Games are the biggest niche in the digital ecosystem, and a very competitive one. In this article, we look at how to create a dynamic product able to engage and attracts audiences.
Introduction to the games market
The videogames global industry has surpassed the 200 Billions Dollars in 2022, with half of these revenues belonging to the mobile games segment which has been outperforming all other types of games each year.
The number of players worldwide has also being growing steadily as more and more people of different ages and different geographies finally comes into the industry, mostly through the mobile games segment.
What’s more, even companies that previously had little to do with the games market are trying to enter this niche. It’s not just about making fun games, but also about engaging users, attracting new consumers and driving them to other products.
Implicitly the same has been happening to the number of games being released each year.
The above figure is focused on the releases on steam, as it is very difficult to find accurate data on games releases and sales, but it can be easily extrapolated to any other game platform.
And the same applies to an ever growing number of game developers trying to fulfill their dream of becoming a successful game developers, unfortunately with different results as we can observe on the above graph.
But the numbers on steam are nothing when compared with the Data that we can get from Unity that in 2021 had more than 2 000 000 registered game developers using their engine. Quite impressive no?
We can see that game development is a very competitive industry, and for this reason it is extremely difficult to stand out in that red sea of competitors.
So the question is How can you differentiate your game?
Let’s Start with some tips.
11 tips for better game development
1- Focus on the player
This is the first thing to keep in mind when developing any product. However, if your game is strictly focused on maximising engagement, as is the case with games, then this is absolutely critical.
Before you start building your game, develop a clear idea of who your target user is. It can be helpful to create personas of the types of people who will be attracted to your game. You should also conduct market research on the needs, tastes and wants of your target audience so that you can create a product that meets these interests and can improve the user experience (UX).
2- Research trends, competition to find a niche
In addition to identifying the interests and desires of the target users, i.e. potential players, you also need to take into account the market conditions. What ideas are currently in vogue? What types of games have stood the test of time? What are your competitors doing?
You need to examine every nitty-gritty of the games industry to better understand the climate and the types of products that succeed and those that fail, so that yours is not one of them.
3- Differentiate your game
Now that you understand your competitors and your own audience, you need to determine how to differentiate your game from the established products and newcomers. As you probably know, the games market is very large and very saturated, so your game concept needs to offer something that your competitors don’t: elements that players can’t find anywhere else, or a familiar formula with a cool twist.
Your game needs to do something better than your competitors, elevating the user experience or solving pain points in their products.
4- Get a clear hook
Dynamic characters, unique sound, engaging story, animation… all are examples of hooks. The hook grabs the audience’s attention from the start, draws them into the game, draws them in and makes them stay.
What is a hook? Every game development team needs to invent or discover what is the particular hook that draws players into the game. Once you’ve identified it, you need to harness it and use it to attract newcomers to your game and keep your long-time customers engaged.
5- Simplify things from the start
If you’re getting into game development for the first time, keep it simple and avoid overly complicated elements. Otherwise, you risk scaring players away with a confusing product. Remember that the goal is to attract and retain users. If you’ve been in this business for a while and have established yourself as a maker of great products, you can experiment with more complex concepts.
This also applies to UX design. The menus should be easy to navigate, the interface should be intuitive, and the overall look and feel of the videogame should be simple and scrollable. Adding too much clutter or complex elements can confuse and potentially overwhelm users.
6- Consider the different elements of the experience
Games are complex, perhaps more so than most other types of applications. The experience is not static, but highly interactive. All elements of the experience must be taken into account, e.g.
- The story
- The colour scheme
- The hook
These are just some of the many moving parts you need to consider.
7- Build a great team
The backbone of any dynamic and attractive product is the team behind it. Game development requires skills that go beyond those of the average software developer, even if they play a role in creating the application. It also requires the talents of a product manager to research trends and develop a roadmap for the product, a project manager to coordinate workflows and keep everyone on track, and a marketing manager to promote the product.
A user experience (UX) designer also plays a key role in game development. While this specialist is important to the success of many projects, games in particular need a specialist who understands gamers and can optimise the appeal of the product. The UX designer adds attractive elements to bring the game to life and plays a key role in the process.
8- To self-publish or to be published?
Most of indie gamedevs think in self-publish their game, as they thinking that getting a publisher will take away their creative freedom, or it will be very difficult to actually find one interested in their games.
Self-publishing is a very difficult task that requires a lot of business and marketing skills and plenty of time to actually make it happen. Publishers are usually publishing tenths of games per year, and have all the tasks controlled, plus have plenty of contacts in the industry as to make things happen fast and more efficiently.
Find one, and actually getting them interested can demand some extra work, but will actually be a good advantage for your game success possibilities.
If you definitely want to go on self-publishing, then plan carefully all the different tasks, and dedicate some one ( usually yourself) to take the lead and the responsibility to make it happen.
9- Creating a plan ( both production and marketing
Designs are of course essential to the success of product development. Gaming is a particularly complex process and requires careful thought. To manage plans, you can use a generic project management platform or a platform specifically designed to oversee game development.
An example of a game-specific project management tool is Codecks. Designed to meet the needs of game developers, the platform has a collector card design that essentially gamifies the development project and allows you to see the progress and status of the process at a glance.
10- Test it continuously
The smallest and seemingly insignificant mistake can derail the whole game. To minimize the occurrence of bugs, the game should be thoroughly and rigorously tested during the development cycle and before deployment. This is essential because games are dynamic, interactive products that require attention to detail.
Highly skilled quality assurance (QA) testers can not only identify bugs in the game, but also find ways to improve other aspects of the product, such as usability, performance, functionality, user load adaptation and much more.
11- Start promoting early and consistently
There are plenty of games being released every day, all of them trying to grab the attention of the audience. As soon as you have your plan ready, you should start promoting your game with messages tailored to grab the interest of your targeted players, and in the channels where they most likely will be spending their time. Most of developers think that the player are on twitter or on instagram, but in reality there aren’t and the only ones listening to the promotions are actually other game developers.
Because the gaming industry is so competitive, you need to create a unique and compelling product to differentiate your business. These tips will help you build a solid foundation for your gaming success.
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