[casual_games] data reporting standards initiative needs your
james at popcap.com
Sat Jul 1 12:54:55 EDT 2006
There has been a lot of discussion in the past few days about developer
rights, but there's another problem with our industry that's virtually
invisible and yet creates huge inefficiencies up and down the entire
value chain. It's the fact that today most partners report sales using a
physical piece of paper mailed in an envelope.
Why is this a problem?
1) That data must be manually typed back in again on the other
end, which is time consuming and can introduce errors.
2) It slows everything down. One of the reasons it can take so
long for developers to get paid is that it takes so long for data to
propagate down the value chain.
3) It prevents automated sales data sharing, which makes it
impossible to have a real-time view of the performance of a new title.
Imagine having a "dashboard" which shows you the performance of a new
game across all portals and distributors in near-real-time!
The solution is not rocket science. All we need is a standardized XML
reporting format that everyone agrees to support. Then, instead of (or
in addition to) generating a paper report, companies would generate
these XML reports instead.
A small task-force of the Casual Games SIG has been working on this
problem for almost a year now, and we are finally ready to present a
draft of proposed standards to the community. We need you to review this
proposed standard, and provide feedback. Our goal is to issue a first
version of this official standard in a month or two, and then begin the
frankly much more challenging part which is getting companies to
actually support it.
The good news is that we already have the support of many key players,
including PopCap, Playfirst, RealNetworks, Reflexive, Big Fish Games,
TryMedia, and many more. But this standard is worthless unless it can
actually meet everyone's reporting needs.
The standard is now available to download off the casual game sig
Included in there is a special bonus --- the same Access Database which
PopCap actually uses to track its own sales across all of its partners.
It's a pretty slick little database, even though we've cleaned it out of
everything except placeholder data. So if you don't already have a
database you use to track your own sales, check this one out. And it's
already been designed to import these new XML files!
Please post your feedback either to this mailing list, or directly to
me. I'll be gathering feedback and pulling together the next draft of
Thanks for your support!
Director of Business Development
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