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The Number One Educational Resource for the Game Industry

Session Name: Surviving Free to Play for Small and Early-Stage Start-Ups
Speaker(s): Daniel Bernstein, Margaret Wallace
Company Name(s): UpTap, Playmatics
Track / Format: Free to Play Design & Business Summit

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Overview: 3-3:25pm- Margaret Wallace (Playmatics)

The free-to-play gaming landscape is more competitive than ever. What does it take for a small company to not only survive - but thrive? Hear first-hand from Margaret Wallace, entrepreneur and CEO of Playmatics. She has had over ten years of experience running her own gaming start-ups and has also spent a lot of time working on the "other side of the table" at traditional publishers and with large media companies. Offering some crucial advice to small companies and indie development houses on the opportunities in the free-to-play space, she will provide data and first-hand experiences around negotiating this ever-changing space.

What is the marketplace outlook in 2013 and beyond for free-to-play gaming, especially for small or early-stage start-ups? What winning strategies can be adopted? In addition to establishing a baseline on the market as it stands, other opportunities and best practices in the space are discussed - including the role of "fun" in the whole equation. Questions covered include the how private investment vs. traditional publishing deal impact product choices and realities, adopting a platform strategy, whether it makes sense to work with brands - and what are some contractual and product pitfalls to avoid in order to mitigate risk.

3:35-4pm- Daniel Bernstein (UpTap)

How do you keep your studio doors open in the world of free to play games? Do you bootstrap, crowdfund, work for hire, find angel or VC financing or find a publisher, or a combination of all of those? We will explore techniques to fund and make a studio run and prosper in the new free to play universe.

There are a variety of new ways to fund games companies and small independents can be successful at creating free to play hits. However, the free to play methodology must be included in your business model, including how you plan to maximize ARPU/LTV and how you plan to market your game to acquire your user base.

GDC 2013

Daniel Bernstein


Margaret Wallace


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Free to Play Design & Business Summit