Day two was a blast, more settled down than day one. There was still a morning lull (is that just game developers?) but nothing like the one I expect today...
Marketing and Camp Fu
Rebel Monkey president Margaret Wallace was beaming and generous in her presentation on MMO customer acquisition and retention. Beaming, because she's obviously proud of her company and their efforts (what I've seen looks great, so it's understandable.) Generous, because she really drilled down into their marketing plan and efforts to, well, acquire and retain customers. What was remarkable to me was the level of honesty in what works and what doesn't, and her sharing of numbers for things like churn, bounce rate, and ad performance. Kudos, Margaret, and thank you!
Hothead Pax 'em In
Penny Arcade Adventures developers Hothead Games put on a super session about indie studio creation and management, as well as looked deeply into their episodic model and indicated some future directions. Their transition from the big studio world into a veteran indie group was interesting, and they had wonderful tips for up-and-comers: get on as many platforms as you can to expand sales by 25% (an increase seen by other indie devs as well); look to downloadable content to extend your customer relationship, rather than the somewhat suspiciously received episodic model.
Heard on the streets... OnLive, OnLive, OnLive. Yup, that was about it. Also, there are some good people looking for work out there, the economy has really pressured our industry. I would expect even more indie startups as a result, and think this is the great silver lining in a cloudy sky. It's good for quality of life, families of devs, and the consumer. Hang in there, folks.
You know how that stereotype of MMO players has been debunked recently, the part about them being less social, fit, and sexy? It may not be true for players, but the devs still have some work to do... Aaaaha, just kidding. It was a ton of fun, as the great social lubricant worked it's magic, wallflowers bloomed and any temporary awkwardness melted into a hazy loquacious din, punctuated periodically by unexplained cheers.
The great irony of the alcohol fueled party mayhem is that the noisiest, most crowded, pressured and hectic day of the show is the morning after. It will be interesting today as the main event opens, including the first keynote address and unveiling of the expo floor. Then again, I made one of my best presentations ever on a crippling hangover, so I expect we shall all rise to the occasion and have a great day 3.
Until next time, enjoy the show...