Professor deWinter to Present Paper at the Southwest Popular Culture Association
Free2Play: From Games as Product to Games as Service
Location: Albequerque, New Mexico from February 13th to the 17th
"There is nothing casual about casual gamers." This maxim, echoed at multiple game developer conferences, captures the very serious market of the casual gamer--a person who enjoys playing games upwards of five hours a day, but often only in 3-10 minute chunks. And the market of the casual gamer is one defined by cheap or better yet free games. This market has put a strain on established game companies as they move from offering premium games--those games developed as a shippable product--to what Pop-Cap refers to as "Freemiium" games--those games that are provided to gamers for free and require on-going support to monetize play. Game studios who particpate in this space report that the support team needed to maintain free-to-play games is often larger than the development team, as this after-release team is responsible for expanding on the minimum viable product and providing the player community an ongoing experience/service. This changing production model necessarily affects circulation, consumption, and even games-as-texts. Games as service provide a changing environment or object of study, and the economy of play shifts in subtle yet important ways. This presentation will present an overview of this production practice and discuss the challenges that it poses to games studies.
Link to the program: http://www.swtxpca.org/documents/49.html
February 13, 2013