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Free to Play is not Free to Build (2012)

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This short presentation was given at the Videogame Economics Forum in Angoulême, France, April 2012. As the game industry moves toward "free to play", it has major ramifications on the game's cost and development strategy. How do we move toward a consistent server-based game experience?

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Free to Play is not Free to Build (2012)

  1. 1. Mark DeLoura – Game Technology Consultant April 6, 2012 – Videogame Economics Forum, Angoulême, France
  2. 2. My background:Mark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  3. 3. Social, mobile, MMO, Free-to-play consoleMark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  4. 4. Mark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  5. 5. Mark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  6. 6. 70.0 • Calibrate against AAA 60.0 • Roughly 1/3 engineering, 1/3 art, 1/3 50.0 other QA • Initial small pre- 40.0 Audio production team Production 30.0 Design • Grows to maximum size Engineering during production 20.0 Art • Tails off at end of project 10.0 - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20Mark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  7. 7. 70.0 • Lack of initial tech 60.0 (internal engine or external middleware) 50.0 requires more QA engineering staff at 40.0 Audio beginning of project Production 30.0 Design Engineering 20.0 Art 10.0 - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20Mark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  8. 8. 70.0 • For DLC, typically60.0 consider approximately 1/3 of maximum staff size 50.0 QA40.0 Audio Production 30.0 Design Engineering 20.0 Art 10.0 - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25Mark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  9. 9.  Smaller scope  Reduced art and design requirements  Rapid launch  Move quickly to production with minimally viable product  Ongoing iteration  DLC plan is replaced with ongoing live updatesMark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  10. 10.  Vast amount of technology required  Scalable server infrastructure  E-Commerce system for virtual goods  Analytics  Launcher/Patcher  CRM, Account system  Community management  Customer serviceMark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  11. 11.  Game framework  Adobe Flash: 58% social  Unity: 53% mobile  Social network  Facebook: 72% mobile  Service technology  Scalable server infrastructure ▪ Amazon Web Services: 55%  E-Commerce system for virtual goods ▪ Facebook, Apple for front-end ▪ Back-end?  Analytics ▪ Kontagent 25% social ▪ Flurry 29% mobileMark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  12. 12.  Core games spike on day one  Core F2P games require care and feedingMark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  13. 13. Mark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  14. 14. Increasing fidelity, team size and project length… Mark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  15. 15. Increasing fidelity, team size and project length – device tech improvingMark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  16. 16. Increasing fidelity, team size and project length…Mark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  17. 17.  PlayStation generation: $2M - $6M  PlayStation 2 generation: $5M - $12M  PlayStation 3 generation: $10M - $25M  Pressure to reduce game development costMark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  18. 18.  Aggregated distribution and marketing  Shared technologies  Outsourced art  Aggregated developmentMark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  19. 19.  The rise of publishers/distributors  Use of open source and services  Other levers:  Technology level  Game depth  Minimum viable productMark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  20. 20.  Cooperation: Rise of publishers/distributors who can provide services  For example, Kerosene Games  Reuse: Rise of middleware and re-use categories  Unity, Amazon Web Services, Raveld  Alternate funding: Funding for content, not platformMark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  21. 21.  “Convergence”, to a server-based experience  Game ships as a universe, with each platform accessing it differently  Varying fidelity and gameplay  Each device is a portholeMark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012
  22. 22.  Contact  Mark DeLoura  mdeloura@satori.org  @markdelouraMark DeLoura Videogame Economics Forum, April 2012

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