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CONFERENCE  

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    FREE TO PLAY DESIGN & BUSINESS
Monday, March 17 & Tuesday, March 18

Over the past few years, the free-to-play (F2P) model has revolutionized the games industry, from social games, to hardcore MMOs, to open Web and mobile games in general. Developers and publishers are grappling with the implications of service-based games, metrics-driven business, A-B testing, viral user acquisition, whales versus minnows ... a whole new way of doing business. Designers are grappling with the creative implications of a world in which gameplay and monetization is intimately intertwined, the social interactions between players, how the game grows in depth without losing its core audience, and how to keep the audience engaged in games with no ending. F2P games already dominate the Web and mobile ecosystems and are expected to become a major disruptive force on next generation consoles. Are you facing this brave new world with anxiety and questions? Then come to the Free to Play Design & Business Summit, where leading professionals from the F2P world can offer stress relief and provide answers.

Arrow Search for all Free to Play Design & Business Summit sessions

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2014 HIGHLIGHTED SESSIONS

Designing In-Game Purchases
Ethan Levy (FamousAspect)
In-game purchases are here to stay. Now, more than ever, it is clear that players are comfortable spending money in browser, mobile and download games. But just because players are willing to pay does not mean game developers know how to give them something worth buying. This talk gives practical, hands-on guidelines and processes for designing your game's monetization. Core loops, feature design, economy design, user interface tips, user experience flows and forecasting tools are all covered in this actionable talk from an 11-year design veteran who has successfully made the leap from designing paid games to designing freemium games.
Lessons from Launching Plants vs. Zombies 2 in China
Kun (Leo) Liu (PopCap)
Plants vs. Zombies is a huge success worldwide. However, its Chinese version, Great Wall Edition, made only $50 on day one. But PopCap chose China as the grand launch territory for the legendary sequel, Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time. Why? Leo will reveal the secrets behind scene.

FREE TO PLAY DESIGN & BUSINESS SUMMIT ADVISORY COMMITTEE

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Steve Meretzky
GSN Games
It's hard to have a serious conversation about gaming without mention of Steve. It's also hard to have a humorous conversation about gaming without mention of him. Steve's contributions to the industry began in 1981 at the legendary adventure game company Infocom, where his titles included Planetfall, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (in collaboration with Douglas Adams), Leather Goddesses of Phobos and Zork Zero. Steve is currently vice president of creative for GSN Games, the cross-platform games division of GSN (Game Show Network). Prior to joining GSN Games, Steve was vice president of game design for Playdom, a division of Disney Interactive. Previously, Steve co-founded Boffo Games and held senior creative posts at Blue Fang, Floodgate Entertainment and WorldWinner.com, GSN's cash tournaments site. Over his prolific career, Steve also consulted with teams at Activision, Blizzard, EA, Harmonix and Hasbro, to name a few. A former board member of the IGDA, Steve organizes the Free to Play Design & Business Summit at the GDC, as well as the annual Game Designers Workshop. Steve holds a Bachelor of Science in construction project management from MIT, but otherwise assures us that he did not waste his four years there.
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Frank Cartwright
Reloaded Games Inc.
As COO of Reloaded Games Inc., Frank Cartwright brings over a decade of experience in online, social, mobile, and free-to-play gaming in both the core and casual categories. Most recently, he served as SVP of Product and Platform Development at K2 Network Inc. (Gamerfirst), where he oversaw the product development of the free-to-play publishing portal GamersFirst.com, as well as the publishing platform Gamersfirst LIVE!. Prior to K2, he served as vice president of Online Entertainment at the GameShowNetwork (GSN), where he oversaw the product development, technology implementation, and administration of GSN.com, the network's emerging casual games site. Prior to GSN, he served as vice president of product development and engineering at Global Gaming League (GGL), a worldwide leader in organized, competitive online and live video game tournaments and events (V-Sports). Prior to GGL, he served as vice president of production for SkillJam Technologies, where he played an instrumental role in the company's growth and globalization efforts, handling all technical development and production. Frank began his career in gaming in 1995 at Dreamers Guild, as lead software engineer on Turner Interactive's Dinotopia PC game. From there he joined Disney Internet Group (DIG), creating dozens of Java, Flash, and Shockwave online games and building Disney's online, multiplayer gaming platform. Frank has a BS degree in Business Management.
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David Edery
Spry Fox
David Edery is the CEO of Spry Fox, the studio behind titles such as Triple Town, Steambirds, Panda Poet, Leap Day, and Highgrounds. Previously, David was worldwide games portfolio manager for Microsoft's Xbox LIVE service, where he was responsible for content strategy and selecting the games that would be accepted for distribution by the LIVE service. David co-authored, "Changing the Game: How Video Games are Transforming the Future of Business" a book that explores the ways that games can be leveraged by businesses for serious purposes.
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Juan Gril
Joju Games
Joju Games founder and studio manager Juan Gril has more than 15 years of experience developing casual games. Joju Games produces casual games for international clients including Atari, MTV Networks and Disney.

Juan is an advisor for the Free to Play Design and Business Summit at the GDC, judge for the "Sense of Wonder Night" Game Festival at Tokyo Game Show and an editor of the IGDA Casual Games White Paper. The former head of Yahoo! Games Studios and a founding member of the team, he thinks video games are the coolest thing ever.
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Sulka Haro
Makielab
Sulka is a founder and chief design officer at MakieLab, a London-based 3D printed toys and digital games studio.

Previously, Sulka was the lead designer at Sulake, focusing on Habbo Hotel, a teenage virtual world with over 230 million registered users. In addition to working on Habbo, he was the lead designer for Disney's Virtual Magic Kingdom, created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Disneyland. Sulka is a frequent speaker at the GDC. You can find Sulka's blog at http://sulka.net
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John Welch
Making Fun
John Welch is a veteran leader of the online games industry and one of the early pioneers of digital distribution of entertainment. He is the founder & CEO of Making Fun, Inc., a game developer and publisher creating mobile and social titles for digital platforms. Making Fun's top titles include Hidden Express, BloodRealm and Mage & Minions. These titles are produced with a combination of San Francisco-based internal talent and partnerships with passionate game studios around the world.

Prior to forming Making Fun, John was co-founder and CEO of PlayFirst, the casual games publisher famous for the best-selling Diner Dash brand that has touched hundreds of millions of consumers. John was responsible for the vision, financing, strategic direction and operations of the company for its first five years, as well as the production of the first Diner Dash title. PlayFirst was an innovator in bringing the full-service publishing model to casual online and downloadable games.

Prior to forming PlayFirst, he spent nearly five years building Shockwave.com into one of the Internet's top game portals as the company's vice president of games and product. He was a key member of the Dreamcast Network leadership team at SEGA from 1998 to 1999. Previously, John spent several years running a small consultancy he co-founded. He began his career at Andersen Consulting.

In addition to his operating role, John is a board member of Secret Builders - a creative, online virtual world and network of mobile games heavily endorsed by parents and teachers.

John has served as a steering committee member and as chair of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Online & Casual Games groups, and he is a regular faculty member of the annual Game Developers Conference. John is an active member and officer of the Golden Gate chapter of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO). He holds degrees in mathematics and computer science from M.I.T. and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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