The GDC Nordic Gaming Breakfast Seminar on Tuesday the 26th of March,organized by Innovation Center Denmark, Innovation Norway, Tekes, FinPro, Enterprise Estonia, and Silicon Vikings and hosted by K&L Gates in San Francisco, were visited by many Nordic game founders that attended the GDC 2013 in San Francisco.

The speakers and panel where Nicholas Lovell, Director of Gamesbrief, Juha Christensen, Chairman & CEO at Zig, Jostein Vik, Partner at Viking Venture, Tomi Huttula, Senior Director of Product Management at Kabam, and Mark Friedler, VP Business Development,


Keep the End In Mind

Juha Christensen, Chairman & CEO at Zig, opened up the morning and talked about his experience as a founder. He said that keeping the end in mind is a concept he is working with. “It is always good to ask yourself, where do I want to go? Where does the team want to go? What do people want to do after five years? Do people want to own the company forever, or do they want to sell it after five years?”

When it comes to putting your team together it is important to have the end in mind. Pick the right people. You are going to spend many hours together. You might still be with them in ten years. Juha also said that it is important to think about that people are only good at what they love to do. Give everyone the tasks they love. “Don’t compromise on that, go out and find someone that is suited for the specific position,” Juha said.

Juha also talked about the importance of exploring the idea. Many people stop at the first great product idea and start building it. “Don’t just jump on the first idea. It might be something else that is more interesting after that,” Juha said. “What would happen if you rejected the first idea and thought what else can I do?” The experience Juha has is that often you go back to the original idea and make it stronger, or you find an even better idea.


15 guidelines of how to make money on free to play games

Nicholas Lovell, Director of Gamesbrief, spoke about one of his focus areas, free to play. He shared his 15 guidelines of how to make money on free to play games.

1. Make it fun. Games have to be fun otherwise it is not going to work, so find out what is fun for your players, and customers.

2. Does your game pass the Starbucks test, which is a rule that comes from Torsten Reil, CEO, Natural Motion that said: “Can you play the game and have a meaningful experience in the time it takes for a barista to make your macchiato?” If you can make it so people can get to the fun fast, you are in a really good place.

3. Come for a minute and stay for an hour. If the effort is to high to get into the game, people might chose another game instead. They might chose a minute game and still end up staying for two hours.

4. Does your game have complexity in layers? It has to be interesting and fun enough to get people to stay. The game should be easy for everyone to understand and pick up, and still the more experienced player should be playing for deeper goals.

5. Be evergreen. Your game must never end. You have to be able to play it again. Make people think: “This time I am going to get it!” Find a way to be endless.

6. Be generous. Once people have been given a gift are more likely to buy something of you.

7. Be free, forever. Once you get the players, keep your players. You never know when someone is going to convert. It might take ten plays to get a player really interested.

8. The 1 dollars – no brainer. Make it possible to spend a dollar. Find out what your customer will value, and make the first purchase a really good value.  

9. Make it possible to spend 100 dollars. The secret of free to play is to make it possible for people who want to spend money to be able to.

10. Make the player feel good for something they have done. Give rewards. Tell them, well done!  

11. Kill the tutorial. Think about how you want your customers to feel after the first 30 minutes. Learning is fun! Make your tutorial entertaining. Make the customers know the game in a fun way and they will invest their time in the back-story later. Not the other way around.

12. I must not fail. Give feedback to your players when they fail and learn. Make them feel good.

13. Sell emotion and not content. People will spend time on things that matters to them not on the content.

14. Experiment.

15. It is never finished.

The secret of a successful game is to experiment and always learn.

The panel opened up for questions after. If you want to hear the panel, or the speakers you can watch it here.


Written by: Nina Olsson, Viking Reporter for Silicon Vikings

Nina Olsson