2 min read

EGD Special: Audience-first game development

I did a webinar in August of 2020 titled “Audience-first game development”, where my guest was Mitchell Smallman, Co-founder and Chief Product from Netspeak Games, based out of London UK. We talked about game development where you’ve first made a decision on an audience that you’re game will target, and not the other way around.

Takeways from the presenation

  • Netspeak games ditched the old way of defining a game
    • Our game is {Genre} aimed at {Age}{Gender} for {Platform}.
    • This way just didn’t work, because people should be defined around what games they’ve played.
  • Game Literacy
    • “By game literacy, I mean, what are the games that players your players have played before and enjoyed, and what systems that they’ve encountered in those in those games that they’ve come to understand?”
    • “Mobile games have been around for 10 years and the number of players who’ve not played anything before need to be taught everything is dwindling, and the types of games that are coming up playing right? Like, if you wanted to make a game that you slingshot Angry Birds mechanics, you wouldn’t have to teach that to anybody in the world right now.”
    • “Learning things twice is boring. But learning things the first time is exciting.”
    • When thinking about the audience, like when you are saying that how many sessions do they play per day, you can now start saying that what game mechanics are they already familiar with.
    • “[At Supercell they said] Hey, we’re gonna make this game for people like Clash of Clans, for example, people who played Starcraft, but don’t have time anymore, but have time to play on their phones. But notice not large amounts of disposable income to go and spend 60 bucks on a new Starcraft game on their phone. Right, that audience, you know, super, super zeroed in knew exactly what it was.”
  • The promise of the game
    • “Figure out the emotional core of what they want, like, do they want to relax? Do they want to socialize? Do they want to compete? And who do they want to compete with? Like, do they want to compete against their friends? Do they like is that the promise you want to pledge? Do they want to compete against their friends in a cute world? Right? And you say, oh, that doesn’t sound like something but it’s like I just described Fall Guys, right? Like, or actually that one’s striving you want to compete against strangers rapidly in a very cute whimsical world, right? That’s the promise.”
    • Then, factor the game literacy into that promise.