5 thoughts on “The most important secret in monetization”

  1. Excellent post, Lloyd. I would also suggest that the launch product has a means to easily add content without the need for an update (if on mobile) or demanding additional time from the engineering team. It means some extra work initially to have an efficient pipeline and a distribution method, but it will be worth it if the product takes off. If it doesn’t take off, well…the tech can be applied to the next game. 😉

    We didn’t have that in place for Lil’ Birds, but we do now. As an additional advantage, it allowed us to add new content without going over the 20MB limit for 3G downloads (which is no longer as restrictive with the new 50MB limit).


  2. I had a much longer post written, but the upshot was that I don’t think a lot of game companies give adequate thought to the differences between maintenance development and pre-game development. Although there are bound to be pain points, I have long wanted to see folks have a seperate Maint team and a pre-launch team, under the theory that if you design a thing, you should not maintain it, something that has worked well for me in website development. This reduces the time/money dumped into “Oh, I should redesign this!”; maint works on coming up with logically proceeding content development and simple bug fixes, while pre-game moves onto the next thing. Yes, transfer is a pain point, but reasonable procedure can relieve that a lot– mostly planning for the risks.

    It’s always been strange to me how much social games– and even MMOs– in some ways cling to waterfall methodologies, in spite of the fact that their games are meant to be continuously used, Service style. It seems to me that this would logically imply a need for continuous development.


  3. I entirely agree with the content problem for successful live games. It’s not new – big, costly MMOs have struggled with this for years. The origin of the problem lies in game designers creating games as linear experiences. This means more content becomes building another level or zone full of opponents, another character class with new abilities, and/or another set of virtual goods that compliment rather than replace the existing set.

    One solution lies in an alternate design approach: create games with less custom content and more “generated content.” Diablo and Diablo II are classic examples of this. Every time you entered a region or dungeon, including replays, it algorithmically reconfigured terrain and spawn points. Diablo included some customized boss encounters. If you were unable to defeat the boss, you replayed the algorithmic areas for additional goodies, then tried again against the boss. It was a great core concept. Lots of people played it for a long time.

    Sid Meier’s Civilization is similar the world starts out with new geography and new “opponent” civilizations each time. Those opponents have their own somewhat random path of development, so by the time you meet them, the current game looks nothing like any previous game. In Sid Meier’s Pirates, the randomness of encounters combined with semi-random walk of world events insures variety with each new play-through.

    I could go on, but hopefully this is enough to get you thinking…


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