March Must Read (and Watch)

cloudsbulb

March should officially be declared the month of conferences: PAX, GDC, GTC, Strata and MIT’s Business in Games event were just a few of the things on our radar. In such a thick cloud of ideas, it’s hard to really find your way and distinguish information that matters from all the noise.

So we thought to point out some of the nicer inspirational content that has been floating around on the Internet in March for you game analysts, designers and developers.

Finding the Fun at GDC

 

tripletown

Don’t let the big eyed bear startle you, this game is actually fun

First stop, GDC. Although The Games Developer Conference is still in progress, there is already a lot of interesting GDC related discourse that you should look out for. For example, you should read Spry Fox‘s (known for Realm of the Mad God and Triple Town) advice on designing and monetizing free-to-play games that are genuinely fun. David Edery, CEO of Spry Fox, reveals:

We spent six months banging our heads against a wall even though the warning sides were there. We should have set a timer, but we didn’t, because we were so enamored with the [core mechanic]. Falling in love with your ideas can definitely hurt you the most.

It’s all elegantly summarized on Gamasutra.

Things seem to be getting even rosier in the realm of freemium, as a study performed by Frank N. Magid Associates has revealed that, unsurprisingly, people prefer not to pay. Now the obvious has been statistically certified. According to their poll, 82 percent of women prefer the F2P model. Meanwhile, 72 percent of men choose games without a price tag. You can read more meatier details on Venturebeat. Also note that the full report will be presented at GDC tomorrow. Personally, we are waiting for the viral infographic.

And if this is not enough, King.com has revealed their recipe for success in the “Candy Crush Saga postmortem: Luck in the Right Places” GDC talk. Unfortunately, it is not yet available online, but details will surely arise, so keep an eye open.

Games are for losers

The Art of Failure

The Art of Failure Book Cover

We have become so used to calling games “fun” or “boring” that we tend to neglect the somewhat painful aspect of video games: for every game we finish, we probably die and restart 1000 times more. Jesper Juul, professor at NYU and video game researcher (“ludologist”),  urges us to view video games differently in his new book “The Art of Failure: An Essay on the Pain of Playing Video Games.”

Failure in games tells use that we are flawed and deficient. As such, video games are the art of failure, the singular art form that sets us up for failure and allows us to experience and experiment with failure.

We recommend Juul’s latest book, which has just been launched, as both a pleasant read and an eye opening experience for any game designer.

The Greatest Big Data Challenge? Video Games

You’d think that the video games industry is indeed only fun and games, but the most complex challenges in data handling actually exist inside video games. In the past ten years, the audience for games has exploded from 200M active users to 1.5B gamers worldwide, with multi-platform games adding an additional layer of complexity. 

If you want to know how the big guys handle this complexity, now you have the chance. At the Strata conference this month, Rajat Taneja, CTO at Electronic Arts, pointed out some tips on improving customer experience with machine learning and predictive analysis. At the same conference, Dave Campbell from Microsoft unveiled the big data secret behind Halo 4. You can watch both videos below. 

That’s all for this month. Stay tuned for more recommendations from GameAnalytics in the upcoming weeks.

About the author

Anamaria Todor

Ana Todor is a Computer Scientist with a playful and literary twist. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Studies. She is currently studying towards obtaining a Master of Science degree in Computer Science, Digital Interactive Entertainment at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

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