14 GDC 2016 | March 14-18, 2016 | Moscone Convention Center | San Francisco, California

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Monday, March 14 & Tuesday, March 15 2016

Over the past few years, the free-to-play (F2P) model has revolutionized the games industry. The web and mobile games ecosystems are now utterly dominated by F2P games, and highly successful F2P games have begun to sprout up on Steam and on consoles as well.

Though F2P games are no longer a novelty, designers and business leaders alike are still grappling with the creative implications of a world in which gameplay and monetization are intimately intertwined, and in which games are supposed to never end. Are you struggling to design games that can stand up to the brutal competition in this space without compromising your principles? Do you despair at the mention of ever-climbing user acquisition costs? Then come to the Free to Play Summit, where leading professionals from the F2P world can offer stress relief and provide answers.

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Meaningful Pay: Monetizing F2P Without "The Pinch"
Scott Rigby (Immersyve)
Research shows that the most successful games in the free-to-play (F2P) space are winning by providing and telegraphing meaningful value to their players, instead of controlling them with "pinches" and "pay points." This summit will present a new, data-driven approach to understanding how to motivate gamers toward "meaningful pay" decisions. This talk will outline key strategies and provide actionable insights, through research and best practices examples from industry leaders, into how to create sustainable monetization ecosystems in F2P games. Attendees will learn how to create monetization opportunities where players are volitionally (and often enthusiastically) willing to pay for content.
Flutter Postmortem: Cultivating a Niche for F2P Success
Tim Nixon (Runaway)
Runaway's butterfly raising game "Flutter" has gone from strength to strength over its two-year life cycle, steadily increasing all KPIs to become a highly profitable product on a small install base. This talk aims to dispel the myth that you need a mega-hit to create a meaningful business, instead showing a path to success built around caring for a small, dedicated group of fans who want to belong to something special.


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 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.
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.
David Edery
Spry Fox
David Edery is the CEO of Spry Fox, the studio behind titles such as Triple Town, Steambirds, Realm of the Mad God and Road Not Taken. 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.
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 president and CEO of Making Fun, Inc., a game developer and publisher he founded in 2009 to create mobile and social titles for digital platforms. Making Fun's top titles include Mage & Minions, Dominion Online, Hidden Express and BloodRealm. These titles are produced with a combination of San Francisco and Argentina-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 in leadership roles with the International Game Developers Association, and he is a regular advisor and 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 MIT and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.