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What to consider once your first game has launched
What to consider once your first game has launched
July 12, 2012 | By Mike Rose

July 12, 2012 | By Mike Rose
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    4 comments
More: Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Business/Marketing



"So many people are focusing on just getting a game out, they don't think what to do afterwards," warned Ben Murch of Rodeo Games as part of a Develop conference panel today.

The entire panel, which included Tak Fung of MiniSquadron developer Supermono, agreed that before your first game is complete, you should be considering what comes next.

When Murch and his company finished work on iOS title Hunters, they went on to create DLC for the game, as that's what they believed comsumers would want.

However, when the DLC failed to ignite excitement in players and didn't bring in as many sales as the studio had hoped, it left Murch in a period where he ended up messing around for a few months, with not much idea of where to go next. He warned that studios should be always considering what comes next, so they aren't stuck in this kind of position.

Fung added that indie devs often fail to realize that once you've shipped your game, you haven't crossed the finish line - not by a long shot.

"Don't expect it to be glorious afterwards," he said. "You've spent all this time making this game, but don't expect to just sit around and that's it." PR is the biggest factor, he noted, while updates for the game should also be on your mind.

Supermono developed updates for MiniSquadron immediately after the initial launch, but these took longer to get out than expected, leaving the team feeling very burnt out afterwards.

At this point in development, Fund took stock of the situation, admitting that he was "essentially bored of the game", and that he felt like the updates were "a chore" and "frankly boring."

Therefore, rather than continuing on with MiniSquadron content, he moved on and developed Fox vs Duck -- an iOS game that didn't do as well commercially, but "was an itch that we had to scratch."


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Comments


Aaron San Filippo
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My cynical summary:

"post-release game support is cool. We tried DLC, and it failed.
PR is important... But I'm not going to give any info about whether that helped us or not..
Game updates are important. We spent way too much time on ours, and got bored and burnt out.
Then after we got bored, we started another game."

Is there a lesson or some useful data in here somewhere?

Zaphod Plumbo
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It seems like for every article I read that extolls the need to actively promote your newly-released game, I read another quoting a successful developer who swears that they couldn't see any benefit derived from their efforts to promote their game. I'm not assailing this article, I'm just pointing out that there seems to be a real lack of consensus of the need to promote (or utilize the services of a publisher to do so). I just wonder how it really comes down - is it different by game? By genre? By platform? I just wonder.

Dean Gebert
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I give a pre- and post-launch Marketing presentation to the new Yetizen classes, called 'I've Built It, But Where My Eyeballs At?'. There are a few more things that I think are important, post-launch.

The most important one is to open conversations with your users. Create several feedback loops, so it's easy for them to let you know what they want. At Face The Fans, we have a big red button at the top of the game that's labeled 'What Do You Think?'.

Another one is to create multiple virality mechanisms. It's easy to put a Share/Tweet button all over the site or game, but we *try* to make sure it fits 2 criteria... 1) does the user think it's share-worthy and 2) will their friends feel the same way? Otherwise, it's just spammy noise and it's easy for their friends to ignore.

Along the virality lines, we incentivize users to tell their friends. Free tokens or virtual items, weekly contest for most referrals, etc.

Finally, the PR piece is vital. It's one thing to stand on top of a mountain and scream about how good my game is. It's a whole other thing when a member of the press whispers from atop the same mountain. They're a trusted 3rd party with lots of eyeballs on them.

The trick is to start building the relationship prior to launch. The relationship is much more important than the actual news. Over a period of a couple months, send them a brief overview, then screenshots, finally a sneak peek. The key is keep it brief and infrequent. Remember, they're slammed, just like you. :-)

russell mckee
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This seems like half the story is missing.


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