Posted tagged ‘games’

Kamu Town live

March 20, 2010

Kamu Town logoKamu Town, our latest social game on Facebook, is starting to take off on Facebook. Thanks to @fbindie for pointingout, that I had neglected to write about it on my blog (gasp!), so here goes!

We started working on Kamu Town late last year. We wanted to create an “easy fun” game with a distinctive personality and we most definitely wanted to include our beloved Kamus in it. Back then there were no town/city building games on Facebook, so naturally we thought we should have our game in a different genre instead of doing one of crowded farming/pet/cafe genres. Ah, the irony of finding yourself launching into one of the most crowded of the emerging genres on Facebook =).

Not to worry though, Kamu Town is pretty distinctive and we are bringing some pretty unique features to it in the near future that you won’t find any other town/city game (then again, don’t take my word for it, just re-read the paragraph above about my forecasting skills =)).

Have a go and do give us feedback on the Discussions page on Facebook.

Kamu Town screenshotJust building myself a Science Park. That’ll keep my techie Kamus happy!

Kamu World live & Everyplay hiring

August 12, 2009

splash-game2

Last week at ASSEMBLY Summer 2009, Everyplay soft launched a limited feature-set, public beta of Kamu World, our first application on Facebook. More than anything our goal with this launch was to put out a small, but polished application to see what people liked or disliked about it. We intentionally avoided doing press releases or talking to blogs about it, because the application at its current state is just a sneak preview of what’s to come. But we definitely failed miserably on keeping it under the radar as we got covered on Arctic Startup and TechCrunch UK (+ several other blogs) ;-).

So far the response has been very positive – especially for the characters and the art style, which received a lot of love and attention from our art director. It’s great to see people responding well to Kamus!

Even so, I do relate to LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman’s slogan “If you are not embarrassed to launch, you are launching too late” ;-). There is a ton features currently under development and we aim to roll out those in the near future. So if Kamu World piqued your interest, do become a fan on Facebook and we’ll let you know as new features become available.

To get those exciting features done, Everyplay is hiring senior developers on server (Java) and client side (Flash/AS3). If you want to work on cool social games with a pretty kick ass team, do get in touch!

Why HeyZap Coins and Mochi Coins fall short

July 21, 2009

Recently both HeyZap and Mochi Media launched virtual goods platforms for Flash games. In short they allow players to purchase game items with hard currency. Want to kill zombies more effectively? Buy this $0,05/600 Mochi coins double-barrel shotgun! With virtual goods being the “new advertising” as far as internet business models go, why does this effort fall short? Jussi, we thought you loved virtual goods!

Oh yes, I still love virtual goods. There is nothing wrong with the basic premise of the service offered by HeyZap and Mochi Media, but plenty of issues with trying to monetize primarily single player Flash game experiences. It’s the classic “If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is there to see it, does it really fall” problem. I can buy a better shotgun, but without other players, my friends and my rivals , what is the point? Why would I bling out my virtual house if my friend’s can visit? Is there anybody to listen when I boast about my exploits? Is there anybody to best? Anybody to share this experience with?

Due to the nature of the games they serve HeyZap and Mochi Media are currently limited to effectively selling you “cheat codes“. It’s a hollow experience without the social context offered by persistent multiplayer games (e.g. MMOs or social games), and I don’t expect this to save Flash games developers. In HeyZap’s and Mochi Media’s shoes I’d be investing heavily into providing the tools to let Flash developers create these persistent multiplayer experiences (Nonoba is doing it). However, as a Flash developer I wouldn’t wait – I’d jump ship to social games this instant (massive & free distribution, social context, paying customers = the win).

Further reading

Coverage of Social Gaming Summit 2009

June 24, 2009

sgs2009

I’m catching up on the Social Gaming Summit 2009 on the net, and here’s my bounty of news, twitter tidbits and links to further coverage.

Presentations

Blog coverage

Misc tidbits from #sgs09 backlog

These are misc tidbits from the backlog that stuck out.

  • Social Gaming ARPU’s: top games $1-2/month, good FB $0.30-0.40, good MS $0.60-.070
  • Conversions to paying users for social games 0.5% to 1.5% much lower than traditional MMOG’
  • Greg Tseng/Tagged: The most important social network conversion rate is # of monthly users that become daily users look closely at conversion from monthly active to daily active — and see 50% as a gold standard.
  • Jia Shen/RockYou – 5-7% of daily returning users is good (discounting promos), Shukla – RPGs can see 40%
  • Panel on retention/acq: use FB and provide free virtual goods at a staggered pace to bring user pack to app/game
  • Jia Shen/RockYou: Vanity URLs help with branding and discoverability in Facebook. Finding apps is still hard
  • Simplest thing for retention is to give incentives or alerts at a specific amount of time. Mafia Wars’ alert says New Jobs available
  • jnusser/vindicia: in RMT, friendly fraud 100x real, malicious fraud
  • Women, 34 to 50 in the US is the best audience you can get for monetization
  • Jia Shen/RockYou: FB retention is easier. Nobody uninstalls apps, devs can always try to reingage. MS has signif churn on apps
  • Jia Shen/RockYou: News feed momentum is important metric for distribution that is overlooked now. The reciprocation must happen quickly
  • Jia Shen/RockYou – the new FBook redesign is creating the same engagement growth as FB had during prev peak… but less spammy
  • Super Rewards: Free-mium social game monetization rates ~5% of users playing on any given day.
  • Zong: Fraud chargeback rates often in 5% range. Developers usually very happy with 1-1.5. Paypal: greater than 0.5% a concern
  • Virtual goods business in China is worth $4.5-$5Bn this year. Many games have over 1 million concurrent users
  • Playfish:5 weeks ago, we launched RestaurantCity with no cross promotion & grew to 5M users.
  • MySpace interesting stats: 70MM monthly in the US, 30MM are active app users
  • Playfish sold 20 million christmas trees and ornaments mirroring social behavior in real world
  • Zynga invested $2mil in guild of heroes. Seems kind of high!
  • on FB, there are 100 games with 100,000 players 30 games by 1 million, 3 games with 10,000,000 games
  • Zynga: Building social capital can go beyond your real friends” – Pincus; but 70% of the time you log into Poker, a ‘real’ friend is there
  • Playdom sold $100K worth of virtual pink Volkswagon’s on Sorority Life in 2 days
  • Keys to a successful social game by Mark Pincus at Zynga: 1) real friends, 2) self expression, 3) stored value
  • Zynga (Pincus) games have to give you 1) feeling of playing with friends, 2) social outlet, expression 3) invest in game
  • 3rd secret to Pincus – buy items (i am paraphrasing). Result is that players has social capital. Pincus is master of buzz words
  • 2nd secret: Pincus from Zynga – social games must be playground for your personality. Express yourself (channeling Madonna)
  • 1st secrets:  Pincus:  Games must appeal to your friends
  • A pillar of social game is to invest in game over time and give players a sense of value. This is why virtual goods are valued.
  • Design games as objects of social interaction, you get the benefit as a user of inviting your friends into the game
  • game themes (pets, farms, restaurants) in top 10 apps – starting to mirror the over 35 crowd (similar to casual games)

Read the full backlog via Twitter search

Speaking at Nordic Game 19th – 20th May

May 15, 2009

nordic-game09

Nordic Game is the premier nordic game developer’s conference, now on its fourth year. It has been going from strength to strength and last year was an exceptionally good year with great presentations, excellent networking and a nice, tight-knit feeling to the whole event.

Last year I had a chance to participate at a panel on emerging trends, and I was very delighted to be invited back  to speak again this year. My presentation on How to start a game a company at Casual Connect Europe 2009 got tremendous feedback, and I’m happy to presenting an updated version of it at Nordic Game on Wednesday 20th of May at 14:45.

I’m also participating in the “Art of the Deal” panel on Tuesday 19th at 13-15 o’clock . This is about pitching game concept to game publishers, but I hope to bring into the discussion what I’ve learned and experienced from pitching to VCs.

If you are at the show, come and say hi!

At Game Developer’s Conference 23rd – 29th March

March 19, 2009

gdc09

The Game Developer’s Conference is the event for game developers. I thought I could take a break from going this year as GDC’s focus is mostly “traditional” game development (consoles, PC etc), but I couldn’t resist the siren’s call after all ;-). Personally it is going to be primarily about meetings and networking, and hanging out with fellow game developers.

The most relevant stuff for Everyplay is in the Worlds in Motion summit held on Monday and Tuesday. I especially look forward to Raph Koster’s kickoff for the summit – his presentations are always thought provoking. It’s too bad that I’ll miss the Tuesday sessions of Worlds in Motion summit, as I’m going to be VentureBeat‘s GamesBeat 2009 event).

A couple of friends are also presenting at GDC. Check out e.g. Adam Martin’s, Sulka Haro’s, Petri Purho’s, Matt Swoboda’s and Thomas Bideaux‘ presentations.

If you are at GDC or in downtown San Francisco, and would like to meet during the week, drop me an email at jussi dot laakkonen at nospam-gmail dot com.

Games at the Parliament

October 15, 2008

Neogames, The Association of Finnish Game Developers and FIGMA hosted an overview event on the Finnish games industry for the Members of the Parliament today. I had the privilege to participate, to talk about the origins of the Finnish game industry and the challenges it faces and naturally demo FlatOut to members of the parliament.

Riku Olkkonen from FIGMA and KooPee Hiltunen from Neogames gave an introduction of the industry:

  • In the year 2007 the Finnish game studios’ revenues totaled roughly 80 M€ and a total of 60 studios employed roughly 1000 persons in Finland and a further 300 abroad
  • In the year 2007 approximately 2,4 million game products were sold in Finland, which is the same figures as the number of people who went to movie theaters to watch movies
  • Only 4% of games sold were classified as for people at least 18 years old, while games rated for ages 3+ up amounted to over half of all games. Finland uses the pan-European PEGI ratings system.
  • Lack of education was highlighted as the key issue slowing the industry’s growth in Finland. Roughly 20-40 people graduate every year while the industry would employ around 150 people every year

There were a number of questions from the members of parliament including how piracy affects the industry (lots on PC, not really on consoles) and if the broadcasters/media houses interest in delivering content over multiple devices for one license fee affects games like it does movies or music (it doesn’t as games are tied to the hardware they run on).

Naturally, we had the time to also play! We had the Finnish-made FlatOut Ultimate Carnage from Bugbear, Golf: Tee It Up! from Housemarque and Reset Generations from Red Lynx on display as well as Wii Fit, Guitar Hero 3 and Grand Theft Auto 4. Member of parliament Eero Lehti made a very happy camper after he told me that he owns and plays FlatOut Ultimate Carnage. YEAH!

Wii Fit proved easily to be the most popular game at the event, with almost everybody wanting to try it. Pertti ‘Veltto’ Virtanen who had previously coached ski jumpers found himself very much at home playing Wii Fit’s ski jump as you can see below.

Guitar Hero 3 was also very popular. In addition to the members of parliament playing, I also challenged Housemarque’s Ilari Kuittinen to a couple fun matches (it was very close, so we need a re-match!). Rock’n’roll is very much alive even at the house of parliament ;-).

Overall it was a great opportunity for the industry to share information with key decisions makers in a fun and engaging way. Props to Riku Olkkonen and Koopee Hiltunen for organizing the event!