Thursday, August 19, 2010

Schelling Out

Here's a video recording of Jesse Schell's recent presentation on game development at the DICE 2010 conference. Schell considers the economics of online games [particularly Facebook games, including the ubiquitous Farmville]. Here's some interesting facts:
FV > T

There are more Farmville players than there are Twitter accounts.

Lead generation is greater than direct payments (first they hook you in, then they hit you up).
Facebook is strange

Facebook is strange when compared to retail economics.

Schell links various "unexpected" aspects of recent games development (the success of Facbook games, plastic add-ons/input devices, "achievements", etc, by referring to psychological aspects--he calls them "tricks"--of game design.

When (drawing on Jim Gilmore and Joe Pines's Authenticity: What consumers really want), Schell goes on to talk about how contemporary culture has an aspect of "reality" or "authenticity" that is designed to allow consumers to believe they can get beyond "the bubble of fake bullshit", I think he's referring to what the Frankfurt School might have called "false consciousness".

This is such interesting stuff you'll want to watch it twice.

Games and platforms discussed include Mafia Wars, Farmville, Club Penguin, Wii, Wii Fit, Guitar Hero, Webkinz.

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