Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 2 & 3 at GDC2010 highlights

After the first two summit days it was time to kick the main conference going. Uncharted 2 and social games are in a very big role this year. A love letter to flash = funnies video of Wednesday :)

Playdom people talked at their presentation "Games as a live service: a 360 degree look at the art and science of managing social games" about user generated content and their community building efforts. They highlighted that social features are the best viral features in Facebook such as pick or steal a boyfriend at Sorority Life. Same message came from Zynga, too. Gifting and adopting lonely cows or winning super berries instead of strawberries (top seller items) have been excellent choices. They also talked about choosing colors -- how colors matter when communicating to certain type of an audience (e.g. Mafiawars vs. Farmville).

They highlighted how relevant it is to balance game performance (stability) and new stuff (new features); bugs and features; user feedback and disruption. In Sorority Life competitions people can (and do) create content to the game (virtual items, clothes etc.). In Christmas and New Year, 53% of the revenue came from company generated content and 47% from user generated content. Issues adding stickiness: loyalty features, support features, blogs, fan Pages at Facebook etc.

"Fate of a small social game studio" by Justin Hall was one of the best talks on Thursday. Raph Koster wrote a good summary of Justin's talk. Another nice talk from Thursday was given by Nicole Lazzaro. I have seen her presentation a couple of years back. Basically talking about the same issues aka emotions and fun factors in games. She has quite a bit of data & presentations online as well. According to her, four keys to Farmville success: score, feedback, friendship and reward.

Game development fund. The Mochi GAME Developer Fund is a $10 million fund that will help promising Flash and social game developers support their games through sponsorship, licensing and publishing deals.

IGF winners:
Monaco won top honours at the Independent Games Festival 2010.

PlayDead's platformer Limbo (Go Denmark!) was multi-award winner, earning Excellence in Visual Art and Technical Excellence. Closure Team's puzzle platformer Closure was recognised for Excellence in Audio. The Direct2Drive Vision Award was given to Press Play's Max & The Magic Marker (Go Denmark!) , and the Audience Award was claimed by Heroes of Newerth by S2 Games.

The renamed Nuovo (Innovation Award), which honours unconventional game development, went to Cactus for puzzle game Tuning. Best Student Game went to Ragtime Games' platformer Continuity and IGF Mobile Best Game went to Tiger Style's Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor.

At the Game Developers Choice awards this year’s big winner was Uncharted 2, which walked away with a total of five nods. Check out the video for more.

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