DiscoveryBeat event highlights innovation in social gaming

The DiscoveryBeat conference -- organized by Matt Marshall, Editor-in-Chief of VentureBeat, and Dean Takahashi, Lead Writer at GamesBeat -- was held yesterday in San Francisco.  The standing-room only event was packed with developers, entrepreneurs, and executives from leading social entertainment companies.  Alex St. John, hi5's President and CTO (second from right), joined Michael Chang, Founder & CEO of Greystripe (far left); Jon Vlassopulos, CEO of Moderati (second from left); and Lisa Marino, VP of Sales at RockYou (far right) in a lively panel discussion about the challenges and opportunities of large entertainment companies entering the social gaming category.

St. John remarked that the recent "discovery" of micro-transactions and virtual goods as a business model has actually been a vibrant and growing part of the gaming industry for years.  He also highlighted several crucial differences between traditional console games and social games -- including designing virality into the core game mechanic, the need to build an addictive game that will maximize yield from users who start playing for free, and the increasing irrelevance of IP licensing to a game's success.

The previous panel discussion included Sebastien De Halleux, COO of Playfish; John Pleasants, CEO of Playdom; Roy Sehgal, GM and Executive Producer at Zynga; and Neil Young, Founder & CEO of ngmoco.  The panelists discussed the rapid pace of innovation in the social gaming space, the importance of continuous measurement and testing of key game metrics, and the fact the space is still looking for the category-defining hit -- among other topics.

For more coverage of the event, see the following articles on VentureBeat:

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