Generally speaking, there's an assumption that casual games are a waste of time. What can playing a "meaningless" Facebook game for a few minutes really accomplish, anyways? Do I really need to "rescue" another "sheep"? Another point of view is that they're a little bit sinister, manipulating you into emptying your wallet, or giving up personal information. But perhaps both positions are missing the point. This new genre we call "Casual Social Games" represents a fascinating opportunity to better understand our own behavior, and to direct it, intentionally, for our own benefit, and for the greater good of society.
Adam L. Penenberg is a journalism professor and assistant director of the Business and Economic Program at New York University. A contributing writer to Fast Company, he has also written for Inc., Forbes, The New York Times, Slate, Wired, Economist, Techcrunch, and Mother Jones. A former senior editor at Forbes and reporter for Forbes.com, Penenberg garnered national attention in 1998 for unmasking serial fabricator Stephen Glass of The New Republic. Penenberg's story was a watershed for online investigative journalism and is portrayed in the film "Shattered Glass" (Steve Zahn plays Penenberg). His most recent book, Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today's Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves (Hyperion, 2009), has been published in the U.S., U.K., Brazil, Japan and Korea, and will soon come out in China.
Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch was previously the C.O.O. of Deep Fried Entertainment, a PSP, DS and Wii development studio in Yaletown, Vancouver. As C.O.O. of Deep Fried, Brenda oversaw all operations of the studio and brought five console games to market for publishers Sega and Take Two Sports.
Bailey Gershkovtich’s newest endeavor is Silicon Sisters Interactive, a female focused studio building games for Women and Girls. Launched in September 2010, the studio will bring three games to market in 2011.
Bailey Gershkovitch frequently speaks at Conferences on a wide range of issues including: Women in Games, Change Management, and Studio Culture. She is the Chair of Women in Games Vancouver, a board member of the Canadian Video Game Awards and an Advisory Board member of GDC Canada.
Jason Brown is Vice President, Marketing & Player Insights at Zynga. His teams' work is to understand players well enough to deliver the most fun and social game experience. Before Zynga, Jason drove customer focus at eBay, as VP of Consumer Loyalty (North America), Strategy (Global), and Product & User Experience (UK). Earlier in his career Jason worked in product development and strategy at Priceline Europe, Lycos, The Parthenon Group, and Ernst & Young. After studying Architecture at Georgia Tech, he was a NSF Fellow at Cambridge University and a Baker Scholar at Harvard Business School. Jason gets many player experience insights for Zynga games from his 3 children.
Michael is the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Ayogo Games Inc., and is dedicated to the idea that playing is one of the most productive things we can do. He’s been an entrepreneur and innovator on the Web for over 15 years, and the games he has developed have been played by millions on computers and Smartphones all over the world. This year, Michael has been invited to speak on game design at SXSW, Vancouver’s F5 Expo, Games and Health – Vid Week, Banff Television Festival and NextMedia in Toronto, and has been featured by the Vancouver Sun, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CBC, and the Globe and Mail. Michael lives in Vancouver with his beautiful wife and four amazing children.
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