| March 2015
In This Issue:
- Amazon - Corey Badcock, head of developer evangelism at Amazon Apps & Services, reveals some of the highlights of Amazon's overview of the Amazon Devices and Services for Game Developers talk at GDC SF 2015, and why the conference is such an important part of the company's marketing strategy.
- Biba - Matt Toner, president of Biba, chats about the process of blending digital games with real-world play, about how developers can get in touch to help create Biba games, and about the two talks the company will be giving at GDC SF 2015.
Corey Badcock, head of developer evangelism, Amazon Apps & Services
Corey Badcock, head of developer evangelism at Amazon Apps & Services, reveals some of the highlights of Amazon's overview of the Amazon Devices and Services for Game Developers talk at GDC SF 2015, and why the conference is such an important part of the company's marketing strategy.
Q: Corey, at GDC SF 2015 on Tuesday, March 3rd at 10 AM, Amazon is presenting "An Overview of the Amazon Devices and Services for Game Developers." What do you expect will be the highlight of that talk by David Isbitski? What new information is he planning to unveil that developers may not be familiar with?
COREY BADCOCK: We’re excited to be hosting an Amazon Appstore Developer Day at GDC for the second year in a row. A lot has changed since last year -- we introduced Fire TV last April, and it quickly became the best-selling streaming media box on Amazon. In June, we launched Fire Phone and announced that the Amazon Appstore would be preloaded on BlackBerry devices. Then, in September, we launched our next generation of Fire tablets, and in October, we introduced Fire TV Stick. If you add all of that together, it’s quite the expansion in less than a year. We’re excited to talk to developers about the new customers they can reach on these devices and in the Amazon Appstore.
Q: You have over 25 game-related jobs opportunities listed on your website. Summarize for me what sort of people you're looking for and why should developers be interested in applying.
BADCOCK: We want people who are passionate about games to come and work at Amazon, and I think we offer a diverse set of opportunities for candidates. We are always on the lookout for new talent to join our teams in multiple roles. All of Amazon’s open positions are available for candidates to apply at our Web site.
Q: Amazon is sponsoring a full Developer Day at GDC SF 2015. Why should developers want to attend and what will be some of the takeaways?
BADCOCK: I think there’s a little bit of something for everyone at our Amazon Appstore Developer Day. If you’ve already got a game and you’re looking for ways to reach new customers, we have a session that details how to easily optimize your existing Unity game for Fire TV. We’re also really excited to have Twitch join us to talk about how game developers can reach new customers with Twitch. With over 100 million visitors a month, Twitch is a great opportunity for developers. We’re also doing a session on how to evolve players into fans based on what we’ve learned from working with the Top 50 game developers in the world. With all this, if you have an existing game and you want to reach new customers, these will be great sessions.
For developers who are in the process of building a game, we’ve also got some great sessions lined up. The Amazon Web Services team is going to facilitate a session on how to build and deploy your mobile game with AWS, and a deep dive on how to use analytics to improve the performance of your game. And for developers who have an existing game that they’re trying to optimize, we have a session that describes how one of our own evangelists made his game “no fun” by blindly following best practices and what he learned in the process.
All of our sessions are going to offer practical tips, so whether you already have a game, you’re building your first game, or you’ve built many games, I think there’s a talk for you. The Amazon Appstore Developer Day is free, so developers should feel free to drop by and check it out.
Q: Why has GDC become such an important part of your marketing strategy? What do you believe you get out of being a supporter of the conference?
BADCOCK: GDC is one of the largest gatherings of developers in the world, so it’s a unique opportunity for us to connect with thousands of developers in one place. At our Developer Day on Tuesday, March 3rd, we’re going to meet hundreds of developers one-to-one. Of course it’s a great opportunity for us to tell them all about the Amazon platform, but the bigger opportunity is to get their feedback and learn how we can continue to improve opportunities on our platform.
Matt Toner, president, Biba
Matt Toner, president of Biba, chats about the process of blending digital games with real-world play, about how developers can get in touch to help create Biba games, and about the two talks the company will be giving at GDC SF 2015.
Q: Matt, Biba and PlayPower recently announced a partnership aimed at blending digital games with real-world play. Why do you think it’s important to combine the two?
MATT TONER: We think it’s important to re-imagine play for children who are growing up using touchscreen devices from an early age. Most mobile games for kids tend to be screen-centric, sedentary activities. Together with PlayPower, we’re introducing a solution that blends the technology-driven world that modern kids expect with the health benefits and joy of active outdoor play. We’re bringing back the basic joy of games by creating a new category intended to change what screen time means, enticing kids back outside and turning playgrounds into the ultimate destination for healthy, active fun.
Q: You say that Biba games will work best with Biba-Activated playgrounds. Can you explain what being a Biba-Activated playground means?
TONER: Biba games will be optimized for use with “Biba-Activated” playgrounds from PlayPower where augmented reality markers will create deeper gameplay experiences. Biba apps will provide information about the gameplay experiences available at each playground, enabling families to search and find their favorite playground destinations. Some of the Biba games will work with playgrounds that aren’t Biba-Activated, since Biba games allow players to tag which types of playground equipment are available to them.
Q: You are currently developing your first Biba games internally, but from what I understand, you are also looking for other developers to get involved and create Biba games. Why do you want developers to work with you and how can they reach you?
TONER: Biba is an ongoing project that brings wacky and unexpectedly great games to life for kids. While we’re creating the first Biba games internally, we want to introduce more games by working with developers who are inspired by the potential of this new mode of play. Our first Biba games will be coming to mobile devices very shortly at the same time that Biba-Activated PlayPower playground equipment will begin populating city parks across the country.
Any developers interested in learning more can come by and see us at GDC SF 2015 during our session on Thursday, March 5 at 4 PM in West Hall, Room 2014.
Q: I know you’re an exhibitor at GDC this year. What do you have planned for the show?
TONER: We’re really excited to be coming back to GDC and can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on with the rest of the video game industry. We’ll be on the Expo Floor at booth #1702.
We’ll have an interactive Biba-Activated PlayPower swing set up so that attendees can experience Biba interacting with real-world playground equipment for themselves.
We’re also giving two talks during the show. Our first design-focused talk takes place 11:15 AM on Monday, March 2 during the Smartphone and Tablet Games Summit. Our product designer, Dr. Nis Bojin, will talk about the design process for our game and about design principles for kids’ games derived from our focus group and play-test sessions.
The second, moderated by Biba chairman and BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk, will be an open discussion with indie devs about the design philosophy for Smart Playground games, and that’s the session that will take place on Thursday, March 5 at 4 PM in West Hall, Room 2014