This is Part 1 of a new installment called, planning out your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and today i would like to discuss about choosing your feature set carefully based on all the different features that exist in the market today.

Whether you’re prioritizing your feature set for a currently existing game or figuring out your feature set for a new product, A Product Manager are usually in a tough position to make a choice that moves the needle as every feature cost real dollars to implement and if you’re not growing your product, you’re probably doing the opposite.

For this post, I would like to provide advice to new or existing product managers, producers or designers about the importance of prioritizing your feature set and having a nice balance of features to create the best user experience to the end user.

When planning out your MVP,  I usually like to look at the totem pole features that will provide guidance on the weakness and strength of your product.

These Totem poles usually emphasize the core structure of your game and usually provide guidance on feature priority as you progress into the liveops stages of your product.  Lets take a look at these Totem Poles

A) Gameplay

This is the engagement piece of the game, you are trying to sell to your users. Usually developed and figured out during your pre-production phase in development but the gameplay piece is the the unique proposition versus the competitors in the market and creates the “WOW’ factor for players to download the product.

B) Vertical Progression

Vertical Progression is essentially your power creep system or ranking system where players are motivated to move up a ladder or power to advance further into the game or claim bragging rights. 

    • In PVE it’s achieved by unlocking and leveling up the best equipment or characters in the game, and
    • In a PVP game it’s about obtaining a higher rank in the game, or as i mentioned earlier, the braggin’ rights of the game.

C) Horizontal Progression

Horizontal Progression is the concept of getting players to move off their main Equipment or Characters and start leveling up their other equipment in the game.  

Horizontal Progression is a good totem pole to re-convert your customer base and is recommended that this is implemented in as the core loop of your game, or the effectiveness can potentially be diminished

D) Appointment Mechanic

Appointment Mechanic are systems that attempt to get your players back into the game, very similar to how dentists attempt to setup your next appointment after you finished your current one, so that the user can continue to come back to the same practice or for this post your app.

Appointment mechanics can be very effective to increase your retention rate.

E) Customer Creation Feature

Customer creation features are features to turn your players into customers.

F) Customer Re-conversion Feature

Customer re-conversion features are features that re-convert existing customers in your game.

Customer creation and Customer Re-conversion systems should be thought and approached systematically as the customer behaviour for these cohorts are very different.

G) Organic

Organic features are features that will help provide my visibility to your game in the web and potentially garner new users into your game without spending.  

Ideally, in this competitive space now, any top end developer is required to have features for all the totem poles listed up above. By establishing your benchmark for each main feature will give your product the best chance of success 

What i recommend is for your team to list out all your features and plot them into the top section above.  There will also be features that fit into 2 different totem poles but it’s important to plot <x> features into its core value, any 2 for 1 feature is great but making sure that your product has a strong base is crucial for the success of your game.

Good luck

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