Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
The hard user data shows that this prediction is almost always wrong. Instead, show Liew the data. He makes
a point that may be hard for developers to swallow: “Game design is not predictive... user engagement is pre-
dictive.”
Instead, Liew generally looks for games with good user retention, over a second-day, seventh-day, and
30-day period. Monetization rates are also important, but can greatly vary, based on the type of game and its
monetization strategy. He cites the example of an iOS company that produces extremely casual games/entertain-
ment apps with little replay value, but that attract tens of millions of free installs. Because the apps are produced
for extremely low budgets, it's sufficient that only a small percent of users spend money on upgrades and other
freemium payments.
Liew's Closing Advice for Developers
Here is Liew's closing advice:
• Instead of launching late, launch in another market.
• Find new niches; revive old genres.
Let's discuss the first item. A common mistake developers make, says Liew, is waiting too long to launch
the game, in the hopes it can be perfect when it comes to market. Instead, he says, “You gotta start getting user
feedback as soon as possible.” One way of doing this is launching the game in a smaller market—for instance,
the Philippines, which is English-fluent (and thus doesn't require localization) and has an audience that is fairly
predictive of a game's chances in the broader markets. This strategy helps the developer make changes and fixes
as needed, before going to the “big leagues.”
Also, rather than compete directly with a platform's major developers, find new niches. Liew advises, “Try
to find a genre or an audience or a style that hasn't been exploited.” By way of example, he cites the rise of
old genres that have been repackaged for the digital age: Zynga's Words with Friends is a variation of Scrabble,
whereas “hidden object games,” long popular in many mediums (including topics and board game puzzles), are
currently enjoying a renaissance on Facebook. Following the principle of “everything old is new again,” con-
sider the vast library of existing games for previously popular game types that are in need of being re-born to a
new era.
Understanding Best Practices of
Crowdfunded Games, Part I: Overview
and General Advice
As of Summer 2012, about $30 million out of a total $230 million in pledges to Kickstarter, the leading crowd-
funder service, have been made to video game-related projects (see Figure 15-3 . ) There have been more than
1.5 million unique pledges to all Kickstarter projects (some individuals pledge more than once), with more than
200,000 distinct pledges going to game-related projects.
 
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