It was a busy week but another Casual Connect Seattle is in the books!
As always, we had a great time catching up with friends and former colleagues and making new connections. We also came away with a lot of intel – more via hallway conversations than through sessions, naturally – which we’ll be bringing to bear on our upcoming mobile social projects.
Read on for links to all our lecture write-ups from the week and some highlights:
- Emerging Platforms
- Designing Original Games
- What Sells in Big MMORPGS and Why
- Designing Core Loops
- Learnings from Shadow Cities – What is the Successful Recipe for Location Based Games?
- Platforms and Publishing
- Applying Hardcore DNA to Casual Games
- Newbie to Big Spender: Understanding the Player Lifecycle
- Magic Numbers: The wooga Way of Retaining Users
From these lectures, speaking with friends, and seeing the makeup of booth attendees, here are our takeaways:
- There is a general feeling that social players are ready for more complex experiences than “harvesting mechanic” games like Farmville that have dominated the space until now
- While hidden object, casual arcade and no-money-out casino games are some of the hottest genres on Facebook right now, Facebook says games in categories such as sports, async casual and core are the next frontier in terms of growth drivers.
- Lots of growth to be had in the emerging core social mobile market, where traditional gaming demographics are warming up to trying out new experiences. Of course whether or not this happens on the scale Facebook desires is up for debate.
- VCs were nearly unanimous in declaring the social bubble “done” and crowning mobile as the most fertile field for new growth.
- Android, however, has become nearly as hard to develop for as back in the old featurephone days. Platform fragmentation, coupled with lower ARPPU on Android, mean supporting the platform is usually done mostly for the network effect – giving iOS players opponents with whom they can play – rather than the financials on their own. Ad-supported Android ports are the norm.
- Synchronous online games are an exciting new direction being quickly explored
- The tablet is clearly seen as the “next console”
- GREE continues to make a big push for domination in the West – they had a very strong presence all week and just announced a new studio in Vancouver
- Discoverability on mobile is still a big concern – whether or not platform holders want to fully address this is debatable as the current system keeps discovery in their hands
- The social mobile space is maturing in terms of strategy – rather than “monetize ASAP” being the big theme, there was generally more of a long-term focus on retention and building loyalty first
For an alternate take on CC 2012 and the IGDA Summit, check out Thomas Bidaux’s post.