Virtual Goods Summit 2008 – post-mortem

I’ve written up my notes for the first three sessions of the VGS last Friday, and they’re in the queue over at FreeToPlay.biz waiting to be approved by Adrian; hopefully they should go live soon.

It was a good conference, some good stuff said, lots of basic sharing of info about things to do / things to avoid in the business and design of virtual-goods-driven businesses. The info was good, and although it often came close to being too basic for anyone who’s bothered to look at the history of online games, it usually managed to give interesting information to both the newcomers and those who’ve been around a bit.

There were lots of VC’s in attendance (surprisingly many), and lots of new vendor companies that were mostly payment-providers specializing in “taking payments from Social Network users” (I was surprised how many of them I didn’t know already; clearly, there’s been a boom in this area while I wasn’t looking).

A few highlights of my summaries (you’ll have to read the full writeups at F2P.biz for the rest):

The vendors on one panel – Twofish, Live Gamer, and Playspan – seem to be sitting in areas of potentially huge value-add, but … they also seem to be targetting their offerings at solving the problems that their customers don’t necessarily need solving, and would be better off solving themselves.

It seems the big players / winners in the Virtual Goods area so far are still taking a very “experimental, unplanned” approach to the fundamental worrying parts that keep newcomers awake at night: what goods should I be selling? what pricing should I offer them at? etc

Shervin (CEO, Social Gaming Network) and slightly less so Andrew (EVP Business Development, Zynga) continued to be as cagey at this conference as they have been at all the other conferences (e.g. GDC) over the past year or so. In the light of their secrecy – even when appearing on a public panel (hey, guys – if you’re asked to appear on a panel at a conference, what do you expect? Of *course* people are going to want to ask you interesting and probing questions! If you don’t intend to answer them, howabout you just decline to speak on the panel?) – we can only guess at their motivations.

…if you were there, what do you think? What were your impressions of the conference?

EDIT: interesting post from Eric Ries of IMVU starting with his thoughts on the conference, and inspiring three categorising questions about virtual goods and virtual worlds.

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