Interview

Fundamentally Games' Oscar Clark on bringing games to live

Fundamentally Games' Oscar Clark on bringing games to live

Yesterday, we announced our upcoming PocketGamer.biz MasterClasses, a brand new series of deep-dive workshop sessions taking an in-depth look at practical games design topics. 

We’re working with the finest industry experts to create professional, half-day activities featuring tutorials, lectures and breakout groups, all accessible from the comfort of your home office.

There are four workshops taking place on August 17-18 where you can expect to explore a range of key games design topics, from economy design and optimisation, to core design fundamentals and product management, to live operations and everything in between!

Each week, we'll take a closer look at each MasterClass and ask our expert hosts a few burning questions on what kind of content to expect, some key takeaways and who will benefit most from that particular session.

Read on to hear from Oscar Clark about his MasterClass: Bringing Your Game To Live with Oscar Clark taking place on August 18 at 2pm BST.

I have been a pioneer in games services since 1998 helping developers design, deliver, monetize, and operate games live and wrote the book “Games As A Service”.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m the Chief Strategy Officer of Fundamentally Games LTD whose mission is to bring games to live. I have been a pioneer in games services since 1998 helping developers design, deliver, monetize, and operate games live and wrote the book “Games As A Service” published by Routledge.

Tell us about your company

Fundamentally Games delivers effective, scalable, LiveOps as a Service so that developers and publishers can focus on their core areas of expertise. We help developers and organisations transform their games into living experiences and get more players, doing more things, more often, for longer. 

What does your role entail?

I like to think of a Chief Strategy Officer as kind or a chief of curiosity where I explore (and share insight on) how as game developers we can identify and satisfy the needs of players through commercial games. This means looking for patterns that we can apply to any kind of game on any platform that tap into the different motivations to play as well as to pay for content and playing experiences.

On any given day this might mean solving individual game mechanic issues; defining the context loop (sense of purpose or progression) in a game or advising on how to magnify the impact of a metagame. Sometimes that advice will be for an Indie Game dev; sometimes it might be to help an investor screen a game that's trying to raise money; I might even be acting as a Judge on the Big Indie Pitch or Hosting a track on PGConnects.

But at the heart of it, I am learning and sharing how to help game developers be more successful.

We are currently working with a number of game developers to prepare their games for a living game experience.

Is there anything you're working on currently that you’d like our readers to know about?

We are currently working with a number of game developers to prepare their games for a living game experience. Some are very early and just need to think about what success could look like and how they expect players to return each day.

For others, it's about structuring how they capture data about player activity in ways that are most useful to optimise play. I'm also helping some with their Monetisation design in order to make sure that when they go live they can have the right options available for players to be excited and not frustrated by a service experience.

I recently wrote a piece on Living Price and Promotion which will hopefully come out next week on PG.biz that shows how we do this.

What topic will you be covering in your MasterClass?

In my MasterClass, I will be looking to help introduce some of the core elements behind bringing your game to Live.

Live Pipelines – How teams need to establish predictable, consistent release processes that satisfy audience needs, support iteration and create a positive release experience.

Community Engagement – How to create the right cadence of events and supporting retail promotions which maximise the player experience and give reasons to anticipate the value of coming back (and spending) time and time again.

Audience-Led Decision Making – How planning needs to leverage audience sentiment, behavioural data as well as your core original vision to create continuous improvement so we get more players, doing more things, more often for longer.

Who is this MasterClass for?

Whether you are completely new to LiveOps or an expert, this MasterClass will provide a practical systematic approach to managing your game in Live.

Why is it important for your games industry peers to gain a deeper understanding of your chosen topic?

Games as a service (and hence LiveOps) has transformed the industry completely - even those developers focused on 'Pay-Upfront' models have to pay attention to how they engage and manage their community over time. There are still some who think this model is limited to Mobile games or indeed who think because of some bad implementations that it's not good for players. I think it's vital to your success to understand that good live ops come first from loving both your game and your players. LiveOps is about building an engagement engine for players

Tell us a little bit about the key takeaways people can expect from the session

There are five key takeaways you will take away after this session:

  1. How to recognize what to consider during design, production and testing to support live operations
  2. How to analyze the ways LiveOps can extend the value for your game whether paid-upfront or f2p
  3. Ways to define the systems needed to deliver player experiences in ways which allow the core development team to focus on making the game great
  4. How to build an 'Audience-led' process that maximizes player engagement, conversion, retention and ongoing release of new content and features.
  5. Why it's important to create processes that can help to constantly improve your game
The Covid19 crisis has profoundly changed the way people engage with all kinds of online experiences. This is a massive opportunity for the industry.

Finally, what are your thoughts on the games industry going forward? What major trends do you predict over the next 12 months?

The Covid19 crisis has profoundly changed the way people engage with all kinds of online experiences and means that whole new segments now play connected games who previously would have rejected them. This is a massive opportunity for the industry; especially those who are already established with LiveOps and those who have the funding to adapt.

However, it comes with its own risks as the investment side for new games has become more challenging and we have yet to see the economic consequences will affect consumer spending in the coming months and years. Extending Retention and Engagement in your game will determine if your game will survive or thrive - and that means we have to take LiveOps seriously.

BOOK TODAY!

If you like the sound of Oscar's MasterClass, be sure to book your place now - remember tickets are limited so purchase your ticket today to avoid disappointment!

MULTI-BUY DEALS & CORPORATE DISCOUNT

Want to attend multiple MasterClasses? Book three workshops and get the fourth FREE!

Booking for multiple people? Take advantage of our 30% corporate discount for groups of six or more people from the same company.

For multi-buy or group discounts, please email sally.kevan@steelmedia.co.uk to discuss your bespoke package.

Events Promotions Manager

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