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The Art of LiveOps

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The Art of LiveOps

James Gwertzman and Crystin Cox

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The Art of LiveOps podcast provides an in-depth perspective on modern game development and shares stories behind some of the most successful LiveOps strategies. Join our hosts, James Gwertzman and Crystin Cox, as they interview a variety of game development professionals in the industry. Presented by Azure PlayFab, if you are interested in learning more about LiveOps visit PlayFab.com. Download the latest episode transcript at aka.ms/LiveOpsPodcast.
 
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show series
 
David Nisshagen is an executive producer at Mojang Studio in Stockholm working on Minecraft Dungeons. He previously worked on other MMOs including Anarchy Online and Battlefield 3. He got his start as a video editor in the marketing industry which lead to his career in LiveOps Gaming. David and Crystin discuss the difference between satisfying your…
 
Austin Walker is the IP Director at Possibility Space. He was previously host of "Waypoint Radio" and he co-founded "Friends at the Table" (an actual play podcast). His work as a freelance writer in the video game journalism space has been featured on GameSpot and Paste. He's also written several short fiction pieces and comics. Austin and Crystin …
 
Terry Redfield is the Creative Director of London for Niantic Games. She's was a founder in the mobile games space and a designer across many different LiveOps projects including Psychonauts, Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. In her 27 year career, she's worked on many platform, mobile, PC and Facebook games. Terry and Crystin discuss di…
 
Oscar Clark is Chief Strategy Officer at Fundamentally Games where he helps game teams understand what LiveOps is and how to make LiveOps work for them. He has a long history in LiveOps dating back to the late 90s. He's worked for the online games service, Wireplay; the UK mobile operator, Three; and for PlayStation Home, an early virtual world pro…
 
Bob Holtzman is a consultant in the video game industry. He's worked with a variety of teams, including Riot Games, Kerbal Space Program, and Nexon doing communications, PR and community management. Bob joins Crystin to chat about the importance of media coverage for live service games; why game developers need to involve influencers and streamers …
 
Kim Swift is Senior Director of Cloud Gaming at Xbox Game Studios Publishing. She is best known for her work on "Portal" with Valve. She has touched a lot of different technologies across the industry, having worked at Amazon, Twitch, E.A., Motive, and Google. Kim talks about her hopes and dreams for the future of cloud gaming and what it means for…
 
Jason Girard is the Director of Live Services and Technical Program Management at ProbablyMonsters, building the next generation of Live Operations from the ground up in a developer focused way. He's been in the games industry for over 10 years building and supporting platform level technologies at the scale of millions of players across multiple g…
 
Jill Braff, GM of Integrations and Mobile Games at Microsoft, has a 25 year career in gaming and media. She's worked on early console games with Nintendo, Sega and Konami; helped build Glu mobile through the launch of the iPhone; and spent a decade in media at Home Shopping Network and the Ellen DeGeneres show. She currently works with the Zenimax …
 
As the general manager for Destiny 2, Justin Truman is responsible for the overall success and health of the Destiny product, business, and team. He spends his days helping to empower Bungie’s teams to make Destiny 2 the best it can be, and to have the best possible working experience while doing so. Since joining Bungie in 2010, Justin has influen…
 
Alex Hunnisett (@Blondagles) has been serving as Head of Live Service at Rare, supporting Sea of Thieves on its continued voyage into Live Operations. Having originally cut his teeth in digital and product marketing before taking the leap into game development, Alex has worked with several studios supporting their Games through Communications, Comm…
 
Chris Campbell is a principal designer at Supersocial Games and focuses on making games for the Roblox platform. Chris will enlighten us on a range of topics including his first job fielding player questions at Nintendo; the switch from premium to free-to-play; his experience with creating content on the Roblox Platform; his perspective on what the…
 
Ben Jones (@Bagelbeard) is a creative director at Zenimax Online Studios where he’s working to build an ambitious IP from scratch. Ben has been a key contributor in AAA game development for 20 years, working on several high-impact titles in a variety of roles including MAG and Battlefield. His passion for games got him started in the business, but …
 
Troy Skinner is a researcher at Immersyve who studies both games and game designers to learn why people play video games and what keeps them engaged. He works with behavioral scientists and psychologists to operationalize these insights to make game design decisions. In this episode, Troy discusses the importance of providing players with consisten…
 
Crystin Cox and James Gwertzman are back again for Season 3 of the Art of LiveOps podcast. Listen in to see what’s in store for this season. New episodes will be posted every Tuesday starting April 26th, 2022. Support the show (http://microsoftgamestack.com)
 
Who really runs the show these days at games studios? Today’s guest, Patrick McGrath, makes a solid case for the Product Leads and PMs who are thinking long-term and making sure the studio is making the right decisions for all the games, and all the players, for many years to come. He also points out some exciting ways that other businesses are sta…
 
Ever wondered why certain games thrive in one cultural context and bomb in another? Saumya Iyer, a LiveOps expert helping mobile games thrive in India, is here to explain the incredible impact of a shared cultural context and sense of community on a game’s success in any given market. This is a must-listen if you’re expanding internationally, or wo…
 
GamePoint’s BINGO has been going strong for fifteen years and counting. How do they do it? Wouter Schrijvershof, a veteran Community Manager and now LiveOps Manager at GamePoint, is here to share some of the secrets of their longevity. Spoiler alert: it’s all about transparency, responsiveness, establishing genuine connections, and keeping it fresh…
 
What do you think of when you hear the word marketing? If it isn’t excellent storytelling and bringing communities together through trust and transparency, you may want to give today’s episode a listen. Nick Clifford (@SuidmoX), Marketing Director for Phoenix Labs, will transform your thinking around what good games marketing is, what it isn’t, and…
 
Bryan Mashinter, a true LiveOps expert, packs so much actionable wisdom into this episode it’s practically bursting at the seams. Listen to learn why you should be focused on creating win-win scenarios, why you need more content than you think you do, how many events in a row is too many, and so much more! Support the show (http://microsoftgamestac…
 
When you think about the top game platforms in the world, though Roblox may not immediately spring to mind, it should. With over 15 million games and 150 million players, Roblox is the #1 gaming site for kids and teens, and is growing in popularity across all demographics. Listen as Jay Jodway, Head of Top Developer, outlines how, and why, Roblox e…
 
Today we are joined by Ben Cousins, an expert with 21 years experience in the Free-To-Play and Games-as-a-Service space. Listen as Ben offers a sneak preview into the future of games as services. Support the show (http://microsoftgamestack.com)โดย James Gwertzman and Crystin Cox
 
LiveOps isn’t just for mobile games and MMOs, it’s an essential part of the console design process as well, and has been for a very long time. Hamish Young, Sr. Technical Designer at Avalanche Studios, has been a producer and designer in the games industry for over a decade, and has plenty of wisdom to share. Listen as James and Crystin discover ju…
 
Are you nourishing innovation? Or are you killing creativity by shutting down out-there ideas? Brett Nowak, creator of Liquid and Grit, the leading product research company in mobile gaming, is here to inspire you to up-level your studio through a balance of risk-taking and solid product planning. Support the show (http://microsoftgamestack.com)…
 
Today we’re talking with Rich Vogel, who coined the term “live operations” to let his team know they weren’t just doing “maintenance” any more, and who, in addition to writing the first Community Manager job description, discovered the secret to great community management: hire theatre majors! Support the show (http://microsoftgamestack.com)…
 
Game narrative is far more than just words and cinematic sequences. In this week’s episode, award-winning narrative director Tom Abernathy lays out for us how narrative functions within games, and why it’s so much more important, and omnipresent, than most people realize. Support the show (http://microsoftgamestack.com)…
 
Striking a balance between engagement and appeasement can be tricky. Happily, Tim Nixon, Director of Online Experience at ThatGameCompany, has some very actionable advice to share on how to construct effective live events, how to acknowledge player feedback without becoming reactionary, and where to focus your energy. Support the show (http://micro…
 
Today we are joined by Jason Coleman, founder and CEO of Sparkypants, specializing in Long-Play, Cross-Platform Strategy Games. Listen as Jason explains how the roles of Developers, Players and Publishers have changed in this brave new LiveOps world. Support the show (http://microsoftgamestack.com)โดย James Gwertzman and Crystin Cox
 
We’ve all heard the dire news of the death of PC Gaming. And Mobile Gaming. And even Gaming itself. Happily, though, reports of their death have been greatly exaggerated. In this, our second episode of season two, LiveOps veteran and eSports innovator Demetri Detsaridis explains why there will always be a market for a wide range of game types, why …
 
To help you on your LiveOps journey we have filled season 2 with valuable lessons, perspectives, and disaster stories. In each episode we sit down with game creators from across the industry working at the cutting edge of LiveOps. These interviews will provide you with the information you need to start implementing a LiveOps mindset within your stu…
 
LiveOps: it’s not just for games anymore! Season Two kicks off with a bang as Andrea Doyon shares his insights on how to make use of a great LiveOps tool stack not just to give flexibility and autonomy to game designers, but to advertisers, marketers, and so much more. Make sure you never miss an episode! Subscribe on SoundCloud, iTunes, Spotify, B…
 
This week we talk with Daniel McLaren, a LiveOps Designer with decades of industry experience. Tune in and hear about his experiences and how LiveOps has evolved through the years. Support the show (http://microsoftgamestack.com)โดย James Gwertzman and Crystin Cox
 
Today we are joined by Torfi Olafsson, the game director for Minecraft Earth. Listen as he shares and talks about his experiences working on online and MMO games since 1999. Support the show (http://microsoftgamestack.com)โดย James Gwertzman and Crystin Cox
 
Join James and Crystin as they talk with Jennifer Lane, a design director at Turn 10. Hear about her experiences working on the console focused franchise, Forza, and how she helped the team make the transition from traditional boxed products to live games. Support the show (http://microsoftgamestack.com)…
 
Linsey Murdock joins us today from ArenaNet where she is the Lead Game Designer for Living World working on the Guild Wars franchise. As a LiveOps veteran Linsey brings a unique perspective and discusses how game narratives meet live games. Support the show (http://microsoftgamestack.com)โดย James Gwertzman and Crystin Cox
 
In today's episode we talk with a group of folks working on the game franchise, Hitman at IO Interactive. IO Interactive is on a similar journey, taking a hit franchise with a traditional box distribution model and moving to a live model, that many game studios are on today. Listen in for some key takeaways about how to make this transition as smoo…
 
Today on The Art of LiveOps podcast, we are joined by David Edery co-founder and CEO of Spry Fox. Listen as he talks about the mindset shift to LiveOps in #gamedevelopment and how the nature of marketing has changed and what this means for games. Support the show (http://microsoftgamestack.com)โดย James Gwertzman and Crystin Cox
 
In today's episode we are joined by Michail Katkoff, the Head of Studio for Rovio Entertainment, a company best known for its Angry Birds franchise. Michail has a lot of experience looking deeply at games and game design through the modern lens and will share his views of some industry trends and patterns across different games. Support the show (h…
 
Today we are joined by Emily Greer. She is the founder and CEO of Double Loop Games, a new mobile studio currently in stealth mode, and also the former CEO of Kongregate. She will share some insights into how to build a successful LiveOps strategy and talk about the evolution games and studios must go through to be successful with LiveOps. Support …
 
In today’s episode we hear from Scott Hartsman, an industry veteran at launching online games and platforms. He has worked on nothing but live games for his whole career and has a wealth of knowledge to share on those experiences. Support the show (http://microsoftgamestack.com)โดย James Gwertzman and Crystin Cox
 
Today we are joined by Tim Train, CEO of Big Huge Games 2.0. Tune in for some Big Huge Lessons on the difference a great LiveOps strategy can make. Support the show (http://microsoftgamestack.com)โดย James Gwertzman and Crystin Cox
 
In today’s episode we hear from Oliver Loffler, co-founder and CTO of Kolibri Games. Kolibri Games was founded 3 year ago and is considered one of the ultimate LiveOps success stories. We will hear about how he and his studio subscribed to an “Early LiveOps Integration” mentality as well as some advice to others looking to integrate LiveOps into th…
 
Today we are joined by Dave Rohrl, who has over 25 years of experience in the games industry and currently runs a small mobile game consultancy called Mobile Game Doctor. Fun fact: Dave was the inspiration for “Crazy Dave” in Plants Vs. Zombies! In today’s episode we will learn about the rise in the adoption of a LiveOps mindset in game studios as …
 
Is there a template for free-to-play game success? In this two-for-one episode, Peter Eykemans and Tammy Levy, who both work in monetization at Kongregate, share the blueprint they use to help their entire portfolio of games engage, retain, and monetize players. Support the show (http://microsoftgamestack.com)…
 
Steve Meretzky has been called the Steven Spielberg of adventure games, and the funniest man in the game business. Seeing his name on a game box is akin to seeing The Beatles on an album cover, and his resume reads like a best-of compilation. In this week’s episode, this game design all-star talks about what LiveOps looked like back in 1982 and the…
 
Have you ever invited your players out to lunch? If not, Scott Koenigsberg has some great advice for you in the third episode of The Art of LiveOps podcast. Scott is the head of product and ad monetization at Zygna where he has worked for over 10 years. In this episode, he talks about Zynga's culture of experimentation and shares his experiences on…
 
Mike Pagano, bringer of doom, wants you to know that if you’re not focusing on this, you’re gonna fail. What is it? Find out in this, our second episode of The Art of LiveOps. Mike Pagano, an early pioneer in the LiveOps mobile space, shares with us some lessons about LiveOps, as well as diving into how and why it developed in the first place. Supp…
 
What do you think is the #1 predictor for retention? In our first episode, we talk with Raph Koster, a legendary game designer who has worked in online games since 1993 and was the lead designer behind Ultima Online as well as the creative director for Star Wars Galaxies. Raph was there at the birth of modern LiveOps in early MUDs and MMORPG games,…
 
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