kali

Thoughts about game design and sell-ability (in lack of a better term)

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Hi fellow dens

 

I'm in the process of trying to sell my newest game:  http://www.papio.nu/games/bubbles - and mainly I’m going for the non exclusive licensensing model and it got me thinking about the correlation between game design/ gameplay structure and its appeal to publishers..

 I'm not refering to wheter or not the game is fun or nice looking but in it's ability to for instance serve adds.

 

for instance my game: bubbles.. it has a flowing progression through levels (tetris style) and thus gameplay sessions tend to be pretty long .. that’s all well and good for retention rates, but limits the possibilities to serve adds – it only seems unintrusive if they are served on startup and gameover…

 

Games structured like flappybird / swingcopter have the obvious ability to serve maaany more adds without crippling the gameplay..

 

So if the publishers buying our games are mainly monetizing our games via adds (correct me if I’m wrong) does that mean that the games ability to serve a lot of adds become a big parameter they look for when buying games ?

 

In my opinion that would be a quite shortsighted strategy (and as far as I can see on the different portals - it’s not the case) ..

 

but then what ? 

It seems to be a winning strategy to design and structure games so they initially seems to be really big - for instance include a candy crush like level structure/screen  that indicates a huge amount of content – and then try to stretch you gameplay as much as possible.

 

Do you guys have any thoughts on this ? or am I ( as it often is) over thinking this aspect of making you game desirable to publishers ? 

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I believe the biggest parameters are:

 

1. Graphics

2. Re-playability

3. Device support

 

Publishers want games that people return to. It can be the simplest game ever, just like flappy bird. As long as people come back.

So you have to ask yourself what is the drive for people to return to your game over and over again? (maybe for months)

 

A huge part of that are the graphics. A bad designed game is asociated with a bad game play.

Just imagine you are sitting in the bus and see someone playing a game. You don't know anything about the gameplay but you can judge the graphics. And this could be the trigger for you to try that game too. Everyone who plays your game is advertising your game at any time.

 

Lastly the game has to be playable on as many devices as possible.

As soon as 1 device is locked out, this will affect thousands of customers, who then talk down your game. "This is shit. It doesn't work at all!"

 

To sum this up:

 

Your goal should be to have a game that people urge to play just by seeing a screenshot of it or seeing someone else playing it.

Your game needs to support as many devices as possible.

Your game needs a reason for people to return to it.

Your game should be simple enough to play a round of it while sitting on the toilet, in a bus, waiting for someone or while waiting for your coffee to be served.

 

Don't waste your time on the greatest gameplay with the best possible depth for levels. If it fails, you will have wasted a lot of your time.

 

Ads can always be added anywhere. Don't worry too much about that.

Before the game starts, during the gameover/score screen, etc. Publishers will always find a good spot to place their ads.

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I'm i no way disagreeing with you :) .. though i think I would place device support as nr 1 - if the game doesn't "work" its not really desirable :) 

 

the things im describing would properly be listed as nr 6 or 7 on a list like that .

 

but to sum up what you say: forget about add placement for sponsered games and design for retaining users using what ever strategy to ensure that ..  

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Yea, I think that the people who publish games everyday will quickly tell you where you need to make some room for ads. It's better to rely on them who have the knowledge than coming up with your own ideas. Maybe they entirely dislike how you placed your ads.

 haven't heard of a publisher who turned a good game down yet just because there wasn't enough room for their ads.

 

I think all 3 (Graphics, replayablity and device support) are equaly important. If one lacks the others probably can't make up for it. 

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Games structured like flappybird / swingcopter have the obvious ability to serve maaany more adds without crippling the gameplay..

 

I think the assumption you are making is that showing more inter- level/game (potentially focus stealing) ads is better?

 

I think the way the theory goes is that you get diminishing returns from showing these too frequently as it annoys the players which can turn them off your advertisers, the game and make the player less likely to look for the sponsors other games as well; and showing the same ads to the same players over and over does not pay as well as unique views anyway I believe.

 

I'm guessing that the best ads though are the ones where the player chooses and agrees to watch a 30+ second video to get something in-game... I suspect those need to be organised with the sponsor though, if they are even possible for HTML5 games.

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really good point Chg... yeah my assumption was that serving the most adds  without being spammy was the best idea. In y experience that would be the best strategy in a game on google play / appstore , as far as my experiences (and what i heard from others) video adds like the vungle service might pay more pr view but in the long run it just doesn't add up to mass posting static adds... but then this is mainly a issue if you are self sponsoring..

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