Social Games 2.0: Myth, Fact and a Grand Future

Moderated by:
John Davison (GamePro Media)
Omar Abdelwahed (Ubisoft Entertainment), Ilja Rotelli (Wizards of the Coast), Eric Todd (Playdom), Simon Jeffrey (ngmoco:))
Strategy & Business Models
Location: 2005 Level:
Average rating: ***..
(3.57, 14 ratings)

Social games have become mass market. Facebook alone has many millions of daily active users checking on their farms’ produce, making sure their virtual cafes are clean, and conspiring their next mob hits. Revenue projections are equally exciting, but difficult to confirm. How do you succeed in this landscape? The topics we’ll focus on:

1. What makes a successful social game?

Successful social games exhibit many unique properties. Examples include: facilitating user-to-user messaging about game events to increase virality; themes such as sharing, gifting and nurturing; faster progression tied to monetization. We will discuss the most successful properties seen today.

2. How do you measure success?

Now that you know the successful properties of social games, you must monitor daily how well your game translates these properties to your players. What virtual items sold the best? Which activities drew the most clicks? What did your players share the most with their friends? We will describe how A/B testing helps increase the success of social games.

3. How do you make money?

Social games have two basic revenue generators: micro-transactions and lead generation. There has been a lot of press regarding the validity of lead generation and sparse figures regarding the success of micro-transactions. We will discuss the data that is available today.

4. Q&A

John Davison

GamePro Media

Former 1UP Editorial Director and founder of What They Play. Currently, leading GamePro’s editorial team as Executive Vice President of Content. English guy. Beard. Podcasts.

Photo of Omar Abdelwahed

Omar Abdelwahed

Ubisoft Entertainment

Omar Abdelwahed is a producer at Ubisoft. Based in Ubisoft’s San Francisco office, Abdelwahed is focused on leading Ubisoft’s online games strategy. He is currently in charge of the development of online and social games, including managing industry relationships with social media sites like Facebook and Google. In addition, Abdelwahed has helped launch five Ubisoft titles for the Nintendo DS. They include Imagine Artist, Imagine Jewelry Designer, Petz Nursery, Petz Dogz Talent Show, and Petz Hamsterz Superstarz.

Abdelwahed started down the digital path 20 years ago with a piece of software called “Mosaic,” the first web browser. He continued his journey with a little-known file format called “MP3,” and in 1996 he developed his own independent music site. In 2000, Abdelwahed joined Best Buy as a lead engineer, where he launched several online entertainment and commerce properties.

Photo of Ilja Rotelli

Ilja Rotelli

Wizards of the Coast

Ilja was born and raised in Italy, and he worked and played in the hobby games industry for most of his not-so-adult life. He joined Wizards of the Coast in 1998, and spent the majority of his career building offline and online communities for Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons.

Since 2003, he’s taken the position of Director of Wizards Web Studio, as the lead internet strategist for the company.

Some of the projects he oversees are,,, the social network Wizards Community, and the Faceboook game Dungeons & Dragons: Tiny Adventures.

Ilja was recently taken to lunch at Olive Garden, and he’s considering therapy to recover from the traumatic event.

Eric Todd


Simon Jeffrey


Simon Jeffery brings 22 years of games industry experience to ngmoco after more than four years as president and COO of Sega of America, where he oversaw all publishing and product development activities for the top ten publisher. Prior to Sega, Jeffery was president and COO of LucasArts. Jeffery moved to LucasArts in 1998 after working in a number of marketing, business, and development roles for Virgin Interactive and Electronic Arts, both in the United States and Europe.

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