Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, February 28, 2011

GDC Day 1

Day 1
Partway through my first day at GDC, and I'm already finding some very interesting things even without attending any seminars yet. There are a handful of booths outside of the seminar area, and the vendors have some products of great interest for developers. Here's a quick rundown and some initial reactions to what I've seen so far:

kontagent. This is an analytics platform for social application developers, or so their literature says. What it really is: Analytics for marketers, that tells you about the demographics of the people playing your games. Your dashboard can give you data on the age of your player base, and where they are spending time and money in your game.... invaluable data for a marketer attempting to sway judgments on how to proceed with design or business. Probably not going to give you sufficient good info unless you have thousands of users, but at that point it seems like it's offering data I haven't seen from other analytics programs.

ideasystem. What is it with companies lower-casing their product names? Seems like an affectation to me. Regardless, this is an interesting middleware play: An entire set of tools and back-end support for creating your own social game or MMO. It's a true 3D engine (using the HeroEngine, no relation to any old company of mine) and the package offers free hosting, free billing and free marketing. They take 70% of your revenues, which seems pretty fair considering what they provide. Of course, if you are doing this through Facebook, Facebook takes 30% when people use Facebook Credits, and then ideasys takes 30% of what Facebook gives you. But it's still a pretty good deal for no hosting fees. Their tool set looks pretty robust... If you want to try some innovative game design or setting ideas for an MMO, this seems like a good place to start to minimize your risk. You could get a game to market much faster than building your own back end, and at far less cost. Hey, if the game takes off you could always build your own back end while still booking revenues from ideasys, and then switch over when your back end is built out.

blue noodle. Yet another lowercase name. Makes me want to type IN ALL CAPS. Sheesh. Despite that, it's an interesting idea: you can add a Clickstrip to your social or mobile game, and if the user clicks on it they watch a high-quality video ad. Why would the user do this? You give them an in-game reward... more smurfberries or the equivalent. Advertisers know they get a user to actually watch an ad. So you get more money with a different type of ad... this sounds like an interesting way to monetize, assuming they have enough advertisers on board.

adknowledge. OK, everybody is lower case now. I guess there's a new graphics rule for logos I wasn't aware of. Will this be overturned by the Supreme Court? Anyway, these guys have what they bill as the 4th largest advertiser marketplace, and it's a way to monetize your apps with a variety of advertising techniques. Worth a look if you're trying to figure out how to get money for your games, and ads are one way you're considering.

Aside from those vendors, I've had a number of very interesting discussions with a lot of people. This looks to be an excellent show for getting business done, and coming up with new ideas and new twists on business, and finding excellent people to work with.

Tomorrow will be even more interesting...

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