Game development has been quite the wild wild west for the past 2 decades as new emerging markets have popped up everywhere giving designers, producers, engineers, artists an opportunity to quit their day job and seek out their own indie dreams.
This multi-billion dollar industry has blown up so much that my friends stop making fun of me for playing games but actually seek my advice on how to monetize their next billion dollar idea. Many have jumped into the industry as a means to validate their ideas on what a good game is or the strategy to make a quick dollar as the demand was and will always be there.
Starting up a game company is a difficult task today as the expectation of a game from a user perspective has become, at times, unachievable. Providing games for free to play to users has relinquished the power from the developers to the players. What this means, is that in the modern era of game development, the developers are at the mercy to their community to provide an experience they like and want. Which in hindsight makes complete sense, but it wasn't necessarily like this during the console era. But I digress.
For those interested in getting into this space, it’s important that you formulate your team to one of these strengths:
Create Innovative Gameplay
Design on trend / tolerable Meta System that keeps players grinding
Comprehensive liveops tech or strategy to keep players coming back
Confidence in executing 1 of the above 3 strategies created successful companies but with the market so saturated excelling in 2 out of the 3 is almost a requirement to get any returns in your investment.
Lets dig deeper into these strategies:
A) Creating innovative Gameplay
Innovation is word readily used but rarely achieved. This is because creating a gameplay that the masses adoption and is enjoyed is a tall task. There are many reasons why but the number of games that are available in the market and this fragmentation of personal taste in genre is hard for players to come together and enjoy a specific game plays a huge factor in why many developers fail to innovate.
Recently, games like
are good examples on how they innovated the gameplay that the masses adopted and have achieved massive success in the market today.
Structuring your development team to thrive for innovation will require a strong engineering and design team that understand the game engagement trends and having the creative understand to provide a unique game play experience.
And ‘this’ is easier said than done.
B) Best in Class Meta System
Meta systems are defined as the secondary or tertiary loops in the game that players are required to farm resources in order to upgrade their Player, Weapon, Armor, Base, Equipment, whatever the designer wants them to grind.
These meta systems are the ones that usually have the legs in your game and players are willing to grind and jump through hoops for. Best in Class is a concept that takes popular meta system that comps utilize and innovate from it since the assumption here is that players can stomach thees grinds. The objective is to create an enjoyable grind experience that players can participate to millennium as this becomes their daily routine in the game.
Understanding tolerable / enjoyable grind and also on trend grind will be dependent on how strong your design team is in designing these system and your tech if you can support the multiple different ways to drip your resources.
For example, a meta system you can design for your RPG game can be the following:
Energy Cap system for PVE (Capping them at 10 Attempts) - 30 Mins (3 mins a match)
Daily Mission System: Complete 1-3 Mission to earn <x> Exclusive Reward
Daily Dungeon: Unlocks Once a day for players to farm <x> Exclusive
reward. (Capped at 3 Attempts)
Based on the number of exclusive rewards you have in your game. You can set out your meta system design and push players towards maximizing their engagement in your product.
C) Comprehensive Liveops Strategy.
A good liveops strategy will have players constantly coming back to the product to keep up with the new events that are constantly occurring in the game. You can trigger these types of behavior by establishing the following with your liveops schedule:
Value Added / Limited Time Bundles
Constant Content Update
New Character / Armor / Gear
With these 3 axis as your liveops strategy, you can provide your players a game where new and interesting things are constantly happening in your product. It’s also important to remember that these liveops efforts won’t necessarily be as effective as you want it, if your meta system or game play isn’t engaging enough. Assume this as your last piece to catapult your revenue to newer heights. Currently, in the mobile space, a lot of developer are finding success with the below 2 combination within your product
Innovative Game Play + Comprehensive Liveops Strategy
Best in class meta system + Comprehensive Liveops Strategy
To conclude, when you’re thinking of getting into the mobile gaming space with the attempt to be a top developer make sure your team has the capabilities and skill set to create such experience and approaching it with the mindset of the 3 most common strategies will help you achieve success in the long run.