Game Development Reference
You're never done
Let's say you do produce a great game, and you do manage to fend off
your competitors. Your worries still aren't over. If you don't immediately
begin building up a portfolio of games, users who get bored with your first
offering (and eventually, they always do) will transition away from you to a
competitor's product. All it takes is a small migration of their friends, and
then you've lost even your most die-hard fans. The games are built to be
social, after all.
Nothing's free to you
If you don't monetize cleverly, you'll be paying server cloud costs for hitchhik-
ers who play your game without ever giving you a penny. Free-to-play is great
if you're the customer; if you're the creator or owner, it's only great insofar as it
gives you a chance to monetize more users.
Cheaters sometimes win
If you don't safeguard against cheaters and exploits, your game economy will
fall apart and the currency you hoped would translate into money in your
pocket will suddenly become worthless. It requires constant maintenance
to prevent the latest exploits, and users flee a game filled with cheaters very
You now live to please
If you don't have a responsive customer service department who can help
players when they have trouble, they'll leave you. And remember too that the
audience you are courting doesn't have to be technically savvy; they don't even
have to have had the technical sophistication to hook up an Xbox. So your
user-education bar is much higher, and your game probably needs to be much
simpler than traditional retail games.
You get the point. Developing social games puts great power into the
hands of the developer and can even turn developers into direct publishers.
But publishing games, it turns out, is hard work. Luckily, in a social gaming
environment, where the virality of the platform can generate millions and mil-
lions of users in just a few months, the rewards can be majestic—and make all
this hard work worthwhile.