Maybe you’ve heard about the success of Flappy Bird and the fact he was apparently making $50K per month from advertising revenue and want in on that action. Maybe you’ve played games all your life and maybe you’ve got THE PERFECT GAME ™ in mind.
And we’re happy to support this endeavour. But have you really considered how much is involved in making a successful video game?
Before investing your time and money, there are things we would like you to think about in relation to games:
Assess the Competition:
Games are a highly competitive market. Especially on mobiles, because anyone can, and everyone does, develop games on the iPhone.
So before deciding to make a game look at the competition closely. Work out what works for them and what doesn’t.
Find out how many users they have, and find out if they’re active users and what percentage of people are paying users.
The 4 dubs and a how of making a game:
Why do you want to make a game?
Games rarely make money, and debut games making money is all but unheard of. Even Flappy Bird, the world’s underdog success story, was the developer’s 5th game, and was on the store for 9 months before any traction occurred.
If it’s because you’ve found a gap in the market, look closely at why that gap exists. If the gap is because the technology doesn’t suit your idea, then refine your idea. No point making a shooter for an iPhone if the controls don’t work and no one wants to play it..
But most importantly all the various device manufacturers (Apple, Google, Microsoft) want apps which benefit themselves and their customers. Develop good and original software and these companies will look at you more favourably to be featured on their devices over the other thousands of apps being released each day.
Who are you aiming the game at?
Everyone isn’t an answer. Research other games and research the gaps in the market. If you’re aiming for a crowded genre, make sure you have something original to offer the market otherwise you’re not going to get a look in.
And remember, whilst a game for kids might be aimed at kids, those who are going to buy it for them are adults.
Where is your market?
Everywhere isn’t an answer. Think about launching in areas where getting on the App store top 25 isn’t as tough as the UK or US. Australia is a great market to launch in.
Also think about devices which are growing in popularity, such as Windows Surface and Ouya, to launch on. Sure, there might not be as many users nor as much money on those devices, but if you can get there first and build a name for yourself, you can use this as leverage when you move to more popular devices.
When are you going to launch?
This is important, as even the App store has seasonal variation. Also if you have a game based on summer, remember the southern and northern hemispheres have reverse seasons.
If you need to launch for a special event, plan well in advance – if your game needs to be out at christmas and you think it will take 6 months to make, start in January or February, not June. You can use the extra time to bug fix or even build up buzz.
How (much) do you need to charge users to get your investment back?
You should work out in advance how many users need to buy the game if you charge an upfront fee, or how many inapp purchases users need to make.
Another important aspect to how is how will you get money from users? Is it through up front charges, inapp purchases, or advertising?
All of these should be answered before the first design or the first dollar is spent on making a game.