The Sims Series has sold over 150 million games in 10 years. But in just six months, 70 million players have already played The Sims Social. This transition from a AAA franchise into a successful free-to-play social game was a major design challenge.
Drawing on this experience, this talk looks at how designers new to "social" have to adjust their approaches and design philosophies. We'll also discuss different types of choice, building a strong ranking system, and the conflict of design and monetization.
Finally, learn how the "human element" makes The Sims Social stand out amongst its peers, why in-game relationships could be the next big trend, and how you might harness these things for your games.
The audience will learn specific design approaches and tips for success in social games around simplicity, ranking systems, and choice, and will gain insight into harnessing in-game relationships for better engagement and virality.
Edit - 2015
Note that although I gave this talk at the height of Facebook gaming, many of the lessons and visions apply to the oncoming wave of Virtual Reality devices (Oculus Rift, Microsoft HoloLens, Sony Project Morpheus, Valve's Vive) and their experiences. I believe that VR will not be as large a platform for games as it is for shared experiences and creations, and a platform for the relationships and channels that arise from such content.
Designers new to social games, designers in the traditional space looking for insight from social games, or any designer interested in learning from The Sims.
Watch Narration of my Slides in an Embedded YouTube Video:
(I recommend watching from the GDC Vault for the original experience.) Otherwise, I recommend watching directly on YouTube and then choosing full screen because the slides are in HD. But if you prefer, you can watch it right here: