9 Awesome SxSW 2014 Panels On Gaming & Monetization

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Tomorrow (September 6, 2013 – 11:59 PM CT – to be exact) is the deadline for South by Southwest’s panel selection process, so we dug through the submissions to seek out interesting content in the gaming and monetization space. There’s plenty of stuff for startups, consumer apps, and social web topics every year, but the selection when it comes to more niche interests is pretty thin.

Check out these sessions focused on games, growth, and monetization and cast your vote before the polls close!

MONETIZE FREE, Creative to Creepy Business Models

This discussion’s presented by Graeme Waitzkin from frog design, a worldwide firm that crafts seamless user experiences for large brand clients. Anyone interested in the intersection of new technologies (particularly wearables) with monetization might find this session interesting.

What are some successful and disastrous examples of attempts to monetize user experience?

It’s likely to focus on bigger brands and consumerism, but sure to include nuggets that apply to almost every developer concerned with revenue models, design, and user experience.

Candy Crush Saga’s Recipe for Sweet Success

Anyone building games is well aware of Candy Crush’s meteoric rise to the top of charts, and this presentation from Tommy Palm, Mobile Guru at King.com should prove enlightening as to their success. The presentation promises to outline the pitfalls, lessons learned and best practices accumulated along the way to success while answering gamer’s and developer’s questions about the intricate details around the music, voiceovers, gameplay dynamics, automated hints, characters, power-ups, tips and tricks, and more.

Palm did a presentation at Casual Connect worth catching if you missed it:

From Making Apps to Making Money

Everyone knows that getting an app in front of a large, engaged audience is challenging in-and-of itself, but how do you parlay app success into a viable business?

The biggest single challenge facing the developer of a successful app: generating a sustainable revenue base from which to grow a business.

Robin Thurston from MapMyFitness will discuss the merits of various app monetization strategies, including paid apps, in-app purchases, subscription services, advertising and sponsorships.

Minimum Viable Metrics for Free-to-Play Games

This session’s organized by industry expert Eric Seufert and should include a ton of helpful information on using data to drive product decisions for free-to-play games. His focus on retention, engagement, virality, and monetization is obvious throughout his blog, but this will be an in-person chance to discuss component metrics and how to analyze them.

Check out Eric on a recent Casual Connect panel about user acquisition:

Social Whales: Understanding a New Kind of Player

Most developers consider whales in isolation, aiming to quantify and increase their LTV. This presentation posits the idea of “Social Whales” – influencers within a game that attract new players and keep others around.

Measuring and harnessing that value has massive implications for smarter user acquisition (how to use funnels to get more social players), monetization (how to reach players through influencers) and smarter retention strategies (how to retain the influencers and, by extension, their friends).

Dmitri Williams from Ninja Metrics claims they have evidence that up to 25% of spending in free-to-play games is attributable to these Social Whales, so should be interesting to see him try to convince you of that.

The New Social Gaming World – Challenges & Success

This panel focuses on the new landscape that developers face as they compete for attention and revenue.

Panelists from indie studios will discuss key factors that leading private gaming companies have utilized to build, grow and sustain revenue, and how models such as free-to-play, virtual goods sales and in-app advertising have worked in the new world and economy for mobile and social game developers.

What does it take to build a mobile game that quickly grows and keeps its players engaged and committed?

They’ll also debate the merits of building for different platforms like mobile, social, or otherwise.

Learning From the Space Between Digital and Paper

Indie developers exploring game design from paper to digital – what’s not to love?

This panel includes insight from Austin natives George Royer from White Whale Games and Adam Saltsman from Semi-Secret Software and should be a very interesting look into the design process they’ve gone through while creating all kinds of games.

How is designing a digital game different from designing a board or card game? What are some of the things that each type of game development may teach you about the other?

Cardboard Renaissance: Insights from Board Gaming

We’re experiencing a renaissance of board gaming, and this panel aims to explore this trend in depth.

The cardboard and computer game industries for the most part ignore one another, so here’s a panel of board game publishers (Days of Wonder, Shut Up & Sit Down, Cryptozoic Entertainment, Looney Labs)  diving into the cardboard renaissance and examining the important and revealing differences between tabletop and computer gaming, and looking at what both worlds have to learn from each other in terms of design, marketing, community-building and deeper ideas of fun.

For a primer, check out this incredibly exciting presention about the pace and level of innovation in board games at GameCity last year:

How to Get a Job in the Gaming Industry

Working in the games industry is something a lot of people consider “something cooler people do”, but that’s not actually the case.

In fact the industry has lots of opportunity for new entrants and this panel features four women from Xbox, Ubisoft, DeNA and KIXEYE to break down the mystery of getting into the industry. There are job opportunities not just in design, programming, and art – but for testers, marketing and PR, office culture, trade show coordinators, social media, customer support, creative services, and more.

They brilliantly included last year’s irreplaceable hiring video from Kixeye, which we’re happy to include here:

Vote For Your Favorite Panels Now

There are some awesome panels pitched for SXSW 2014. Voting ends tomorrow so you should head over to the Panel Picker right now and throw some love to your favorites.

Did we leave any out? Drop us a comment and we’ll send a vote their way!

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