10.00 – 10.45: OPENING KEYNOTE: Cutting Edge Creativity: Bossa Studios’ Roberta Lucca
Interview by Mark Sorrell, Game Consultant
Bossa Studio’s cult hit Surgeon Simulator neatly (or more accurately bloodily!) encapsulates the company’s take on games. It’s innovative, irreverent, and there’s a focus on fun over convention. Similar values have informed the studio’s first three years as a working developer, too, and also its novel approach to marketing. Yet there’s clearly method to the madness, with Bossa winning awards including a BAFTA and plenty of fans and industry admirers. Join Bossa co-founder Roberta Lucca to hear how her company puts experimentation and company-wide game jams at the heart not only of its game design process but rather its entire workflow. And discover what it’s like to work in an environment where gamers really do make the games.
10.45 – 11.30: The Top 5 Mistakes in Free-to-Play, and What to Learn from Them
Jessica Sachs, Director of Developer Relations, Big Fish
What should developers and publishers know when creating successful free-to-play product? As the producer of Big Fish Casino, a 2013 top-ten grossing app across iOS according to Apple, Big Fish has done many things right, but some things wrong. Jessica Sachs will cover not only what Big Fish did right, but also what they did wrong and what they learned as a result. Drawing from successful free-to-play Big Fish games, such as Fairway Solitaire, Big Fish Casino, Found, and more, Jessica will present case studies that show the 5 most common mistakes in free-to-play and the business model’s best practices, including ways to improve monetization, what metrics to focus on and planning for the right amount of content.
11.30 – 11.45: Coffee Break
11.45 – 12.30: Why Put a Player-to-Player Economy into Your F2P Game, and How?
Vili Lehdonvirta, Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University
A crucial part of many F2P games is the economy: the production, allocation, and consumption of virtual resources, and their monetization through in-game purchases. Most F2P games today, especially on the mobile, feature a single-player economy, in which trade, investment, and gifting are not allowed between players, or they are allowed under such restrictive terms that the effect on the overall economic experience is negligible. In this talk, I will argue that this represents an untapped opportunity. A player-to-player (P2P) economy, when done correctly, can deliver significant benefits to a title, ranging from increased engagement and retention to better adapting to players’ diverse interests. I will also discuss the drawbacks of having a P2P economy, and introduce the basics design choices involved in creating such an economy.
12.30 – 13.00: Jelly Splash: How to Puzzle, Amaze and Reach the Top of the App Store
Florian Steinhoff, Product Lead, Wooga
The match 3 puzzle genre is almost as old as it gets. Scour the App Store and you’ll find hundreds of different varieties out there. Very few of these succeed however, and even less manage to hit the number one spot on the U.S. Apple App Store top download chart. Wooga’s Jelly Splash managed to do just that, and in this session Florian Steinhoff, the creator of Jelly Splash, will give a detailed account on how his team managed that and what he learned throughout the development process. Florian will give insights into managing difficulty curves, striking the right balance between skill and luck for a mass market audience, and how to rewards players for special achievements, or what he calls “f*** yeah!” moments.
13.00 – 14.00: Lunch
14.00 – 14.45: Market Opportunities for Free to Play, its Business Models and Investment
Nick Parker, Founder, Parker Consulting
An overview of the addressable market for free to play games highlighting current opportunities and future trends with an examination of business models and sources of funding across the globe. This session will set the scene for the conference and provide key market dynamics, business model and investment take aways as well as examining potential longer term market disruption.
14.45 – 15.30: Gamifying Games – The Curse and Promise of F2P
Volker Hirsch, Founder, Blue Beck
F2P has changed the mobile game industry and is geared to changing the rest, too. There is a lot of “evil” in there: £59.99 IAP for casual games is outrageous, or is it? F2P invokes connotations that can be both extremely good or extremely bad and this poses previously unknown challenges to game designers and “suits” alike: how do you design games that delight and appeal without ripping off? Discuss…This talk will give delegates a much clearer understanding of what it takes to deliver value and avoid being seen as a rip-off. It will highlight the requirements to maintain a functioning value system in a F2P world.
15.30 – 15.45: Coffee Break
15.45 – 16.30: Success is Possible in BRIC Markets – Here’s What You Need to Know
Tim Nilsson, Managing Director, glipsa
As the F2P Market matures and becomes global many developers are eyeing up the huge potential user base in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) . However to date very few European developers have managed to make significant inroads into these massive but complex markets. Tim Nilsson, Managing Director of glipsa, a leading global performance media agency of digital entertainment is in a unique position to share insights into these markets based on their extensive work in these markets. He will give a succinct low down on the current state of F2P in all these territories looking at local competition, international competitors, market conditions and where the best opportunities lay for western developers. glispa has worked in these markets since 2009 with 250 partners and worked on 800 games so has first-hand knowledge, experience and a wealth of metrics to share and interpret. Tim will share glispa’s learnings based on these experiences and recommend tactics and strategies for developers hoping to break into BRIC markets.
16.30 – 17.15: Monetizing Your Entire Player Base: Whales, Dolphins, Minnows and Beyond
Elizabeth Priestman, Exec VP, Fuse Powered
Ben Huxley, Director, Publisher Relations, Fuse Powered
Publishing freemium titles has become a sophisticated business. Today, the publishers getting the highest ROI on their freemium titles are moving to a more advanced approach of player identification and applied dynamic action. In this session, we’ll share how to gain the deepest and most data rich understanding of your players and their behaviour, and how to develop audience segments accordingly. You’ll learn how to engage and react to each discrete player segment in real-time with A/B testing, targeted notifications, and we’ll highlight how to deliver highly customized, personalized experiences that keep your players coming back. Engage and monetize your entire player base from IAP to ads in a way that delivers the best experience and maximizes revenue from every player.
17.15 – 17.30: Break
17.30 – 18.15: On the Couch with MakieLab
Alice Taylor, Co-founder, MakieLab
Sulka Haro, Co-founder, MaikeLab
Interview by Stuart Dredge, Freelance Journalist
Once, toys were toys, movies were movies – and games were games. Three decades of rampant merchandising ended all that, but video games still resemble a distant peninsula in the children’s intellectual property landscape – somewhere brands journey to for profit, but from where new properties almost never emerge to go the other way. That’s started to change. Rovio’s Angry Birds bestselling plush toys spring to mind – but far more exciting is MakieLabs’ harnessing of 3D printing to personalize DIY doll design. Now CEO Alice Taylor and her gang are working on a free-to-play game that enables young girls to fashion unique digital dolls in a game environment, then get an exact replica through the post, right down to the in-game handbag. Stuart will quiz Taylor and her chief design officer Sulka Haro to hear how they’re meshing bits of plastic and digital bytes to create a brand new business model, and a new experience for an underserved audience of would-be game fans.
From 18.15: Drinks in the bar!