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Convergence of Flash Portals and Social Games GDC 2010
What is your platform?
Wrong question.
GAME $ Facebook Portals Mobile SOURCES of CUSTOMERS
What are the best sources of customers?
What are the best sources?
Why is Flash Interesting?
Who is playing? 1.1 billion plays a month CAGR of 22%
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
Middlemen Ad Network Payment Developers Flash Game License Big Portals Small Portal Customers
Middlemen Ad Network Payment Developers Flash Game License Big Portals Small Portal Customers
Middlemen Ad Network Payment Developers Flash Game License Big Portals Small Portal Customers
Middlemen Ad Network Payment Developers Flash Game License Big Portals Small Portal Customers
Middlemen Ad Network Payment Developers Flash Game License Big Portals Small Portal Customers
Middlemen Ad Network Payment Developers Flash Game License Big Portals Small Portal Customers
Fun rating 4 out of 5 Test with real users
First 30 seconds Tutorial Be a Popcap game Deferred login
Deferred login
Surprises Willing to play long games Fine with complexity  Open to paying
3 Distribution scenarios
What happens after 8 weeks? Portal + Viral 3,650,000  Portal 950,000  Viral 11,000
Multiple Portal Releases (40 weeks) Portal + Viral 14,920,000  Portal 3,200,000  Viral 420,000
Facebook Connect
Incentivized URL sharing
Address Book Mining
Email Directly
Competitive Invites
Flash Friendly Payment Services
Leaky Portals Developer  Website Portal Community Free Game Paid Game
Philosophy of Fairness Arcade portal Portal owns outside the game Game Developers owns inside the game (Developer chooses 3rd party services)
Game markets evolve $ $ $ $ $ $ Consolidation Maturity Growth
Developer roles also evolve Consolidation Maturity Growth Contractor Manservant Entrepreneur
Where opportunities exist Flash Portals iPhone Retail Social Networks Console Download Consolidation Maturity Growth Contractor Manservant Entrepreneur
To remain independentDevelopers must own… The means of production The means of acquisition The means of retention The means of monetization
Be an Octopus
Questions Contact: danc@lostgarden.com  Slides: www.lostgarden.com
We build socio-mechanical systems Mechanics Desired Value People
These systems are our core competency $ Retain Monetize Acquire

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Gdc 2010: Convergence of Flash Portals and Social Gaming

Editor's Notes

  1. MakingFacebook games! I’m totally into iPhone these days! What do you think of Android?
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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)
  5. 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)
  6. So this was the perspective I started looking at Flash portals…a source of customers.
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. http://wiki.mochimedia.com/Flash-Games-Market-Survey
  12. http://wiki.mochimedia.com/Flash-Games-Market-Survey
  13. 58% make money from ads. 43% make money from sponsorshipsAs of 2009, only 6% make money from transactions. 30,000 portals
  14. 58% make money from ads. 43% make money from sponsorshipsAs of 2009, only 6% make money from transactions. 30,000 portals
  15. 58% make money from ads. 43% make money from sponsorshipsAs of 2009, only 6% make money from transactions. 30,000 portals
  16. 58% make money from ads. 43% make money from sponsorshipsAs of 2009, only 6% make money from transactions. 30,000 portals
  17. 58% make money from ads. 43% make money from sponsorshipsAs of 2009, only 6% make money from transactions. 30,000 portals
  18. 58% make money from ads. 43% make money from sponsorshipsAs of 2009, only 6% make money from transactions. 30,000 portals
  19. Defered sign-ins work super well.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Habbo Hotel: Achievements tied into existing games
  23. Directly reward playersIM
  24. Kongregate
  25. Not that effective. These meta-game activities that aren’t tied into the core game loop drive only mild virality.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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
  29. My friend Karl Marx
  30. Can you walk away? Can you negotiate?Diversification into new frontiers is critical.
  31. Game in the cloud. Target multiple pools of customersAlways be shifting to find new pools of inexpensive early stage customers.
  32. Side note
  33. 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