GameSlam Looks to Build On Its Rookie Baseball Gaming Season
GameSlam Looks To continue It’s rookie Of the year Baseball Gaming Season
The recent acquisition of PopCap by EA Sports once again shows how close the world of casual gaming and traditional consol games are coming together. Still, in sports there remains a gap between the casual sports fan who may also play social games, and the die hard fantasy player who follows his favorite team and gets deeply involved in stats. Into that void, the marrying of fantasy with casual gaming, has gone a number of companies, the most successful of which has been Chicago based GameSlam. Launched in April, GameSlam has undergone a simplification of its original product while steadily building an audience following for fans who like baseball but need more engagement than just watching a team play on a given night. The hat rooms fill as an MLB game goes along, with players using points to guess on the next pitch, hot or homer, all following a live feed from Stats inc.
GameSlam has also experimented with some fun viral video, and brought in Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen for a wide ranging set of interviews, very little of which has to do with baseball (Dancing With The Stars, yes, White Sox pitching rotation, no). The result has garnered the product some critical acclaim and lots of street cred as baseball passes the halfway point of the season.
We felt it was a good time to go back to co-founder Kenny Mazursky to see how GameSlam has evolved since launch, what has worked, what has not, and what is coming up next in the world of social and casual gaming.
- What was the biggest change that has made the biggest impact since launch?
There have been a lot as we continue to evolve the game. I would say the changes we've made based on fan feedback have been significant. We realize that fans primarily want to watch the game. So we refined the way GameSlam is played to better enhance/compliment the game viewing experience. The single change that has made the biggest impact on the game so far has been our move from asking players to predict generic "good events" that might occur in the game to asking them to predict much more specific game events. This change in gameplay has allowed us to simultaneously make the game much simpler and much deeper. It is simpler because players understand exactly what calls they are rooting for and how they will be rewarded for them. Concurrently, it is a deeper game because you can make so many different kinds of predictions and develop a full strategy with them. For example, the rarer or more outlandish the prediction (eg. triple play), the higher the reward, but if all you have selected are the rare predictions, you may not earn very many points throughout the game like you might with the ever-present strike.Continued on the next page