Thursday, May 14, 2015

LA Games Conference 2015 The Business Side of Gaming Part 1

E3 is a month away, but it's relevance didn't leave the halls of the W Hotel on Hollywood. It's importance, still intact, was asked by a part of the audience in the Game Industry Leadership Roundtable discussion. It was one of many panels that this reporter thought would be out of touch with gamers. "Just look at what happened with Steam," a member of the Industry Leadership panel touched based on. They know what's happening in the gaming world, it's their bread and butter. So they know about the games, the players, and the players behind making the games.

You could say a lot of what was discussed was superficial panels and the mentioning of PewDiePie was too much. However, most of it was going over how to make profit in advertising with your games. Amy Monier, VP Business Development of Sending.IO was explaining her company to me. She drew me in with Pac- Man Ghost Key Holders that she devised as promotional items. "What were bringing is consumer rewards to the free to play market," she started to tell me while showing off her services of digital goodies fans could get for playing games, many you can play on the phone.

Amy was among many businesses trying to make money with not the conventional advertising of an ad or commercial. Her company was trying to build a community and connection to customers of games they already played with software that learns to stop bothering someone with e-mails if they don't care for the prizes.

Kelly Connely of Tapjoy was sitting not too far away. "We help gamers make money, " that's we she said, in the most basic of terms of what her company does. Tapjoy recently re-emerged as an analyzation and monetization platform or so I heard from Kelly. It's been around for a while, but you may have not heard of it as it doesn't make the games you play it let's those games makes money so you can keep playing them.

These companies were part of the event alongside panels to help businesses understand the advertising market. Apparently, you need to go through a company called Ten Cents to make it in China; mixed with other panels that were more focused on emerging technology and how they could be profitable or just how to make it with video content.

Future or Fad? The Great Debate on Virtual and Augmented Reality Gaming & Entertainment was one of those panels on technology. Much discussion on  how both are still so new that it's hard tocapture advertising on the platforms. It became more of a panel on what-if's and what is possible. Interestingly enough, many of the panel somewhat condemned the idea of a virtual reality arcade as news of one under development in Utah has just come out. Pete Mauro, Producer, Global Innovation said, "How can people come together...,". He and others argued in the panel about how you physcially look wearing current VR, as it stands now it's better for home use, same goes for Augmented reality, so said much of the panel. Dan Murray, President of Skybound Interactive. said, "It will be location based events," when it came to the use of VR and AR, sort of a tie breaker of outdoor use. "Nathan Burba, Co-Founder & CEO, Survios brought up the use of a subscription model for VR as a way of games or experiences to be profitable, selling one title seemed like a small chance of making it to him. His thoughts on VR outside were not hot, "At what point does virtual reality become cool?," Nathan continued as his pointed to his phone indicating that something as small as that needs to control outside VR experience.. "We're safe at home," he added.

Later Dan asked, "Will it replace TV's?" Many on the panel though AR would, but not for some time. And the case of AR and VR bounced around like that.

Jinsoo An, "Experience Designer", Deutsch LA was by far the strangest or outgoing of the panel. He brought up his idea of the use of AR for tasting, well out of the technologies limits currently. He said, "We have to create experience beyond games, " a fair point. He followed it with "...super heroes are trans-humans," ideas with other ideas better spouted in comic books and in fiction than talking about the real world applications of AR and VR at it's beginning phase of being commercial. Then he gave some sort of half-hearted sell on letting people who couldn't swallow taste food with what he was trying to accomplish. 

Peter Levin, President of Interactive Ventures & Games, and Paresh Dave, Technology Reporter, LA Times joined them on the panel.

more to come in part 2