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Video: The 9 biggest trends from free-to-play games in 2012
April 2, 2013 | By GDC Vault Staff

Courtesy of the GDC Vault, this free, hour-long GDC 2013 video sees top analysts from Joju Games, Playdom, and Funsockets review the best games and the nine biggest trends from 2012's Facebook, mobile, and open Web F2P games.

The lecture begins with a quick review of the last four years for F2P games across platforms, and sharing 2013's estimated revenue for mobile gaming ($5.6 billion) will be twice the size of Facebook ($2.8 billion). Moreover, in 2013, they predict Facebook will be even tougher to break in on, and mobile gaming will be more open.

The trio also looks at what made SuperCell's Clash of Clans and's Candy Crush Saga some of the top-grossing games of 2012, along with the continuing trend of casino games cashing in on mobile and Facebook, such as Big Fish Casino.

For all nine trends explored in detail, check out the GDC 2013 lecture above.

Session Name: Free to Play Game Design: A Year in Review

Speaker(s): Juan Gril, Steve Meretzky, Dave Rohrl

Company Name(s): Joju Games, Playdom, Funsockets

Track / Format: Free to Play Design & Business Summit

Overview: Dave Rohrl, Juan Gril, and Steve Meretzky have long been key analysts of the hottest areas of gaming. Their annual reviews of casual, social, and indie games have been staples of the GDC Summits for years. Now they are joining forces to cover the latest trends and the most interesting games in the free-to-play games arena. The talk will cover Facebook games, mobile games, and games on the open Web.

This tag team lecture will bring you up to speed on the current state of the free-to-play market, and leave you prepared to get the most out of the rest of the Free to Play Design & Business Summit sessions to follow.

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent GDC events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC China already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscriptions via a GDC Vault inquiry form.

Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can find out more here. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins.

Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more new content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from other events like GDC China and GDC 2013. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.

Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech.

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juan caruso
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I cant see the video, need to install something?

John Polson
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We are aware of it not yet working on _all_ iDevices, but it seems to be working fine on PC browsers.

Care to share what device and browser you are using?

ashish pratap
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Thanks for sharing the article. It seems that there is a problem with the sound.

Do i need specific browser ?

Nooh Ha
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It was an interesting talk (as it is every year) but either my internet connection got choppy or the video quality was very poor as it kept skipping and freezing.

Steven Martin
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I saw that too. Missed a few key words throughout. Pretty annoying... but what did work was quite good.

Chris Moeller
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Great video discussing popular games on Facebook/mobile.

Although it's nice to see "" wasn't just a one hit wonder with "Candy Crush", I'm still not certain why it stay on the top. The video does go through some of the things that it's successful games have in common, but essentially it appears to be just another bejeweled knock off, which some added game mechanics. But obviously there's probably more to it, since every other "my first bejeweled clone" isn't in the top 10 ;)

The video does have tons of glitch spots where it stop for 2-5seconds where it didn't record, and resumes after that time, but it is still worth watching. Just be nice if those segments had been edited out ;)