LAGC Nolan Bushnell, AO Huffington Jones Burton, SFIFF Redford Coppola

29Apr09

What a day!  LAGC on a roll, AO Hollywood a few blocks away, and in SF tonight the SF International Film Festival has Robert Redford onstage to screen Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.  (On Friday, its Francis Ford Coppola).   If you’re in SF at 6pm tonight stop by the Castro Theatre for red carpet fun and don’t forget to tweet about it #SFIFF.

Now back to gaming…here’s the rest of the twitter chatter at #LAGC:

SOCIAL GAMING
Nolan Bushnell, Founder, Atari & Chuck E Cheese onstage
First job was managing nonvideo arcades in the 60s
Arcade tokens were the first virtual currency 
Started Atari with $250 of his own money and in 1982 it grew to $2B annual sales
Could not get any of the engineers to take Break Out seriously..
put Steve Jobs and Woz on it
Favorite game is Asteroids, something entertaining about breaking rocks.
The movie Atari, starring Leo DiCaprio as Nolan Bushnell due out 2010. 
Biggest regret, turning down Job’s offer to buy 1/3 of Apple for $50K in the 80s.
Advice:  Don’t do what everyone else is doing.
On innovation:  go to all kinds of trade shows, I’ve been to carpet conventions
Next:  reinventing schooling to change the world, move beyond the classroom, gets rid of the classroom and uses video games in the curriculum with teacher as mentor, batch processing kids is wrong, the most interesting thing in town for kids must be the learning environment, today school is not.
The number of jobs created by Bushnell’s innovations comparable only to George Lucas
Blog with major magazine is in stealth mode right now
If the word in the 70s from the movie The Graduate was plastics, the word now is bioimplants

VIRAL GAMING
with Facebook and MySpace execs
Facebook at 200mm has a larger audience than the tv networks, 60mm players every month for top games in Facebook
Dan Yue, Playdom talking about Magic the Gathering, virality transcends games across all platforms, trading cards..
Gamasutra on The Social Network Game Boom
What works on MySpace:  enables self-expression, interact with friends, discover new entertainment
4g for consoles…or games on tv via wifi..Verizon launching 4G next year, big news for mobile gaming
ultimately people will expect their gaming experience to have the same features/functionality as their social media experiences
virtual goods allow conspicuous consumption in social games which don’t monetize, gamers buy virtual goods to show off to their friends, monetize social games not from display but from virtual goods and game advancement
 5000 games on Facebook, long tail games not in the top ten but still do well
Playfish is the most innovative social gaming company in terms of the new age of in-game advertising, half their revenue comes from performance marketing
the key shift will be from social activity on the social network to social activity everywhere
marketers need to adapt to these emerging social environments with the advent of social based promotion 
FB connect so far has focused on media partnerships like CNN and Variety, expecting to see FB on Pogo or Steam soon
 Competitive gaming is completely undeveloped in the US, nobody has opened that market yet, CGS failed but not due to demand.
Games evolving toward lifestyle and everyday experience, use of music/videos/photos big driver
connected with friends on Facebook who have Xbox but not connected via Xbox

VIRTUAL WORLDS
Difference between social network and virtual worlds is one you are you and the other you are not (avatar), lines blurring, graphics matter but not 2D v 3D, must be good and appropriate to the demographic, Stardoll is 2D intentionally, users are artists, letting them bring their art inworld is really important
Opportunity for digital to provide more measurement of ROI and value to advertisers, standards are needed, most people can’t create 2D artwork but they can tweak 3D art if you give them the right tools
MMOs based on virtual goods may gravitate toward whale model, a small number of users supplying a huge share of $$$
Stardoll-#1 traffic driver to DKNY and Kohls.com but this doesn’t translate immediate online sales, but builds awareness.
Need standard engagement metrics for virtual worlds
(tweets urging clicks on www.gamezombie.tv

MMOG/GAMES OF TOMORROW
MMOs interesting to Best Buy, good dynamic friction of individuality and needing to belong to something new, commit more time to MMO than regular game, becomes part of your life so you’ll invest in the avatar and your experience, characteristic of a great game, simple to understand, hard to master, MMOs not just big in Asia, Gameforge has 75mm users in Europe.  US falls behind in MMO audience because gaming is perceived as an underground thing here, that’s changing, MMOs will see the biggest growth when they bridge the PC and real world.  Cross gender gap of traditional MMOs are the social aspects of the games.  Games blowing into all aspects of our lives, being able to play as yourself accelerates merger of real and digital life.  Challenge is how to create a game women would want to play…just invite them, pink and fairies does not a women’s game make, there is no magic spell…congrats to Sony Online for FreeRealms…
(word of the day is freemium)

CASUAL GAMING
Dave Roberts, PopCap – Bejeweled Blitz has over2mm active users in less than 4 months on FB
sustainable game ecosystem – great games, leverage social, deploy to all platforms, luck
Deloitte – half of women viewing gaming as an important entertainment source
King.com user priorities, play games, meet people, win money – focus on user experience 
most expensive casual game for purchase – Rock Band – some tweeter spent over $700 on it
playing games on mobile is less than 10% and has not changed since last year
brand integration and cross media promotion taking casual games to the next level, pricing pressure on downloadable games $19.99 and falling
MTV Addicting Games says music is a huge part of their tween focused games, next wave music promo in action
will we see more publishers working with home entertainment studios to take their catalog properties into the interactive sphere – Seinfeld 

GENERATION GAMERS
with Y! Games, USA Networks

MARKETING IN GAMES
with EA, Massive (Microsoft)…
advertising in games, scalability=commodity CPA, CPM, challenge is for advertising in and around games to get beyond experimental budgets to the real money, Massive reports suggest upfronts

IPHONE BREAKOUT

DISTRIBUTION
Qualcomm…Zeebo will add 200mm gamers to the industry audience in 3 years

INFRASTRUCTURE
Dave Laux made IBM sound cool in front of video game audience…he’s good!
hardcore gamers have no problem with subscription model

W 4/29 6-11pm
GAMES MIXER

uWink
6801 Hollywood/Highland
FREE

************************************************************************************

ALWAYSON HOLLYWOOD

BTW Just blocks away in West Hollywood, AlwaysOn is wrapping up.  Moderated by Kara Swisher of AllThingsD, panelists included Yahoo Connected TV Patrick Barry and NBCU Marc Graboff contemplated the possibility of a future without network television with content being monetized transmedia across multiplatforms.  To that Swisher replied, “I think my babysitter makes more than Hulu.”  If you couldn’t be there because you were at LAGC or SFIFF or somewhere else, you can catch up via Twitter’s #onhollywood#oh09.  Even the head of Cisco’s Media Solutions Group, Dan Scheinman, admits doing so 🙂  To help you follow the Twitter stream, here is the AlwaysOn OnHollywood Guide: 

M 4/27  
Mitch Berman, ZillionTV presented AO Newcomer award
VC Survey: KPMG on the future of investing in digital entertainment
Greg Johnson, ECD & Head of Digital, William Morris Agency on the future of branded artists

Tu 4/28
Monetizing online video with Shishir Mehrotra, YouTube Monetization
Indie content compete against big budget production/marketing – Marshall Herskovitz, PGA
Artists/labels online, David Ring, UMG, Billy Alvarado, Lala, Quincy Jones, QD3
CEO Showcase:  Daniel Graf, Kyte
VCs funding Hollywood: Richard de Silva, Highland Capital Partners, Richard Wolpert, The Mail Room Fund, Craig Collar, Morgan Stanley, David Cremin, DFJ Frontier
Future of the Theater Experience-IMAX, 3ality, WB International Cinema, NEC
Can the Web Save Journalism:  Arianna Huffington, HuffPo
Vator.TV pane with Kara Swisher, CNET, Topix, Forbes, Buzz Media
Star Power Online:  LeVar Burton with Sybil Goldman, Y! Entertainment
Future of TV:  Kara Swisher with NBC and Y! Connected TV
Innovate or Disappear:  Ross Levinsohn, Velocity Interactive Group
The New Hollywood Studio:  Warner Premiere, 20c Fox TV, Generate, Worldwide Biggies
Financing with Film Angels, FooMojo, Greycroft Partners
Virtual World-Habbo, myYearbook, BigStage
CEO showcase – Flurry
Gaming – Raptr, Gazillion Entertainment
Target Privates – Montgomery, Best Buy Capital, Fandango, WB, Fox, Disney

W 4/29
Bill Gurley, Benchmark Capital, Online Video, Snapshot of a Speeding Train, Tim Chang, Norwest, Woody Benson, Prism, Drew Lipsher, Greycroft,Eric Hippeau, SoftBank Capital
Mobile Monetize Millions – GoTV, Tapulous, PlayPhone, Mozes, INMobile.org
Any Content Anytime – Avner Ronen, CEO, Boxee, Michael Seibel, Justin.tv
CE – Paramount, Sony, LA Times, Kaltura, Mogreet
CEO Showcase – Dan Connors, CEO, Telltale Games
Content Partnering – Endemol, Paramount, View2gether, Eventful, McGhee, Middleshift
IP – Ray De Renzo, CMO, MobiTV, Tyler Lenane, Sr Counsel, RealNetworks
Money & Media with Morgan Stanley
Social Media – IAB, Buzznet, iWidgets, Thisis50.com

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Great cast of characters, but don’t be sad you missed it, there also was musexpo at the London right next door with speakers from EA Games, UMG, Virgin, WB, KCRW, Warner/Chappell, Lionsgate, Geffen, Sony, Snoopadelic, Big Red, and the head of the Recording Academy (The Grammy’s)…  At Content NOW we know there is always something going on, and we’ll post links to the videos once available.  

Next week watch for Digital Hollywood in Santa Monica another five star event with the same crew on the same topics.   See ya then!

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