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Develop Day 1: Disrupt & Iterate

July 14, 2010

So day one of the Develop conference in lovely Brighton has come and gone.  It’s been a good day – the first day was entitled ‘Evolve’ and looks at the emerging areas of games; mobile, casual, social and the like.  There seems to be a clear acknowledgement that the new technologies of mobile/social/networked media are creating huge amounts of disruption within the sector.  One speaker said that the changes mean that console no longer dominates – I agree and think this is a good thing as it means more innovation in gameplay and more opportunities.  Example; there is a company who makes games with a social message, Red Redemption – they are making a title ‘Fate of the World‘ about global warming.  They said that they had approached publishers but none wanted the title.  Yet they’ve still managed to raise £1 million to fund the game and the distribution is going to be digital.  Without the networked media, that game (and their business model) would not exist.  (The game does look fun – it’s looks like a Civilisation type strategy game where you can either save the world from climate change or wipe out humanity – 9 out of 10 players go for the wipe out option.)

Popcap (makers of lots of hit titles such as Bejewled and a favourite of mine, Plants vs Zombies) also gave an interesting talk – its main message seemed to be ‘iterate and iterate’.  The company would aim not to make a game, release and you’re done.  But to make a game, release and then iterate and iterate.  Their games were networked so the metrics of the players experiences could be gathered – what features worked and what did not – and they constantly iterated to improve the gameplay (and also to improve the revenue generation).  The figures they gave as to total number of downloads, player sessions at any one time etc were very impressive.

PvZ in action

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