Last week we braved the rain and heavy wind to visit Digital Chocolate in San Mateo. Their office is cleverly hidden in a cluster of office buildings near the San Mateo Commons Shopping Center but with our amazing Google Maps navigation skills, we were able to find it in no time. Digital Chocolate is a social games developer founded by Trip Hawkins in 2003 and to date, their offices span all over the world with locations in Spain, India, Finland, and Mexico.
Their newest game on Facebook is Zombie Lane in which you smack zombies with a shovel, or home-made flaming boxing gloves while trying to rescue your significant other, your dog, and survive in the zombie-infested future.
Our visit was pretty informal with Saurin and Paul leading the Q&A followed by a short presentation from their GDC talk. Some interesting points were brought up such as the benefit of free-to-play games versus set-price games. In free-to-play, a player doesn’t have a limit on how much they can spend. Of course only a small percentage of players purchase in-app items but those who do might spend significantly more than if they just paid the set price. This behavior, Digital Chocolate shared with us, is called whale capturing. Another game design insight they shared with us when looking to design your game is to look for what’s missing, see if there is a market for your product and to go niche instead of trying to appeal to everyone. Thank you, Digital Chocolate, for a wonderful visit!