Cast for two

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

GDC08: Day 2 : "easy is shit"

The Moscone West building at night where the Game developers conference is held:GDC08 conference in the Moscone West Building

I started the day with the keynote from Nokia titled "Play with Anybody Everywhere - context, the new paradigm for gameplay". He had a couple of interesting statistics concerning the usage by the "mobile technology leaders". Voice is used 12% of the time. Wifi covers a third of the data. 52% is browsing. Browsing on the mobile has become a key experience. He also told that the map is very important as user interface and providing context. So, well done Google Maps ;-) . He shows the manhattan that was made by the Nokia Research center in 2006. It's a combination of webified storytelling and a photohunt combined!

Next talk was a keynote about casual games by Microsoft. The talk was very bad and I left it halfway.

After a skype session with the kids back at home and some work, I joined the casual game tutorial "Refining the casual game". First talk, again by Gabe Zicherman about "The new demographics of casual games". So who is the casual gamer? According to Gabe:

  • 50% female
  • 75% 35-60 year
  • 30% income> 30%
  • 40% college educated
  • 20% retired
Then I joined the talk "Casual games are dead" by Eric Zimmerman. The subtitle was "Long live causal games!". He quoted his uncle with : "easy is shit" hence the title of this blogpost.

In the afternoon, I first jumped in "The paradox of play: the challenge of measuring what game players learn" but left that panel after twenty minutes to go to "Iphone and beyond: a new hope for mobile gaming" by Tom Hubina (who's defenitly is a PC and not a mac). Here's some infoporn about the Iphone:
  • 4 million sold worldwide
  • 95% go online (source: AT&T keynote in Barcelona)
  • 0.17% browser share compared to other browsers combined 0.07% (Source: net applications)
  • Iphone search 50x up (Source: Google)
One of the drawback for making Iphone/touch games is the lack of sound in the browser. A list of games for the Iphone/touch is Apple Web App list.

Next talk was "Wolfquest" by David T. Schaller (eduweb). The subtitle is "Designing a serious game for an unserious audience". The game Wolfquest has been made with Unity 3D and is a wildlife simulation game. The vision is to build a real game, that is addictively fun, that has a realistic 3D world and novel gameplay. What struck me was that a big part of presentation was about "fantasy and reality", probably hardly readable in this picture of a slide:
Fantasy and reality"Striking Gold: How kids' Worlds took the crown" by Paul Vanover (Disney Online), Lane Merrifield (Club Penguin, now Disney), Jason Root (Nickelodeon) and Kyra Reppen (Neopets) (in same order as in the picture)
Panel about kids worldThis was a panel with the people from the "ketnetkicks" of the USA. There was a concensus that it was about "listening to the kids" and about participation in the conversation with them.

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