How to Win the Future of Social Mobile Gaming: The Z2Live Story

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go back and get if you left it at home. Mobile gaming is going to be a redundant descriptor when we talk about gaming going forward.” What’s more, he says, “game mechanics have proven to be invaluable outside of gaming”—in areas like education, corporate training, and knowledge transfer. That’s where studying things like game mechanics, game dynamics, emotional connections, and storytelling can provide surprising value.

“Gaming, not as a business but as a mechanic of knowledge transfer and skill development, has a bright, big, impactful future in the world,” Bluhm says. “Now layer that with, it can happen anytime, anyplace, anywhere.”

In talking with Bluhm, one more thing becomes clear. Z2Live’s real value is not just in the “plumbing” to allow mobile social gaming to happen, but in understanding gaming communities. Bluhm says he thinks any technological advantage, in general, won’t last more than six months. “This is the battle cry I use with our team: who’s going to have the understanding of how these fluffy communities that have been built are really [analyzed] in a purposeful and scientific way? That’s the DNA we want to have,” he says. “We’ll know what metrics to track, and which game mechanics to invoke, depending on your goals. That’s a knowledge business, not a plumbing business.”

And a key piece of that knowledge, he says, will be “learning how to grow a community—through monetization growth, or monthly uniques, or time of engagement [session length], frequency, how motivated are they in inviting others, being viral. There’s a few companies on the leading edge of that on the Web, and mobile represents a different dynamic. We have an advantage going forward—we have a billing relationship that people are comfortable with [99 cent iTunes].”

It’s still very early, of course. Last September, Z2Live announced its platform was available for iPhone and iPod Touch game developers. “We’ve proven the technology,” Bluhm says. “We’ve got the best launch partners you could want to have. We know there’ll be some … Next Page »

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