Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
CHAPTER
FOUR
Why Create a Social
Game?
4.1 Social Games Put a Lot of Power in the Hands
of the Developers
Making games for social platforms and monetizing them according to the
new techniques can restore a great deal of power to your development teams.
However, as the cliché goes, with great power comes great responsibility.
Modern social game design and monetization will free you from the tyranny
of top tier publishers and unwieldy budgets that, paradoxically, as often as
not end up restricting your creativity. (Just ask anyone who has attempted
to build a AAA retail product how “helpful” publisher oversight can be, not
to mention the vast sea of accounting that goes along with a sizable budget.)
Yet the freedom that comes with social games and in-game monetization has
its own type of price. The monetization techniques themselves, as well as the
unique nature of the audience you're courting, force traditional game designers
to think about game design differently and to react much, much more quickly
than they would with traditional retail console or MMO games. If you set your
prices incorrectly or try to charge for the wrong types of “products,” you'll lose
sales. But luckily, there are no rules on what you can, must, or even should
charge for! Perhaps you charge to play as different types of characters in your
game. Or maybe characters are free but equipment costs. The flexibility about
which features and content your users can be asked to pay for gives you huge
latitude, but also puts a heavy onus on you to get it right, or to change things
quickly if you turn out to be wrong.
And the same philosophy must guide other elements of the game design
and implementation. If part of your UI is clumsy, opaque, or generates friction
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