward bonus is that it gets better if the player keeps playing everyday.
  • There is a psychological human factor that pushes us to complete open tasks. For example, the game “Diner Dash” the waitress has to do several tasks at the same time: - write the note, send the note to kitchen, deliver food, pick up empty dishes, and take the bill All these events together make an activity flow that is called an activity loop. As human beings we get satisfaction when we complete one of these open loops.
  • To summarize, human instincts has been used to keep the players in the game and transform them in addicts. Is this something morally debatable? Yes. But don't fool ourselves, the games always have been designed to maximize gameplay, and the good gameplay brings player's addiction. What we can see in the social games is that instead of focusing the design work in the gameplay, the focus is set on creating directly addiction.
  • All the social activities that can be done in the game are focused to maximize these three factors: retention, acquisition, monetization of the players. To get that, the game tries any way possible for the user to use his social network to spread the game's message.
  • Every time that the player gets an significant accomplishment or fact, like level up, complete a quest, get a collection of items, get a high score, run out of energy... a pop-up message appears to tell us about the issue and it invite us to share it with our social network giving us some kind of reward for sharing it.
  • The game invites the player to visit his friends, offering rewards as energy, credits or other kind of bonuses. When we are visiting another players we can do tasks that help the other player. The helped friend feels the need to return the favour and pays back a visit to help us. By this way, loops of favours are being created which help all the participants to progress faster in the game. This behaviour invites the players to try to get into the game as many friends as possible so together they can progress faster.
  • Back in the coin-up era, to create rivalry through a high score table was one of the first social uses the games made. Usually, there only was one universal high score table, but in the Internet era, the high scores can get so high that it's almost impossible for a casual player to get into it. But with the social networks, it was possible to made high scores tables for a group of friends, so the group of friends can challenge themselves to get the highest score between them.
  • In short, most of the social software developers are enterprises whose only goal is to make profit. The social network has been basically used with that goal in mind. But games are a creative medium of expression always evolving and it's expected in the future that there will be a more wide range of experiences that will make different uses of players' social network to offer a more rewarding social experience.
  • Communication channels that can be used by software developers: -Publish in your wall: Usually to report about your progress or to ask your friends for help. -Publish in your friend's wall: It can be used as a way to challenge the friend to beat a high score or to tell him about you did him a favour harvesting his crops. -Notifications: It become a spam channel before Facebook put away from user's wall and create a different channel for them. - Email: This channel is not very used since the email system is considered a more personal thing outside the social network platform and the software developers don't want to annoy the users with many emails. It's necessary the user's confirmation for the game to publish game related information in any of this communication channels. Facebook platform make sure that the game must ask the user a final time before the message is posted.
  • First of all, it's necessary to explain that social games are based in the Freemium (F2P games where you have to pay extra for digital contents, like items, or if you want to progress faster). The key factor for the success of these games is to reach massive audiences, then the statistics show that there will be always a percentage of the people willing to pay.
  • Lets see some data about the performance in the market of social games and why they have become one of the favourite products to develop.
  • Next, we can see a ranking (2011) about the ruling companies to see the amount of money they are dealing with.
  • Once the game create game addicts, they are always going to do actions that are going to be profitable for the software company. On the one hand, the addict players that don't pay, they will swallow their shame and they will try to invite as many friends as possible so they can help the addict to progress, that helps to spread viraly the game getting more visibility. On the other hand, they pay and depending of the addiction level and income they can become users called "whales" that spend a lot of money.
  • The price psychology works in a way that makes that the highest price changes the perception of the user for the other items. So, the user tends to choose a deal from the middle of the table of deals, because he thinks it's the best investment.
  • The statistics provide information about the player's behaviour and that if the game gets enough players a constant revenue will be earned for a long period of time thanks to the evolution of the game and the constant introduction of new features that keep the players' playing the game.
  • As far as this presentation goes it may seem that only the big companies can enter to this market. Yes and No. If you try to compete with the big companies with the same kind of game it's necessary that your game introduce new gameplay concepts that can make a difference and stand out in the whole market. But these companies will need a huge budget to get visibility and let know the player that the game is different from the others. On the other hand, if you design an original game idea there are also chances that you can get enough loyal players to support the game and ensure the survival of a small software development team.
  • This is the story of a small group of developers, without experience in game development, that take their chances to create an original game idea. The main idea which is based Mouse Hunt, it's about setting up traps to hunt rats. As the player progress, he gets more gold, level up and he can try to hunt bigger rats. This game is perfectly suited for social networks because the player only needs to visit occasionally the game to check if he has catch new rats. Half a Million of MAU: With these numbers the development team can survive well from this game. Listen the audience: The key for their success has been to be close to the players, listening their suggestions, keeping a good relationship with them.
  • This developer tell us that was by word of mouth the game was known by the players. They were able to reach 1.5 Million MAU and only through game's virality without having to invest a cent in marketing. 1- 1.5 Million MAU 2- All social games, unlike traditional games, they aren't released as a completed and closed products, they begin an important part of its development evolving through the statistics and feedback provided by the users. That's why it's necessary that the game project structure was scalable and adaptable to a growing number of users. 3- There is a lot of trial and error involved in the evolution of the game that depends on the players' feedback. 4- It's necessary to plan for new contents that make feel the user the game is alive and evolving.
  • Some software developers recommend the new developers to work fast, to test new ideas focused in new targets of the huge user base that social networks can have. There are a lot of genres to explore, and there are chances to get small, loyal audiences and get profit enough to survive and make a good business.
  • If the analysts are right, the online and mobile games will generate the half of the profit produced by the videogames' market in the next 3 years. Then the question is, which is the best technology to go for? The choice is not easy, specially as more and more games are required to be cross platform. Right now, the most obvious choice is Flash, but there are options like Unity with its easy 3D development environment and HTML5 like a free standard option. All of them are being used right now in the development of social cross platform games. On the other hand, there is the option to develop a own game engine, and the market is so big that there might be the possibility for success for this option.
  • Flash is the current winner as a platform to develop social cross platform games because is high penetration, over 90% in PC and mobile. It weakest factor was the 3D development but since Adobe introduce Stage3D and GPU acceleration the performance of Flash in 3D has improved substantially, making a real option to develop 3D Flash games with engines like Away3D, Flare3D... Maybe the tool is not specifically designed for game development, but the huge community has develop a lot of tools around it that make it easier to develop games with it.
  • This engine is one of the favourite of the game developers community specially for small developers and students because its friendly framework specialized in 3D game development. Above all, it's one of the few engines that supports a huge number of platforms. Unreal Engine or Unity Engine, there is a discussion when it comes to the choice of game engine. But, almost everybody seem to agree that Unity is a great tool to learn and produce casual games that need less performance and with a huge multiplatform support. On the other hand, Unreal Engine is a right choice for big productions, specially when it comes to work in AAA game studios.
  • The browser language HTML keeps evolving and improving. HTML5 is the next step in this way. An open standard that is in all the platforms which have a browser. HTML, Javascript, CSS are the languages used in HTML5 so the number of potential game developers is really huge. Since it's an open standard, it's not proprietary as Flash or Unity, that makes it really interesting platform if you don't want to depend on a proprietary technology. On the other hand, problems of browser compatibility and performance make really difficult develop for it. These problems will eventually improve, but it will take time, meanwhile the competitors will keep their fast improvements of their tools.
  • In short, when it comes to 2D games Flash is the winner to choose when we target platforms PC and mobile. The inclusion of Stage3D with GPU acceleration made great improvements in the performance both in 2D and 3D games, but still Unity gets a slightly better performance in 3D. Unity is a good choice if we choose to make a casual 3D games because because its friendly 3D framework, its huge multiplatform support, and a passionate developer community. And HTML5 is there as a promising future option, an open standard that can be a real option of development once the differences in performance and compatibility between browsers has been resolved. In the future, Adobe will try to offer a better support for game development specially in 3D. Meanwhile Unity will try to improve its Unity Player penetration in the PC market and better support for the development of 2D games. HTML5 will be there, evolving, being more stable, becoming maybe in the future a good choice when it comes not to be depending of a proprietary platform.
  • There is a discussion between game developers about the use of human weakness to create addiction in the social and F2P games. It's true that social games manipulate us, play with our brain reactions to maximize its profit, that's the reason why these games are so popular.
  • The main issue is that the goal of game design has shifted to the pure business. In the classical game design the goal was to make a game really fun, to design to create unique and awesome gameplay experiences. In the social game design the goal is to create addiction so the user pays for digital contents.
  • There are game designs where the injustice is favoured by the purchase power of the player, so the more economically healthy the player is the more power he will have over the other players. This way of design collides with the traditional game design where the goal is to find a good balance between all the players so there won't be situations of abuse of power and all the players will have the same chances to thrive.
  • The technology itself is neutral, it's the use we do about it that can become addictive. As designers we should tell the goal of the game clearly to the users so they can understand the consequences. Because, the users are the ones that must recognize their actions and be aware of the consequences.
  • The social games must evolve to be really social game experiences. That means to explore the social network not only with the purpose to make profit, but trying to design experiences the use the social network to create memorable and exciting game experiences with friends.
  • Google+ as an alternative social network platform has not been as successful as Google or many game developers tired of Facebook monopoly expected to be. Still, Google is there more than ever in mobile devices with Android, integrating Google services in mobile devices, so maybe the social network is being created in a different way than we expected. In general, game developers would be grateful if there are more options to go for the social games.
  • Eventually the social and F2P games will be platform independent. That means that you will be able to play the same game in the PC browser, in your mobile device, even in your videogame console. In the future will be a big demand for professionals who know to develop multiplatform games, and languages like Flash, Unity and HTML5 will be the best choices to create a multiplatform game.
  • The social games have been around for only a few years, they are in their childhood and like it happened in the 80s, there are a lot of ideas to explore. The development cost are still small and there are chances for success.

The factors of social games success The factors of social games success Presentation Transcript

  • SOCIAL GAMES The factors for their success
  • NOTES ● This presentation was done for the “Master in Video Game Design” of UAB (http://www.uab.es/) in December 2011. ● To fully understand this presentation you should download it and read it with the notes, because it's meant to be presented in person and the notes are the needed explanations that complete it. ● This presentation tells about the mechanics used in social games from an independent point of view.
  • INTRODUCTION WHAT IS A SOCIAL GAME? Use the social network to offer asynchronous multiplayer experiences.
  • WHY OF THE SOCIAL GAMING SUCCESS? ● New goals in game design. ● Micro transactions ● New market sector: The non-players ● Virality
  • CHANGE OF THE GOAL IN VIDEOGAME DESIGN ● Games aren't designed to maximize fun, but to maximize profit. ● Psychologists were recruited to create compulsive addictive behaviours.
  • MICROTRANSACTIONS ● The new payment methods become familiar and trustworthy for the users (PayPal, Google CheckOut, Amazon, Credit Card) ● It becomes extremely easy to pay with few “clicks” for digital contents.
  • NEW AUDIENCE: THE NON- PLAYERS ● Traditionally the hardcore players aren't so willing to make any kind of payment. ● A new sector of the market is opened: the non-players are people who had a good purchasing power and they have their first experiences in gaming with the social games.
  • VIRALITY ● Facebook was born with the goal of being a line of communication between friends. But this channel of communication can be used to spread ideas, suggestions, and share information. ● The social games encourage the users to use these communication channels to spread the message of the games.
  • RULES OF THE GAME ● Farm games (Farmville, Farmerama) ● Simulators of city building (CityVille, Millionare City, Social City) ● Personalization and care of pets (Happy Aquarium, Pet Society) 3 MAIN TRENDS:
  • RULES OF THE GAME ● CITY SIMULATION: BASIC GAME CONCEPT – Finite Energy and Level Up experience game system. – Timed Tasks – Reward virality – Multiplayer asynchronous
  • RULES OF THE GAME ● Finite Energy and Level Up Experience system. – Energy enough to get the user excited -> addiction
  • RULES OF THE GAME ● Timed Tasks – Timers to cause a guilty feeling of lost -> retention
  • RULES OF THE GAME ● Reward virality – Reward virality approved by the users
  • RULES OF THE GAME ● Multiplayer asynchronous – Making up a fake feeling of multiplayer game
  • RULES OF THE GAME Conclusions All these gameplay mechanics are developed to increase: ●Addiction: Energy system to start player's excitement without fulfilling it. ●Virality: Reward the player for spreading game messages. ●Payments: When the player's addiction reaches a certain level he will be able to pay for progress.
  • VISIBILITY FACTORS THAT HELP THE DISCOVERY OF THE GAME IN THE MARKET
  • VISIBILITY ●Is virality the only key of the distribution? ●No, it's not enough, a more critical issue to the success of the game is the visibility. ●What is the visibility? It is how many people can see the game exists
  • VISIBILITY ● Telling the player about the other members of the family – Zynga (Farmville, FrontierVille, Cityville, MafiaWars) – Digital Chocolate (ZombieLane, Millionaire City, Army Attack)
  • VISIBILITY ● Telling the player about the other members of the family – Zynga (Farmville, FrontierVille, Cityville, MafiaWars) – Digital Chocolate (ZombieLane, Millionaire City, Army Attack)
  • VISIBILITY ● Advertisements: Using the classic method
  • VISIBILITY ● Social Channels: wall, invitations, mails...
  • VISIBILITY ● Due to the lack of a system to discover new games, the biggest companies have an advantage to let know the players about their games.
  • VISIBILITY Conclusions ● Visibility is one of the most important key factors to the games' success ● There is no system of game discover for the new games ● Small companies has a hard time to let know their games to the users ● Big companies has the resources to get the whole attention from the users
  • PLAYERS' RETENTION The more time the user plays, the more chances for the game to monetize
  • PLAYERS' RETENTION ● The usual player return factor is around: – 20% for successful games Farmville, Cityville, Gardens Of Time – 10% - 12% for games with a good profitability Zombie Lane, Millionare City, Zoo Tycoon
  • PLAYERS' RETENTION ● The return factors in different companies usually match with the size of them: – Zynga 23% (Farmville, Cityville) – Playfish/EA 18% (Restaurant City, Pet Society) – Wooga has 18% (Monster World, Happy Hospital) – Digital Chocolate 16% (Zombie Lane, Millionare City) – Crowdstar 11% (It Girl, Happy Pets) – Disney Playdom 11% (Gardens Of Time, Gnome Town)
  • PLAYERS' RETENTION ● Gameplay mechanics that help in players' retention – CLICK, CLICK, CLICK – Timed Tasks – Unlock new Items – Daily Bonus – Open Loops
  • PLAYERS' RETENTION ● CLICK, CLICK, CLICK: – Action->Reward, Action->Reward, Action->Reward...
  • PLAYERS' RETENTION ● Timed Tasks – Playing to create players' anxiety with the time
  • PLAYERS' RETENTION ● Unlock New Items – New and wonderful items with a world of new features
  • PLAYERS' RETENTION ● Daily Bonus – The loyal players will get a reward.
  • PLAYERS' RETENTION ● Open Loops – Using the human need to complete tasks
  • PLAYERS' RETENTION Conclusions ●Developers use any means necessary to keep the players playing ●Several techniques use human psychology to keep the player in the game ●The ultimate goal of players' retention is get players' addiction
  • SOCIAL ACTIVITY ● Use of the social connections to maximize the corporate profit – Retention, Acquisition, Monetization of the players
  • SOCIAL ACTIVITY ● Pop-Up windows for anything – All the pop-up messages reward the player if he shares them with his social network
  • SOCIAL ACTIVITY ● Visiting friends – Creating endless loop of favours
  • SOCIAL ACTIVITY ● Creating rivalry between friends – I'm the best player... of my group friends!
  • SOCIAL ACTIVITY Conclusions ●All the techniques that use the social network are focused to spread the game diffusion and to help game players' retention ●The use of the social network can be quite selfish because friends can be seen as needed resources to progress in the game ●It's expected that new game experiences will make different uses of the players' social network that will provide a richer game experience.
  • COMMUNICATION CHANNELS ● Publish in your wall ● Publish in your friend's wall ● Notifications ● Email
  • NUMBERS: Statistics Rule ● Freemium ● Player's behaviour ● Enterprise data of MAU ● Addicts are always good for profit ● Prices Psychology
  • Players' Behaviour ● The average profit generated is around 0.25$ MAU. ● Between 1% and 3% of the users pay once per month. ● About 20% of all users pay once in the whole game's life. ● A percentage of 0.1% will spend a lot of money, (>$100), they are known as whales. ● They spend money for either progress in the game and of decorative items. ● ARPU(Average Revenue Per User) is low (the big mass of users don't pay anything) but it's sustainable during the time, unlike traditional games with a short life span. NUMBERS: Statistics Rule
  • NUMBERS: Statistics Rule -Zynga 258,545,022 * 0.25$/MAU = 64.636.255$ -Microsoft 50,212,607 * 0.25$/MAU = 12.530.401$ -Wooga 33,776,137 * 0.25$/MAU = 8.444.034$ -Playdom 30,007,102 * 0.25$/MAU = 7.501.775$ -Electronic Arts 28,647,036 * 0.25$/MAU = 7.161.759$ -CrowdStar 23,405,488 * 0.25$/MAU = 5.851.372$ -Social Point 21,616,662 * 0.25$/MAU = 5.404.165$ -Digital Chocolate 19,093,500 * 0.25$/MAU = 4.773.375$ Enterprises data by MAU (approximate figures) 2011
  • NUMBERS: Statistics Rule ● The game addicts are always profitable for the company. – Visibility or Money
  • NUMBERS: Statistics Rule ● Selection of the middle deal – 15 game cash for $2 – 40 game cash for $5 – 75 game cash for $9 – 170 game cash for $19 – 465 game cash for $49 – 1000 game cash for $99 Psychology of prices and deals
  • NUMBERS: Statistics Rule Conclusions ●Statistics are powerful resources to get the maximum profit ●They are essential in long life games which keep evolving according them. ●Statistics can accurately predict how many players are going to pay
  • SUCCESS STORIES: The ideas are also powerful ● Game clones with new and unique style features (Social Empires) ● Original ideas with loyal players (Mouse Hunt, Ninja Warz)
  • SUCCESS STORIES ● MouseHunt from HitGrab Labs. – Mouse hunting was never so fun like in this game – Half a million of MAU – Taking care of a loyal and active audience
  • SUCCESS STORIES ● Icy Tower by Muskedunder Interactive – The power of virality of the good games(1.5 MAU) – Developer tips: ● A small team can get great results in a short time ● The game structure is ready to grow from the first day ● The social game development in a new way to develop ● The players expect the game to grow
  • SUCCESS STORIES Conclusions ●Success for the big developers means to stand out from the crowd of similar games ●Success is also possible for small developers if they find a loyal audience with a fresh game idea ●Is possible to be successful without marketing if the game spreads virality in the social network
  • TECHNOLOGY ● Online games and mobile game will generate 42$ billions annually in the next 3 years. ● Which is the technology to go for? – Flash – Unity – HTML5 – Own engine (Hive Engine, Fabric Engine)
  • Flash ● Pros: – High penetration in the market, 90%. – Huge community of developers and resources. – GPU hardware acceleration with Stage3D – Several 3D engines (Away3D,Flare3D...) ● Cons: – Limited multiplatform (PC, mobile (AIR)), not console – Generic Tool, not specifically oriented for game development – Paid Tool – Performance in 3D slightly worse than other engines TECHNOLOGY
  • Unity ● Pros: – Friendly framework for 3D development – Multiplatform (PC, IPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Wii, PS3, Xbox360, PS4, XBox One) – Free Tool with basic options (PC and mobile) – Tool oriented to 3D game development (physics, collisions, networking) – Good performance in 3D (slightly better than Flash) ● Cons: – Low penetration of Unity player in PC market – Low virality – Paid Tool with professional options TECHNOLOGY
  • HTML5 ● Pros: – Open Standard – No need of license from any company – Supported by all the browsers ● Cons: – Few and basic tools for game development – Important performance and compability differences between browsers – Less powerful option of all – There is no clear business model TECHNOLOGY
  • TECHNOLOGY Conclusions ●Flash is the winner when we are talking about social 2D games ●Unity is a slightly better option than Flash for 3D casual games, with huge multiplatform support ●HTML5 is promising but performance and fragmentation problems are important right now
  • CRITICS ● Exploiting human weakness to make business.
  • CRITICS ● Goal of traditional game design: the fun factor. ● Goal of social game design: the profit.
  • CRITICS ● Design ethically questionable: Favouring injustice.
  • CRITICS ● The technology itself is neutral. We should tell clearly the games' consequences.
  • LAST WORDS ● Future evolution to really social games
  • LAST WORDS ● Google+ maybe not, but Google can be a player in the social networks
  • LAST WORDS ● Cross platform games: The Smurfs, Gun Bros Online
  • LAST WORDS ● Thousands of game genres to explore