Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
What Interests Liew in a Gaming Startup
Besides user growth and revenue, your game needs repeatability and discoverability , and a long-term strategy
of discoverability. Or as Liew puts it, for repeatability, “How do you build a hit factory?” Although not every
game will be a hit, a startup should have some kind of native advantage that makes their games more likely to
be a hit. That could be due to a built-in audience created by a series of sequels, or a hit niche game genre with
real complexity and a passionate user base. As an example of that, he cites KIXEYE, which focuses on core
gamers who are under-served by Facebook games. At the time of company launch, most Facebook games were
highly deterministic and predictable .
NOTE “You can write the game design document just by playing the game,” Liew says of most Facebook
By contrast, KIXEYE's real-time strategy games came with randomness and unpredictability driven by the
game's artificial intelligence, which makes gameplay quite different and difficult for competitors to copy (see
Figure 15-2 ) . “Frankly that's why the best real-time strategy games are still published by KIXEYE,” Liew told
me. “Only [KIXEYE] can see the internal logic and AI, and see the implications for user numbers.”
For discoverability, Liew describes the current playing field this way: whereas in the past, game distribution
used to be the bottleneck (that is, selling games in boxes on shelves), now most games are available online, so
distribution is free, easy, and democratic, and development on the larger platforms is relatively inexpensive (as
compared to AAA console games).
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