Making the cut - Roberta Lucca, Bossa


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Slides from Roberta Lucca's keynote at November 2013's London Games Conference.

Roberta Lucca, CMO and co-founder at Bossa Studios explains how her studio created hit game Surgeon Simulator by doing things differently. Over a million YouTube uploads, over a hundred million views and six-figure sales.

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  • Hi, I’m Roberta, co-founder and Marketer in Chief of Bossa Studios.
    I was invited here today to share with you a bit of our story that started only 3 years ago. And tell you a few secrets about how Surgeon Simulator made the cut.
  • That’s almost literally how we started. We rented a cheap room in a Circus School in Shoreditch.
    This was October 2010. All we had was our collective experiences from the likes of EA, Jagex and Vertu, some savings and a big dream: to create a better world through high quality social games.
  • I must tell you that was bloody hard, way harder than we thought. Because creating a company that make awesome games and market them without deep pockets is not walk in the park. In fact, it’s more like a ride in a roller-coster.
    But our passion, determination and eager to innovate were bigger than that.
    In between one or two work-for-hire projects and conversations with potential investors, Shine Group came to us and offered to buy part of Bossa as a strategic move to expand their TV business into interactive entertainment.
    A year later, September 2011, our first title Monstermind went live and 6 months later went into winning a BAFTA!
    That was one of the most incredible moments of my life. And I’m sure the team who were there with us would say the same. Then we won a Develop Award as New Studio and were listed London’s 20 hottest tech start-ups.
    I could stay here forever telling you a lot of happy and sad stories of these 3 years.
  • But I won’t. I’ll fast forward to this present year. Out of the 25 prototypes that never saw the light of the day, and 7 games developed, these are our 4 most successful titles.
    If you ask me what was the biggest lesson I’d share with you today about these amazing roller-coaster 3 years, I’d say ‘Be daring - never settle for less’.
  • And so we haven’t.
    At Bossa, anyone can put forward a game concept and will have the chance to make it happen. It can be via our ABP ‘Always Be Prototyping’ culture, monthly internal GameJams or even by joining external bigger Jams like what four guys of our team did in January.
  • They joined the Global Game Jam and created Surgeon Simulator in 48 hours.
    When we got to the office on Monday, we sensed something strange was happening: the game was as much fun to watch as it was to play!
    Suddenly, this was picked up by YouTubers like PewDiePie and RoosterTeeth and things went mentally viral very fast.
    In 3 days we were featured in all major gaming publications you can think of.
    And Forbes compared with Rick Astley meme…
  • We knew we had something very special on our hands: an audience that loved what they saw!
    We knew we had to act fast. So we did. We paused another project, put the game on Steam Greenlight, put a producer on it, and our community and marketing team went into overdrive. This was our ‘pitch’ video to get people to vote YES for us.
  • Meanwhile, hundreds of Let’s Play videos were popping on YouTube, fan art everywhere, animations.
    There was even a guy who filmed his own hand making ‘Surgeon Sim’ Operation breakfast!
  • And here’s what happened on Greenlight: we kind of broke the charts!
    The green line here is Surgeon Sim. In only 5 days we reached the amount of YESes that took 30 days for the top 5 games to reach.
  • And 48 days later we were pleased to release the full game on Steam.
    Since it’s launch, we had about a million unique videos posted about Surgeon, 100 million combined views on YouTube and 6 figures units sold so far.
  • On the last 7 months since the full game was launched:
    We released an update in partnership with Team Fortress
    Oculus Rift support
    An ARG unveiling an Alien Operation
    Myriads of new achievements based on what make players giggle.
    Just like we said we would!
    We dressed an 80s Ambulance with Surgeon Simulator for Eurogamer.
    And even got Bob (the poor patient) 3D printed.
    We receive a request every other week for a new collaboration. And as you probably heard, the iPad version is on the works.
  • We’ve got loads to do more to continue to make our players happy, creating more and more awesome updates.
    And we come full circle again. A couple of months ago we asked Team Bossa what words define us. Here’s what we’ve got.
    If you ask me why or how, all I can say is:
    Be daring
    Empower your talents
    Create a culture of rewarding experimentation.
  • I believe we are just in the beginning of the so-called Makers Revolution.
    There’s nowhere to hide anymore, and no excuses for not designing a game WITH your players, not TO your players.
  • Thank you!
  • Making the cut - Roberta Lucca, Bossa

    1. 1. Making the Cut Roberta Lucca Co-founder, Marketer in Chief @olicca
    2. 2. How everything started October 2010 – 3 people and our savings Previously at EA, Jagex, Blitz and Nokia/Vertu (Dev + Marketing) One big dream: to create a better world through high quality social games
    3. 3. Our 3 years journey East London’s 20 hottest tech startups BAFTA Award and 3 nominations / Develop Award Partially acquired by Shine Group 5 games launched, 3m+ users, 30 people
    4. 4. Be daring
    5. 5. How did we make the cut? ABP Always be Prototyping
    6. 6. How did we make the cut? ABP Global Game Jam 2013: 48 hours on ‘Heartbeat’ Demo posted on Kongregate The game was as much fun to watch as it was to play Picked up by YouTubers – 2M views in 1 week
    7. 7. Acting fast!
    8. 8. Is it real?
    9. 9. Is it real?
    10. 10. 48 days later
    11. 11. It becomes a brand
    12. 12. We do things differently, with bossa
    13. 13. Design WITH your players
    14. 14. Thank you! Roberta Lucca Co-founder, Marketer in Chief @olicca