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A Conference in Review: Casual Connect Seattle 2012

When you are on the road often, time flies. I can’t believe it has been over a week since I returned from Casual Connect Seattle 2012. This year, in addition to enjoying the gorgeous Seattle summer between sessions and meetings, I noticed a common theme amongst conversations held during the conference.

Customer acquisition and retention, monetization and mobile were the trending terms on the tip of everyone’s tongues.

Let’s talk customer acquisition and retention. “I have a decent base of players, but how do I keep them playing and paying? Then, how do I get them to check out my next game and start playing it?” This and other forms of how to extend customer lifetime value were common questions amongst our conversations. The idea of a customer acquisition strategy based on tapping the existing player base were some of the more intriguing discussions. Using your existing player base as an acquisition channel for a new game can be highly successful if correctly implemented.

I enjoy a good game just like the next guy, but we all know that in the end it is all about revenue. Monetization is key. Questions about cross-platform monetization were huge, as was the great debate between the benefits of using iOS vs. the Android platform and the impact on margins vs. PC versions. In the end, the general consensus amongst savvy developers was leave monetization to the experts. Regardless of business model type, from virtual currencies and microtransactions, to freemium and subscription, most of the developers I spoke with are starting to realize doing it all in-house isn’t optimal. They know that they want to focus on building games, however, just building a game and hoping it will do well isn’t enough. Figuring out how to get people to play, spend money, bring their friends to play and keep playing is key to building online revenue. More developers are deciding to focus their attention on doing what they do best, and are seeking out companies, like Vindicia, to tackle the other less glamorous aspects of the gaming business, like billing and campaign management.

I enjoy a good game just like the next guy, but we all know that in the end it is all about revenue. Monetization is key. Questions about cross-platform monetization were huge, as was the great debate between the benefits of using iOS vs. the Android platform and the impact on margins vs. PC versions. In the end, the general consensus amongst savvy developers was leave monetization to the experts. Regardless of business model type, from virtual currencies and microtransactions, to freemium and subscription, most of the developers I spoke with are starting to realize doing it all in-house isn’t optimal. They know that they want to focus on building games, however, just building a game and hoping it will do well isn’t enough. Figuring out how to get people to play, spend money, bring their friends to play and keep playing is key to building online revenue. More developers are deciding to focus their attention on doing what they do best, and are seeking out companies, like Vindicia, to tackle the other less glamorous aspects of the gaming business, like billing and campaign management.

In the end, some themes from Casual Connect remain pretty consistent, like customer acquisition and retention strategies in today’s digital economy. I always find it enjoyable to share my knowledge with developers about how Vindicia can help them successfully address those key issues. It is also always interesting to see and hear what new hot topics will be thrust into the spotlight. Right now, that spotlight is on mobile gaming. I can’t wait to see what the next development will be.

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NYT: Digital Content, Subscription Billing and Customer Acquisition

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