May Newsletter

Happy May Day! I hope this month's check-in finds you well and raring to go!

Last week we held another terrific UDEN meeting, which was well attended; there was energetic networking and for which we received some excellent, positive feedback. UDEN #22 was held at one of Utah's leading entertainment studios, WildWorks, a long-time sponsor and supporter of UDEN.

Whether you're a film maker, videogame maker or otherwise involved in interactive entertainment, I urge you to read Clark Stacey's fascinating keynote, which you can find here.

Read-on for more...



WildWorks' Animal Jam, built right here in Utah, is the most popular online playground for kids in the world with over 100 million registered users. Animal Jam is as much a social network as it is a videogame, boasting some incredible engagement numbers -- for example:

  • Daily play time is over 50 minutes. That rises to 70 minutes in the school holidays;
  • Animal Jam has 2x+ the engagement numbers of a Nickelodeon or Disney Channel;
  • The trading volume among kids exchanging virtual items is roughly equivalent to the Australian stock exchange everyday; about
    650,000 trades!
  • Kids create tens of thousands of new avatars daily, alongside art submissions using the provided creativity tools.

Clark talked about how much they communicate and interact with their audience and use that data to inform future decision making. As an example, they realized that some of their original players are hungry for something more age appropriate as they have gotten older. The result will be a new game, Feral, which will launch later this year. It will be an online reality show for mythological animals, something that still has the Animal Jam filters, still has protections, still a walled garden but the walls are a little lower than Animal Jam. This is a place where WildWorks hope they can encourage some better net citizenship by having some guardrails on the online interaction as players get older, progressing from one realm to the next.

Among the advice Clark offered to aspiring game creators, was:

  • Know the law: if you're making online content and collecting data from someone that might be a child, get familiar with COPPA and GDPR as these are increasingly governing the online culture and will be doing so for at least the next decade. It's no joke: ignorance of the law is not an excuse and the fines you could receive for non-compliance could put you out of business. The meeting recap includes explanations and links, including Safe Habor Programs that can offer you protections;
  • Funding is not your first priority; building a credible, talented team should be your first concern;
  • Start by making games the team you've assembled can actually deliver; your first game is not going to be your only shot so work your way up to that magnum opus;
  • Find under-served audiences or fantasies. There are so many out there if you take the time to look.

Clark wrapped up by answering questions from the enthusiastic audience, on subjects including managing 'crunch' hours; lessons film makers can take from videogames; making physical toys based on games; working with National Geographic and Clark's hope for the future of digital entertainment in Utah.

As usual, we'll put the video of the whole meeting up onto our YouTube channel (just as soon as we get time to do the edit!). In the meanwhile, if you were there or if you missed the meeting, it's worthwhile to read the meeting recap.

HUGE thanks once again to Clark, Joy and the WildWorks team for their sponsorship, warm welcome and such a great meeting!

Watch our social media and website for details of UDEN #23, which we'll be announcing in the coming weeks! You won't want to miss it!


You may recall in our April Newsletter, we talked about the possibility of UDEN providing more useful benefits to our members - such as healthcare or pension plans - which we thought might be beneficial as you move from job to job through your career, or to provide some security if you're a freelance/contractor.  During UDEN #22 I presented the results so far -- disappointingly, we only heard back from around 1% of you, which is not enough to help us make any decisions one way or another.  So please, can I ask those of you that have not yet responded, to take a few minutes and send us your input?  We included the link at the top of our website, but you can also access the survey directly here:

Please? Pretty please?

Many thanks! 


If you are an indie game developer, streamer, film maker, podcaster, board game creator, if you create arts, crafts or other entertainment and you would like to get feedback from real consumers, why not take a booth at this year’s Salt Lake Gaming Con? It's now one of the top 10 in the nation; it’s huge and will be held at the end of next month at the Salt Palace, downtown Salt Lake City.  Booths are almost sold out but if you move fast, perhaps they can get you on the showfloor at a great price. 


Email them at [email protected].  Full details about the show here: Let them know UDEN put you in touch!


Many terrific events coming up in the month of May and you can find the best of them on the UDEN website events page!  Please do check them out - here:  


REMEMBER: if you have an upcoming event you would like to share with UDEN members, you can add it to our website for FREE on the same page!

From all of us at UDEN, our thanks for your continued support,

     - Jon Dean

Join Our Community:


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.