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Social The CrowdStar Way
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Social The CrowdStar Way

November 15, 2010 Article Start Previous Page 5 of 5

As we see things sort of start to spread out a little bit more from that, it's going to change the way of working.

PH: Yeah. And, who knows? Facebook is a platform, you know. Games is hugely important to them. I think over time, they will just be more interested and focused on quality of experience. So, the true virality is about game quality. And if it's really good, I'll want to invite you to my game. It's just in my mind. We'll give you the mechanics to do that easily. You'll want to do it. It will be less of a sort of viral carpet bomb and much more of an engagement sort of exercise because the game is really good.

Prior to the most recent update which quashed notifications, my initial reaction to every single Facebook game was the first time it popped into my feed, was "hide". I clicked the hide button. It would say, "Hide person name" or "Hide game". I'm like, "No, hide the game."

I never will see another update from this game. And, eventually, that was the first time for every game that popped up. Otherwise you're going to get a bunch of lost cows or whatever, right?

PH: [laughs] Yeah. I think that's the point. But where they've gone now is interesting, right, with this discovery. Because the idea now is that if you get your copy and your creative content right, then if you and Peter started playing a game, I'm notified.

So, that's kind of interesting because then that notification isn't just a lost cow or whatever. It's that you guys started to play something, and I should feel good because the copy's good, right, and it sounds awesome. I want to be involved. So, the discovery stories, the discovery feeds on Facebook are a much more powerful way of seeing what your friends are playing.

Give me a legitimate reason to get interested.

PH: Right. Exactly. So, these two are playing it, and by the way, the next day, these other eight people are playing it. by the way, 16 of your friends are playing it. You start to get that sort of social group. And if the messaging is cool because you're sharing treasure and you're battling on a boat together, straight away, that sounds kind of cool. It means something to people.

And I guess my last question is I think it's a fair criticism to say -- and I'm not leveling it at CrowdStar but rather the industry in general. Social games are tapping into this huge female audience. Less so than traditional games, but there's still a huge propensity to be men creating for women, and women not necessarily having input. Do you see that?

PH: Well, obviously, you know, coming from console, I spent the last 15 years working in game studios with 99.9 percent dudes, and it's not particularly healthy. Having said that, I was working on Burnout and Black, cars and machine guns.

Those are two very dude-y games.

PH: Yeah. Very dude-y games. But the really good, refreshing thing for me is the balance at CrowdStar is far higher. Take the It Girl team. I would say the majority are girls, actually, on that team. I could do the math, but it's higher than 50/50. And it has to be, right? Because there's no way the three of us could make It Girl meaningful. It's just not, right?

You were talking earlier about the "pink" mentality...

PH: Yeah, I used to hate that stuff. It used to drive me mad. "Pink Games" was one of the forum names. I was like, "I'm not going to that. They're just going to talk about ponies and Barbie games. It's really patronizing."

Whereas here, if we have an issue with It Girl, features not really hitting the way we want it to, the first people in the room are like the three lead girls on the team. It's not Suren and I and Jeff trying to figure it out with graphs and Excel sheets. It's like, "No, we need to get the girls on the team in here. We need to play the game with them to get their feedback and talk it through."

So, yeah, you're right. You just can't do it. So, I think the mix here is far healthier. It used to drive me mad in consoles. After 15 years, I was done.

Sausage party?

PH: [laughs] Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. But, you know, I think that's the other awesome thing. I'm kind of generalizing. If you're really interested and engaged in something, then you might want to make it one day, right? So, you imagine the video game business... I just played games from like 1979 to when I got in the business. I was addicted, and I still am. That's how I got in.

So, you'd hope that with this huge female audience, there's going to be younger girls and people coming through schools and colleges that actually want to come through and make games because they've played them and they love them and they believe they can make them better, right, which is my reason for getting into video games.

Most people I know, they wanted to get in to make them better because they have so many ideas about how that should be done. So, I think the future is pretty bright for that percentile shift to be even better.

Article Start Previous Page 5 of 5

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