Game Development Reference
Interview with Janus Anderson: Gaming and the
a real economy, make things inside the economy really valuable instead
of just bubblegum gifting. “Hey man, I crafted this super cool thing, and
you really want it because it's gonna make your life awesome!” There's a
deeper level of social interaction than what we've got right now.
Q: So does Blizzard showing up on the Facebook platform give you
A: I'm not really worried about any competitors showing up in the space.
They've got a few years of things to learn. The cost of acquisition is really
high, and making money off of free players is a really hard problem, so
setting up a game that doesn't lose money initially is difficult. On top of
that, viral channels are still useful, but you can't expect to have greater-
than-one viral coefficients, like back in the day, where “I get millions of
customers for free!” Well, you can forget that now, because there are too
many ways in which Facebook has clamped down. And on top of that
there's the “Facebook tax” where they take 30 percent off the top.
Tread carefully. Pay careful attention to what your competitors are
doing. Finding a business model that someone else did that really worked
is a great place to start. Look at Ravenwood Fair . It was really just a clone
of FrontierVille , with some nice art. But those guys knocked it out of the
park by paying close attention to the way things were constructed. It's not
a bad thing to clone other games if you think there's not a lot of competi-
tion, or if you think you can bring something new to the table.