Yes, conference season is firmly upon us and, before I descend into the mayhem that tends to come with it, let me tell you where you can find me over the next couple of weeks.
This week sees London at the centre of a lot of things gaming: the Mobile Games Forum opens its doors on Wednesday in the Hilton Tower Bridge in SW1, which combines with the Social Games Forum. I will be speaking on a panel on “How to engage cross-promotion for social game discovery”.
There is also ICE in town but not the freezing variety but the big gaming (as in proper gaming for money and such) expo over at Earl’s Court, which rolls a variety of gaming-related tracks into this. I will be speaking on a panel on their mobile gaming track with the concise title “Incorporate Social and Mobile to create the Ultimate Modern Gaming Experience”.
Only a little later, on 7/8 February, we will be in Amsterdam for BlackBerry DevCon Europe. It is well worth coming to this to get a glimpse of the “new” BlackBerry and our plans there [disclosure: I work for BlackBerry]. Sign up here and hit me if you are a developer; I have a few discount codes left. I will lead a breakout session on Social Gaming with Scoreloop there.
Onwards to my old stomping grounds in Hamburg from there for the annual European edition of Casual Connect where I will deliver a talk on how BlackBerry will deliver on gaming (yes, you read that right!).
After that, there is a two week (conference) break before heading to Barcelona for the monster that is Mobile World Congress. I’ll be there all week!
Barely a weekend’s rest and the Game Developers Conference (or GDC) opens its doors at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Again, it’ll be a full week for me there.
I hope I will meet you at one of those. Sorry that Asia isn’t featuring in this tour de force this time but, hey, it’s still early in the year, huh?
Image credit: http://gapingvoid.com
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Today, I had the great pleasure to attend and speak at the rather wonderful “Games for Brands” conference in good old London town (held near the Tower of London with some lovely drinks at St. Catherine Docks; need I say more?). Great turn-out, great speakers, inspiring discussions and a lot of catching up with good friends and new contacts.
I have been asked to share my slides, which I herewith do. I hope you find them useful.
Today, I was able to deliver a talk at SXSWi in Austin on my ever favourite subject of mobile social gaming, here for good measure dramatically enhanced and labelled the new frontier . Here are the slides to this:
Earlier this week, I gave a talk at the Mobile Gaming Conference at ICE, the premier i-gaming (that’s gambling to you and I) event in London. Below, you will find the slides to the talk.
Let me outline briefly though why I think that social elements to gaming is something that I find the gaming (as in gambling, real-money gaming, etc) sector should be excited about (and it was hard to tell if many people were; ’nuff said):
“Social” games work if they address or are based upon a community of sorts. This needs to be supported by the game design and its mechanic as well as through tools that actually allow those communal juices to flow (and, yes, that’s what we at Scoreloop are doing and that’s why I am preaching about the subject so regularly). Now, the gaming folks have a lot of this sitting on a big silver plate right under their noses: “proper” gamers, i.e. those who spend money on their pastime, are tied together by that particular passion (this of course equally applies to all those passionate about lost puppies, cows and golden eggs…). For the real-money folks, there is also the billing side to consider: their clientele is used and quite willing to pay, and a billing relationship is often already in place.
The addition of social elements to such “real” games can essentially do two things then:
Cement existing customer base and avoid promiscuity of users
I have been hearing this a lot: users on, say, real-money poker sites often play on multiple sites. This is painful to the gaming operators as they spend considerable amounts recruiting their folks. It is a race to the bottom (of sustainable margins) and the adjustment mechanisms are scarce and largely reduced to bounties and clever marketing. Adding social elements adds that glue that increases the likelihood that players will stay with you. Why? Because they receive value over and above the core proposition: they feel better nestled into their community, which is – albeit a little intangible – real and not only perceived value. Incidentally though, it is also value that is not that expensive to create (cf. above under “margins, low).
Attract new users
Outside the hard core of gamers, there is a whole lot of people who are quite content to play for fun (Zynga Poker still has more active users than most “real” poker sites combined). Funnily enough, Zynga also makes more money with its soft version than a lot of gaming operators do with its real one. This is because a) they tie it into the social graph and b) a lot of users just like to play for fun – but they still spend money, only in more manageable increments.
I suggest that this is a major entry gate for gaming operators to attract new users (though I do not suggest that “hooking” people is something good!). A softer approach that introduces many shades of grey rather than only offering black and white will make it so much more compelling to play, properly or only trying it out and the very folks that are in the prime spot to capture these users (because they have all the experience, background and know-how) leave a lot of money on the table there (pun indeed intended).
But now, without any further ado, here are the slides:
For those of you who like that better, I have also uploaded it to Sribd here.
Sometimes, the good things come quickly and without much fanfare. Tomorrow (that’s 11 November), the Social Gaming Summit will open its doors at the Stamford Bridge home of Chelsea Football Club in London. And I will talk about how to bring the social element into the mobile sphere (and, yes, regular readers of this blog will be rather familiar with my stance on this).
So if you fancy a trip to Fulham to hear from the social games gurus from Playfish, Facebook, Playdom, RockYou, PopCap, etc, etc, please come along (a full speaker list is here). It is a tremendous line-up and should be tons of fun!
I had had the wonderful opportunity to address ForumOxford’s Future of Technologies conference at the University of Oxford yesterday, an event brought to life by Tomi Ahonen and Ajit Jaokar, and that is proving year after year as a fantastic forum for discussion, learning and networking.
The following are the slides to my talk there (yes, I kept the title image of a previous one I held but the deck it is a new one nonetheless). I hope you will enjoy it.
Some weeks ago, I spoke at the most excellent Mobile 2.0 Europe conference in Barcelona (I had posted a slideshow of the slides to the talk). Now the good folks of Dotopen, who organised the event, now made a video of my talk available. After watching it, I will say that one never stops learning . However, perhaps you will enjoy it anyway. Here it is: