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Ten things that tv companies always get wrong when making games

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Presentation from Games for TV that features the controversial claim that games are not about stories

Presentation from Games for TV that features the controversial claim that games are not about stories

Published in: Entertainment & Humor, Design

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  • 1. Ten Things that TV Companies Alway Get Wrong when Making Games (and how to avoid these traps) Nicholas Lovell Games for Television 18th April, 2012
  • 2. Nicholas Lovell, GAMESbrief• Author, How to Publish a Game, GAMESbrief Unplugged• Director, GAMESbrief• Clients include: Atari, Channel 4, Channelflip, Firefly, IPC, nDrea ms, Rebellion and Square Enix• @nicholaslovell / @gamesbrief
  • 3. I worked on this• Misfits – The Game• Nominated for a BAFTA Television Craft award• Working with Clerkenwell, Channel 4 and Mobile Pie
  • 4. Subscribe to the blog
  • 5. Buy my books
  • 6. Ten ways to get it right
  • 7. Are you gamers?
  • 8. 1. It’s not about story
  • 9. 1. It’s not about story
  • 10. 1. It’s not about story
  • 11. 1. It’s not about story
  • 12. 1. It’s not about story
  • 13. 1. It’s not about story
  • 14. 1. It’s not about story• Games are not movies or TV shows• Games are not linear• The tension is in the player’s head, not on the screen• What games do best: – Choices – Dilemmas – Engagement – Immersion• Please, no interactive movies
  • 15. 2. Find the fun
  • 16. 2. Find the fun (it’s hard)• If you leave a pitch knowing what the narrative arc of the game is, but not the MECHANIC, you haven’t got a game• It is possible to make a game that is just about narrative; it is also very, very expensive• Finding the fun is intuitive. Leave time for prototyping and finding the fun during commissioning and production
  • 17. 3. Make it iterative
  • 18. 3. Iterate. A lot.• Every successful social game is still in beta• You need to iterate during production, as well as after – Especially if you are inexperienced at commissioning• A adherence to the initial project brief can be disastrous. Build in flexibility.• Read The Lean Startup
  • 19. 4. Commission earlier
  • 20. 4. Commission earlier• Games take a *long* time to make• TX is fixed• If you want a good game to go alongside your show, start early• At least six months. Probably more• Unless you want it to look, feel and play like an afterthought
  • 21. 5. Have a post-TX plan
  • 22. 5. What happens when the show ends?• You’ve spent a lot of money on making your game. Transmission has ended. Now what?• Do you mothball it? – But games build slowly, via word of mouth, over time• Do you continue it? – But that incurs ongoing costs, and gamers will demand changes• Have a plan
  • 23. 6. Games are about RETENTION
  • 24. 6. Focus on retention, not acquisition• TV is good at ACQUIRING customers• Games are good at RETAINING customers and MONETISING them• Play to the strengths of the medium
  • 25. 7. Make it free, make it profitable
  • 26. 7. Make it free, make it profitable• Infinity Blade has netted $30 million (after Apple share)• 7 free games were higher grossing in 2011
  • 27. 8. Don’t think about revenue *after* the design
  • 28. 8. Design for the business model• “If a game is built around a business model, that’s a recipe for failure.” - Dave Jones, designer, APB• I see eight different revenue streams• Dave Perry sees 38• Each one needs a different style of gameplay• No time today but key insight: virtual goods are about STATUS and FEELING, not possession and ownership
  • 29. 9. Cater to the whales
  • 30. How much do gamers spend on average on an In-Apppurchase in an iOS / Android game?
  • 31. 9. People spend a lot of money • The average IAP transaction value on a US smartphone is $14 • 51% of the revenue comes from transactions worth more than $20
  • 32. So how do we make money from the power law
  • 33. 10. Learn
  • 34. “Nobody knows anything” William Goldman
  • 35. 10. Making games is not a “known science”• It’s endlessly changing: – Technology – Business models – Consumer preferences• Make a game for many reasons, but make it to learn• Launch, learn, iterate
  • 36. 10 ways to get it right1. It’s not about 6. Focus on story retention2. Find the fun 7. Make it free3. Iterate 8. Design for the4. Commision business model earlier 9. Cater to the5. Have a post-TX whales plan 10.Learn
  • 37. Thank younicholas@gamesbrief.com Follow my blog www.gamesbrief.com Buy my books