Free-to-play games publisher Acclaim has been working on the server technology and server-side game development tools over the past year, in preparation for the 3-D revolution. Creative Officer David Perry says the company’s interest in server-side solutions is driven in part by the massive viral nature of Flash.
Acclaim needs to make its games easily accessible, and Perry believes a browser-based solution is the answer. He estimates that Acclaim, which requires users to install its games, loses between 70% to 80% of players that visit the site with the intent of playing a game.
When you visit the site, Perry says, you’re asked to download a game, wait for it to download, update the drivers–and then you have to register with Acclaim. Lowering the barriers to entry will “increase dramatically the number of players who touch our games,” Perry says.
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I think this will become a more and more important topic over time, as developers run the analytics on their game and see where they can pick up a lot more players. The social gaming space does this every day, and so we are trying to learn from that research, and also from our own analytics data. These days it’s a job category that many developers don’t hire “The Analytics guy”, but I think as we roll towards digital distribution, when you can make changes in realtime, every studio will have one.
SherwoodDungeons, a 3D MMO, has a very low entry barrier. By adopting Shockwave (excellent market presence + hardware accelerated 3D) and generating most of the content the download stay under 2 MB. No need to register either although one can do it if they want to safekeep their character name.
They did a presentation at Austin GDC ’08 if I remember well.