Category social games

What if I’m not solving a problem?

A lot of customer development language revolves around ensuring that you are solving a real problem, and the right problem. But what if you aren’t solving a problem? Lean startup principles still apply to games and entertainment apps. You have the same things to validate: user experience and an understanding of your value, who your… Continue reading

Entertainment or Utility? (more on gamification)

Several years back, over beers one evening at GDC (Game Developers Conference), I debated design principles with Bernie Yee, my colleague at Electric Sheep who had previously worked at Sony (Everquest) and at Harmonix (Rock Band). He argued that any product had to choose between being an entertainment property or a utility.  There are a… Continue reading

Are Game Dynamics Jumping the Shark?

AdAge today asks “What’s saving the current crop of virtual games from becoming the next Second Life?”, with their answer being game dynamics. I am a huge believer in the power of creatively designed incentives and game-like compulsion loops, but I suspect enthusiasm for badges, levels and points have hit “fad” and “over-reliance” territory.  Foursquare,… Continue reading

Why do people buy virtual goods? (on motivations and compulsions)

Virtual goods have finally been legitimized as a revenue model, rather than a niche (even weird) activity ignored in favor of advertising. Now the concept is spreading beyond its game / virtual world roots, and we’re seeing large numbers of companies trying to figure out a “virtual goods” strategy. While I believe very strongly in… Continue reading

Casual games companies and the transition to Facebook

My last post commented on GamesBeat’s articles from Casual Connect, which touched on the challenges old casual game leaders are having with the new world of social games / social networks.  Inside Social Games just posted about PopCap bringing Zuma to Facebook (as well as letting players use Facebook Connect on their own site). A… Continue reading