Develop 2010: The Instant Action CEO on what traditional games must learn from the casual and social sector

Louis Castle: All games must be free to experience

Speaking at the opening keynote of today’s Develop Conference, Instant Action CEO Louis Castle has suggested that all games must be free to sample and discover, and proposed that while the traditional console and PC gaming industry will continue to exist, it has to take on more of the business ecosystem of the casual industry.

"Today people want their entertainment for free," said the former VP of creative development at EA, in a session titled ‘Traditional Games Breaking into Social Networks: A View From the Frontline’.

"That doesn’t mean they wont pay for it. So games don’t have to be free in their entirety; they just have to be free to discover."

In his session, which examined potential parallels between the traditional and casual gaming industry, Castle suggested there is plenty to learn from ‘disruptive networks’ like Zynga and Facebook, which he presented as a template of the future of traditional gaming.

"The ubiquitous sharing of content is what we as users have been trained to do," said Castle, pointing to the way consumers share the likes of Youtube videos via Facebook without any requirement to visit the source website.

While free game demos are still widely available, Castle’s "thesis" pointed to the fact that developers of traditional and triple-A titles must consider adapting to harness the potential of the the ubiquitous ecosystems created by the new wave of social and casual companies.

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