[casual_games] Top Download List

Brian Robbins brian-l at dubane.com
Tue Jan 17 08:47:02 EST 2006

Thanks everyone for the great discussion on this. As a SIG our goal is
to meet the needs and desires of the community, and discussions like
this are what help us know exactly what all of you are looking for.

We are currently working towards a goal of having download or sales
numbers aggregated across portals, although this is a long-term
process. Right now the first step is creating a universal data
reporting format that all the players in the space can support. James
Gwertzman is working on this with a small group of volunteers.

As this format begins to gain acceptance it will make a lot of things
much easier for everyone. It will help reduce the delay and errors
currently in tracking sales and revenue for developers. Instead of
having to type things into Excel by hand, you will be able to use a
tool to automatically import your actual data. Over time we hope that
this will enable a shorter delay in sales reporting from portal
through to developer, with an eventual goal of near real-time sales

Another long-term goal for this standard is that it would dramatically
lower the barrier for creating an inustry-wide sales report.

As I see it there are a few problems with establishing an
industry-wide numbers, most of which have already been touched on:

1 - Right now there is no immediate reason for anyone in the space to
report their numbers. As a group, if we all do it can start to
generate a significant long-term press and focus on this space, but
the short-term benefits are nearly non-existent to established

2 - There is no indepent 3rd party who is currently setup to take on
this type of project. While it is a great idea in theory, in practice
I do not think this is something a small group of independents could
or should get involved in. In order to verify the integrity of the
entire process the group needs to be completely independent and have
the resources to safeguard any proprietary information, only releasing
the numbers in aggregate. I don't see a small group of volunteers
being able to establish appropriate safeguards and trust to do this.

3 - If this does start to get off the ground, we get back to the
debate of what should and should not be included. It's easy to say
that all the portals should be, but what about Wal-Mart and Best Buy?
There's a not insignificant amount of casual games being sold through
the traditional retail channel.

I do think that all of these are solvable issues, and it is a
long-term process which we are only starting with today. The biggest
and most important thing to making sure this happens is having the
desire and support within the community for it. We seem to have that
today, and I'm hopeful we can use that to keep this moving forward.

Also, I do not think the so-called "prisoners dilemma" will be an
issue. As this begins to take off checks and balances will need to be
implemented to minimize the chances of this happening, and allow any
discrepancies to be caught and weeded out quickly. In the end if we
cannot trust that anyone is providing truthful numbers then the entire
idea of this is sunk before we get started.

Brian Robbins
Director Online Gaming, Fuel Industries
Chair, IGDA Online Games SIG and Casual Games SIG
http://www.igda.org/online/   http://www.igda.org/casual/

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