Gamesforum Seattle 2023

November 1, 2023 - Meric Atesalp

I participated in two great panels during this year's Gamesforum Seattle. I hope to share a summary of those panels in a later post (it's hard to take notes and talk at the same time!) Beyond that, here's some other learnings and new products I discovered:

Russell Ovans of East Side Games talked about pricing adjustments in game SKUs in respect to the Big Mac Index. I've used Assetario in the past for user specific pricing but for small sized devs who want to perform this without other companies (read: extra costs); utilizing Google Play Console for AB testing is the perfect scenario. Basically you adjust country pricing according to country BMI (US is 1.0, so there's no change there, but Philippines is 0.53, so you change 289 peso into 149 peso.) It will take some time, so maybe an idea is to test 30-50 countries first and then go bigger. If your game is overly competitive and multiplayer, however, this might not be the best strategy.

Tiffany Keller moderated a LiveOps panel which had a stacked group of incredible panelists: Marianna Vallejo, Development Director, Homescapes Live Ops at Playrix, Dafna Benn Onn, Director of Monetization of Sciplay, Chris Mears, Monetization Product Manager at Product Madness, Director Live Ops, and Josh Chandley, COO of WildCard Games. The panel touched on how asking for LiveOps resources from leadership is a tough ask. One thing that stayed with me is going with measurable bite-sized request depending on team size: perhaps you start with a LiveOps tool to start with, then a LiveOps manager, later a LiveOps dev. Small wins can lead to larger requests. 

Playrix's strategy not to proceed with any AB tests with less than 5% primary KPI increase was baffling for me at first, but Marianne's perspective made sense. Playrix has a dedicated dev org just for Liveops; if they focus on small wins, that gives them less resources to work on future, larger wins. At the end of they day, even a feature that brought a 3% lift will have maintenance costs. I myself will take a 5% lift and run with it!

There were many non-Product related companies that caught my attention, like ReklamUp, Appvertiser, Digital Turbine, Clearpier, Solsten and Audiomob. On the product front Clevertap seems to have a huge push for Gaming. I've used Leanplum in the past, and it was a robust testing and segmentation tool, but I anticipate that the Clevertap partnership will bring more real-time and analytics capabilities to the product. 

I also got to playtest Yomi Gardens by Pavan Katepalli's Yomi Games, and as a gacha garden management game, it played really well. Another interesting product was Carly Rector and her team's NeonMob, a TCG for art pieces, with no NFT angle. 

I apologize if I've forgotten about any other Gamesforum connection; there was a lot of great talent and insights this year. Next year maybe I should go in with a GoPro and record everything 😅

One last trivia: did you know Call of Duty has to vet every weapon they put in the game so that there's zero connection to existing weapon manufacturers?