11 September, 2007
Last week at the Austin conference, I gave a presentation with Jessica Mulligan entitled, “Emerging Business Models”. We talked about business models in different market, past, present, and future. Here are the slides, a PowerPoint presentation in a zip archive.
More commentary after the jump.
I think the audio for the presentation might be available for sale through the conference. Don’t have a link, though.
Unfortunately, our talk was in the same time slot as Raph Koster‘s talk, so most of you probably didn’t see our talk even if you were at the conference; most of the reviews of the conference online focus on Raph’s talk. Further, the conference organizers stuck the business talks in a tiny room that filled up about 10 minutes before the talk was supposed to start, so some people who wanted to see it still couldn’t.
The main point of our talk is that there are a lot of business models beyond subscriptions. And, these business models aren’t new, even in the North American and European territories. As I’ve said before, subscriptions aren’t the wave of the future, and can actively hold a small-scale game back. If you have questions, post them here and I’ll respond as I can.
It was interesting to go see the keynote talks by Sulka Haro and Min Kim about how the “controversial” microtransaction systems work in their games. You can see some of the select quotes at this blog entry. The quote from Nexon at the bottom is the most interesting, where they are likely making over $2 million per month from microtransactions in the North American territory alone. And, this is just on Maple Story, not on their wildly successful Kart Rider game, which is coming to the U.S. later this year. I think this is really another “UO moment”, where you have a game (or games in this case) that are overlooked and written off, but that are doing spectacularly well. Really, I think these two keynotes put the “debate” to rest: it’s now painfully obvious that microtransactions work in North America.
It’s also interesting to hear people talk about there being “two conferences”: the traditional MMOs vs. the web upstarts. I think this distinction is probably as silly as the “text vs. graphical games” debate where people try to claim that text MUDs and graphical MMOs are completely different beasts. Yes, they are different, but they’re not completely unrelated as some people might say. The non-WoW keynotes were still very relevant to traditional MMO developers; in fact, I didn’t even go to the WoW keynote because I figured most of that wouldn’t apply to my situation anyway; plus, I wanted to go to Lee Sheldon’s writing talk.
Overall, the conference was okay. I’m not huge on conferences given my introvert nature. The sudden increase in size was definitely a negative point for me, because I found it harder to get together with other people. I didn’t get to see Dave Rickey until the end of the last day when he was pretty tired, and I only ran into Raph in a hotel after the conference. I only saw Tess Snyder in passing as she yelled a greeting at me. Parties aren’t my thing, so I didn’t go to too many. I agree with Lum in that the conference definitely felt more like the GDC proper, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Anyway, sorry I missed some people. But, hopefully the talks and discussion did some good. We’ll see if next year is worth going to.