With the global game industry expected to grow from $52 billion in 2011 to $70 billion in 2017, according to DFC Intelligence, and social and mobile games making up a larger and larger portion of that business, there are more opportunities than ever to develop games that not only entertain, but tap into this extraordinary cross-platform revenue potential.
With that said, it’s critical that brands and advertisers understand the revenue-generating power of each platform to help them create games that maximize success from both a user and revenue standpoint.
Here are three key strategies help maximize your success.
Base new games on popular game mechanics that will immediately resonate with players. Why do game developers reuse popular game mechanics over and over again regardless of platform? The bottom line is they work -- and it isn’t always necessary to fix what isn’t broken.
While innovation is key in game design for various platforms, and it’s important to look for the next best mechanic, using something that already works, or improving on something that is popular, is the best way to go. The game enters the market at a quicker pace, there is less risk and it’s less expensive to develop. Leave the experimental game design to the companies who spend their livelihood inventing new mechanics. Rely on them to help modify already-proven ones to fit your platform.
Support customization for games to keep them fresh. Would you go to a news site if the same stories were on that site every single day? Of course you wouldn’t. The reason you keep going back for more is because the content is fresh and you want to see what is changing.
The same concept should apply in game development. With so many options for people to play new titles, existing games should be continually revisited to help drive repeat traffic. The goal is to keep your players constantly wanting to discover what it new in your game. Everything from a seasonal theme to new virtual items or new game levels can keep players engaged and asking for more. Think of the extended life that Rovio has gotten out of its hit “Angry Birds” (on mobile and Facebook), with seasonal and themed variations that countless users have downloaded.
Monitor game performance across demographics and locations over time so you can learn from your successes and failures. As with any marketing campaign, it is very important to understand your target demographic and where your games are being served. Visitors to a magazine web site geared toward middle-aged women may be less interested in a shoot-em-up game, but jazzed about Mahjongg. On the flip side, Mahjongg may not be the right game for a site dedicated to sporting enthusiasts.
Survey your players to find out what they like about the game and what they didn’t like, and where they typically play games. Ask them pointed questions and use their answers to reinvest in game design and development. Don’t just create a game for a new platform if none of your players use it. Interact with your customers wisely and as often as possible.
What other tips do you have on game development? Share them in the comments below.