Ten dos and don'ts for TV companies making games

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At the Edinburgh Television Festival 2010, I was asked to tell television producers and commissioners how to make television formats work with computer games.

This is what I said.

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Ten dos and don'ts for TV companies making games

  1. 1. Five dos & don’ts of making games<br />Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival 2010<br />Nicholas Lovell<br />GAMESbrief<br />
  2. 2. Nicholas Lovell, GAMESbrief<br /><ul><li>Author, How to Publish a Game
  3. 3. Director, GAMESbrief
  4. 4. Clients include Atari, Channel 4, Channelflip, Firefly, nDreams and Rebellion
  5. 5. @nicholaslovell / @gamesbrief</li></li></ul><li>Five don’ts of game development<br />
  6. 6. 1. Don’t rely on licences<br />“A licence is only as valuable as the amount it reduces your marketing costs”<br /><ul><li>Alice Taylor, Commissioning Editor, Channel 4</li></ul>Existing IP:<br />Slows down development<br />Makes taking risks harder<br />Brings built-in audiences<br />Can be an effective monetisation strategy for a tv brand<br />Using licences is not a no-brainer<br />
  7. 7. 2. Don’t spend too much money<br />You don’t need to spend tens of millions of dollars to launch a game anymore<br />So why would you?<br />Unless you are *really*, *really* sure of yourself, keep it small, test and iterate<br />
  8. 8. 3. Don’t spend too much time<br />
  9. 9. 4. Don’t think about revenue *after* the design<br />“If a game is built around a business model, that’s a recipe for failure.”<br />- Dave Jones, designer, APB<br />I see eight different revenue streams<br />Dave Perry sees 38<br />Each one needs a different style of gameplay<br />No time today but key insight: <br />virtual goods are about STATUS and FEELING, not possession and ownership<br />
  10. 10. 5. Don’t forget it’s a game<br />Games are not movies or TV shows<br />Games are not linear<br />The tension is in the player’s head, not on the screen<br />What games do best:<br />Choices<br />Dilemmas<br />Engagement<br />Immersion<br />Please, no interactive movies<br />Average rating: 16%<br />
  11. 11. Five dos of game development<br />
  12. 12. 1. Know your platform<br />Open<br />Closed<br />www<br />Inbetween<br /><ul><li>Largest audience
  13. 13. Best virality
  14. 14. Low consumer barrier to entry
  15. 15. Conversion is hard
  16. 16. Competition is growing
  17. 17. Niche audience
  18. 18. Expensive marketing
  19. 19. High barrier to entry
  20. 20. Strong propensity to spend
  21. 21. Competition is, if anything declining, but that’s because it’s hard
  22. 22. Niche audience
  23. 23. Crowded Appstore
  24. 24. Low consumer barrier to entry
  25. 25. Downwards pressure on App prices</li></li></ul><li>2. Iterate, iterate, iterate<br /><ul><li>Most popular game in the world
  26. 26. 62 million players in last 30 days
  27. 27. Has been in beta since it launched
  28. 28. Unlikely ever to stop</li></li></ul><li>3. Outsource, outsource, outsource<br />If you can outsource, do it<br />Do what you do *really* well<br />Let others do what they do really well (will pay dividends if you are successful)<br />Market research<br />Ad sales<br />Development<br />Billing<br />Localisation<br />Affiliate networks<br />Distribution<br />Marketing<br />Legal<br />Hosting<br />Development<br />
  29. 29. 4. Pay attention to the market<br />The games industry is going through continued disruption<br />Sony and Microsoft blindsided by Nintendo Wii<br />Casual portals like Miniclip and Kongregate blindsided by Facebook<br />Advertising-based businesses blindsided by emergence of virtual goods<br />You can never be paying too much attention<br />
  30. 30. 5. Focus on retention, not acquisition<br />TV is good at ACQUIRING customers<br />Games are good at RETAINING customers and MONETISING them<br />Play to the strengths of the medium<br />
  31. 31. 5 dos and 5 don’ts<br />DO know your platform<br />DO iterate, iterate, iterate<br />DO pay attention to the market<br />DO outsource, outsource, outsource<br />DO focus on retention, not acquisition<br />DON’T rely on licences<br />DON’Tspend too much money<br />DON’T spend too much time<br />DON’T think about revenue *after* the design<br />DON’T forget it’s a game<br />
  32. 32. Nicholas LovellGAMESbrief<br />nicholas@gamesbrief.com<br />@nicholaslovell / @gamesbrief<br />www.gamesbrief.com<br />

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