GDC Next


The Business & Marketing Discipline at GDC Next focuses on the future of games as a business. From ways you can master F2P and even go a different way (crowdfunding? a return to subscriptions?), through the best ways to engage people through marketing, we'll be presenting practical postmortems and inspirational talks to help you plan your future.

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The Story Behind Square Enix Collective
Phil Elliott (Square Enix)
In this session Phil Elliott will reveal more details about the recently-announced Square Enix Collective platform, including the IP that Square Enix will make available for teams to work with, details on launch plans, submission parameters, platforms - plus your chance to ask questions and find out more.Collective is your chance to get game ideas out there in front of the community. Showcase your project pitches, get feedback on your plans and start building momentum behind your game idea with the people who could fund or buy your game directly.If the community supports your idea you could find funding direct from the crowd via Square Enix's partnership with Indiegogo.
Designing Games for Fun and Profit: A Diner Dash Rush Retrospective
Tom Hall (PlayFirst)
Leveraging decades of industry experience and his work in re-inventing the all-time, classic time management game Diner Dash Rush, PlayFirst creative director Tom Hall will illuminate the opportunities and obstacles that developers face in creating clever monetization schemes that don't detract from gameplay, but rather add true value and entertainment for players. Tom will share pointed, insightful details from the development, launch and results of Diner Dash Rush, a modern-day re-imagining of the classic game. These will include an overview of the creative process behind the game, the twin goals of providing exciting mechanics and effective monetization, and the results of this successful collaboration between game design and business.
The Easy-to-Play Model: Developer Friendly, Gamer Approved
Adam Boyes (SCEA)
The impact of digital platforms on the video game industry has been transformative, redefining the ways gamers discover and interact with games, and how developers approach the planning of their next IP. These platforms are enabling new business models like episodic and free-to-play (F2P), which lowers the barriers of entry for gamers by incentivizing them to try something that they might not otherwise play. Once gamers are engaged, this "Easy-to-Play" model offers new ways for developers to monetize through virtual goods, power ups and other DLC. In this session, Adam Boyes, VP of publisher & developer relations at SCEA, will lead an educational session on how F2P has evolved into a viable business model for gaming consoles, provide insight into the engagement and spending habits of F2P consumers, share case studies on how developers have built successful F2P IP on the PlayStation, and explain the ways F2P will evolve in the future on the PlayStation 4. The "Easy-to-Play" model doesn't stop at the way gamers purchase games.
The Evolution of Sonic: Dashing into a Freemium World
Ethan Einhorn (SEGA)
SEGA provides an inside look at how Sonic has grown and developed on mobile, from the initial, one-time download launch of Sonic & SEGA All-Star Racing, to reevaluating business models with titles like Sonic Dash and Sonic Jump. SEGA explores the transition between monetization models, as well as changes made to gameplay, presenting the learnings that have been applied to make a legacy brand successful in a freemium world.
Where the Whales Live: The Pyramid Model of F2P Design
Nicholas Lovell (Gamesbrief)
Is monetization ruining F2P games? Funnel-driven design that aims to filter out freeloaders and squeeze the whales is not an inevitable result of the free-to-play business model. We need to build new models for visualizing how we can incorporate the full breadth of the customer demand curve. The pyramid is a way of putting into practice the goal of free-to-play game design: let anybody access your game, and allow people who love what you do to spend lots of money on things they truly value.
Going from AAA to Indie: New Studio Founders Share Their Experiences
Thor Alexander (Lucky Puppy), Damian Isla (Moonshot Games), Borut Pfeifer (Plush Apocalypse Productions), Paul Tozour (Intelligence Engine Design Systems, LLC), Robert Zubek  
In this session, game industry veterans who moved from AAA studios to found new, independent companies will share lessons and advice on starting out and releasing new games in this quickly evolving market. Panelists will first address the immediate challenges in starting a studio, such as picking business models and platforms, evaluating ideas, seeking funding, and working on marketing and game discovery. During the second half, panelists will look at future trends in the industry, how games and platforms are changing, and what new companies should be anticipating.
App Developers Conference


UBM Tech