GDC Europe Roundup: Social, Mobile, and Wooga’s Message to the Masses
Editor’s Note: We’re not at Game Developers Conference Europe this week, but there’s lots of news coming out of the show, so we’re bringing you the highlights from the social and mobile games industry perspective.
Wooga Talks Social Games Appeal — Wooga CEO Jens Begemann explains the appeal of social games. He states that social games are looking to turn gamers into “FarmVille farmers,” but should instead seek an audience outside the subset of traditional gamers. Social games allows users to become absorbed into a world without a multi-hour time investment, at a low cost, and with a negligible learning curve.
Begemann also points out other elements of social games. For example, he notes that monetization through virtual items actually shows the most revenue in terms of speeding up game play: “Time is money even for social/casual players.” Additionally, he highlights the interaction levels between users: “Social games are parallel play. People want to play for themselves. Sometimes, they may walk up to the other and either help or destroy what the other has been doing.”
Richard Garriott: Mobile & Social Are “The Future of Games” –Game designer and founder of social developer Portalarium gave the final keynote address at GDC Europe in which he recaps the single player and MMOG eras of gaming. He also notes that playing with friends through social and mobile games is now the most rapidly evolving and important space for the games industry.
These games are free or cheap to acquire, easy to learn, and allow users to play with real world friends asynchronously, on their own time. Additionally, while early social and mobile games were “too simple,” the player base is growing to accept more and more complex activity.
i-Jet Media Unveils New Social Games Platform — During the Social Games Summit at GDC Europe, i-Jet Media revealed its new i-Jet Connect social platform. The platform is intended to consolidate social game development solutions and features the ability to quickly publish titles to both global and local social networks, manage traffic, and incorporate brand advertisements.
Papaya Mobile Tips on Social-Mobile Games — Papaya Mobile’s Oscar Clark spoke on design social games, providing ten tips on creating a successful social-mobile game. Highlighted by PocketGamer, the top tips include treating a game like an evolving service, analyzing what types of players are looking for what types of rewards, and ensuring that all users (free, paid, and “whales”) all equally enjoy the game in the way that they play it.
Ideal Time for Mobile Mergers and Acquisitions — It is the perfect time for mobile game studios to consider mergers and acquisitions, says Tim Merel of investment bank Digi-Capital. Though he states that merging or selling one’s company is not always the right choice for everyone, he does point out that global investments are not only accelerating, but that the mobile space is currently one with no truly dominant presence, yet is quickly expanding.
Public Funding — The independents of Yacine Salmi and Alexander Zacherl discussed a few interesting ways to acquire public funding for games development. As highlighted by Gamasutra, the big point made is that developers can find funding from non-game related funds for things like art or research (e.g. for a game engine). Doing so is advantageous, as it reduces exposure should a startup fail, but at the same time, developers do lose a bit of their independence.
Hot on the heels of GDC Europe is Gamescom, which kicks off today in Germany. Stay tuned for a roundup of social and mobile gaming news out of that conference.