Casual Connect Seattle; day 2 update; did we hear anything new?

Day 2 in Seattle. I think the storm has gone down a little. Most interesting speakers have said their thing.

Still I believe it is interesting to see how everyone is predicting stuff instead of really getting to the point about what is happening today. Looking at recent comscore figures, I still believe Spil Games (formely known as SPILL GROUP) is above the whole industry. If you have the numbers, then you can watch the market and the trends. Companies like NeoEdgde, MochiAds and others need traffic. FaceBook.com is not heaven on itself..it takes more than that. Console will not die, but it will turn more and more towards online. Call it mediaplayer, call it “anywhere, everywhere”…thing is; people want to play games. Again; my personal perception is that this was a low ranked topic in Seattle.

Of course there were some surveys done by RealGames and BigFishGames. Result was more to poke everyone, than getting down to the essentials. Okay we know “they” (we now know who they are!) like to play games, we know also where, we know the social aspect and we know type of games. But what makes a good game? Linerider was that a good game or did the “people” showed us, the industry, that this was a good game? It got played a lot. Turned on top everywhere on the big portals. Okay, simple game…but like Alex St John said, Disney bought ClubPenguin, but couldnt get their own virtual world developed and didnt allocate money for it in the first place. Basics…!

Tell me, what was the last month the most played web-game? Who knows!? Who sold the most advertising around web/online games? How did this company do this? I really try to find news about that, but I don’t think it got discussed in Seattle. So 2.000 people…what was the final conclusion?

Anyways, the PR machine did its work..here we go!

MumboJumbo
MumboJumbo, leading developer and publisher of premium casual games, revealed what’s in store for the fourth quarter of 2008 today at Casual Connect in Seattle.

Key to the lineup are the latest installments in LUXOR and 7 Wonders, the company’s signature franchises. This fall, LUXOR will venture out of Egypt in an engrossing adventure that takes the player on a journey to reclaim the family’s stolen treasures. Exploring intricately rendered settings in Persia, Syria and five other exotic lands, the latest installment in LUXOR also will unveil a never-before-seen game play mode.

This fall also will introduce 7 Wonders III, the next chapter in the match-3 game that takes you through magnificent wonders of the world. Along with new wonders to build, 7 Wonders III will feature a fresh game-play mechanic that will engage players beyond the typical matching gameplay. The new twist will be revealed in coming months.

NeoEdge
Starting July 24, NeoEdge Networks, Inc., an advertising network focused on providing television quality advertising inside online casual games, will be the first in the industry to offer benchmarked, guaranteed ad campaign engagement results.

NeoEdge is adding a guarantee to its online advertising network that no other company in the Internet video ad space is offering. NeoEdge advertisers will be secure knowing that their campaigns are delivering the desired ROI, with assured Viewer Engagement (Time Spent Watching) and Click-Through Rates (CTR). NeoEdge benchmarks advertising goals for each vertical market, and will offer a guaranteed number of impressions. The benchmark for each vertical varies based on consumers’ prior behavior.

Traditionally, online advertising is purchased on a Cost Per Thousand (CPM) impression basis. Advertisers pay for a contracted number of impressions, regardless of whether a consumer actually reads the ad, clicks on it, or performs some other kind of action like visiting a web site and making a purchase or signing up for a new service. By introducing more rigorous metrics and guarantees, NeoEdge is bringing online video game-based advertising closer to parity in effectiveness and accountability with the traditional forms of television and other advertising mediums.

“Good creative will always drive metrics, but for advertisers who are looking to make the jump into online video advertising we take the risk out of the decision with guaranteed results,” said Ty Levine, VP Marketing NeoEdge. “We can look at a vertical category in which advertising has run on our network and determine a baseline expectation of click-through and time spent watching the advertisement. By looking at this data, we can provide the advertiser with a realistic and guaranteed expectation of results. If the ads do not perform, NeoEdge will assess the results, absorb the risk and provide additional impressions free of charge.”

The guarantee enhances NeoEdge’s offering to channel partners, like National Cable Communications (NCC), the largest seller of targeted cable advertising in the world, and Engage In-Game Advertising, an independent video game advertising company, offering in-game planning & execution across console, PC and mobile game platforms. These NeoEdge ad sales and marketing partners agree that the new guarantee is crucial for enabling online advertisers to ensure the same kinds of results they currently enjoy through traditional broadcast & online advertising.

Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon’s games boss Dave Williams has predicted a big change in the way casual games work on the web, transformed by social and media elements, in his keynote talk opening the second day of this week’s Casual Connect event in Seattle.

Williams, who oversees Nickelodeon’s online casual games business via portals like Addicting Games and Shockwave and its licensing business with core games firms, said that kids entertainment firm – part of the MTV Network, itself part of Viacom – thinks “there more room for growth available in games than any other medium available to us”.

But the growth will come from “big driving forces which are redefining the category and creating some huge new opportunities,” said Williams.

He pointed to three key areas of focus: the expansion of casual gaming into new audiences; the ideas of social gaming and community; and the notion of ‘games as media’.

“Go beyond the Soccer moms,” he said, saying that building online web games with just the stereotypical 35+ female gamer in mind has “become self-limiting”.

“It’s vital we look beyond our audience for the traditional industry to grow.”

Williams then offered up data from a big Nickelodeon research study into casual gamers, which revealed that “nearly half of all internet users are playing games regularly or even every day”.

He added: “But social gaming is not the same thing as social networking. Consumers of all ages tell us they really don’t want another social network – they have enough trouble keeping up with the one they already have.”

“Just like blockbuster movies games have traditionally been dominated by big releases. It’s very easy for us to fall into the trap, but we must think of causal as media for whatever screens you have in your house – the business is remarkably more similar to television than it is retail games.”

He said that casual games can be episodic, highlighting the success of Nickelodeon’s Carrie the Caregiver franchise as a key example – the series of games has had 16m plays across its multiple titles, which cover the working life of a nanny, meaning the lead character “transcends the game itself becomes a spokesperson for Shockwave”.

Published by Reinout te Brake

Reinout is a games investor and strategic business consultant specializing in the games industry. Reinout established his credentials through his own successful investments, start-ups, consulting and (advisory) board positions that led through time to strong bonds with key stakeholders in this fast paced industry. He is known for his outstanding results in the gaming industry. He has worked with many game studios around the globe and is therefore well known in the international gaming industry. Check out his games podcast; https://www.game-consultant.com

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