In January 2021, tech and media colossus Sony announced that it was purchasing the successful video game developer Bungie – the companythatbrought you the original Xbox Halo franchise and the smash-hit Destiny series – for $3.6bn.
How does an indie game developer become so successful that a major global corporation wants it on board as an independent subsidiary of its Interactive Entertainment arm?
Talent is undoubtedly a major factor. Game development whizz-kids are responsible for‘invisible’ ingenuity such asthe software and mobile apps that make online games not only come to glitch-free life, butarealso as widely accessible as possible.More recently, they’ve been developing safe, secure,blockchain-enabled games thatare rapidly catching on throughout the industry,
Talent isn’t enough though. Whenstate-of the art digital game hosts such as Resorts Casino,the best NJ online casino, select new games for their portfolio, they not only askif it works smoothly, but alsoiftheircustomers like it.How do games developers ensure that their target audience gets on board with a new initiative– and stays there?
Player feedback, often via social media, is important to game developers, acting as a barometer, if a somewhat skewed one, for how their latest offerings are going down with the playerbase.This source of data has to be taken with a measure of caution, however. People who contribute to online messageboards, for example, aren’t necessarily the most accurate guide to ‘what players really want’.There’s no real wayof telling whether the people posting on message boards really representthe majority of a game developer’s true target audience.
In other words, being very clear about the target audience and building the game from the ground up around that core principle is crucial. Is it primarily aimed at men or women, for people who like gaming in short bursts or who want to settle down for a marathon, for older or younger age demographics?
What comes next? The secret sauce is player engagement. If a new game is under development, the best time to start engaging prospective audiences via social media marketing is as early as possible. Leaving it until the finished product is ready is leaving it too late for this kind of advance engagement.Feedback from the playerbase is crucial here: it’s easier (and less costly) to make course corrections earlier in development, during design and pre-production, than later.
Developers with success in mind at the earliest stage mayget eye-catching marketing out on Twitter and Reddit, sharing early designs, updating the audience regularly, and whetting their appetites by showcasing the game’s excitement factor even though it’s, as yet, far from the post-production stage.
The savviest developers put out calls to action via Twitter and Instagram polls, Google surveys and A/B suggestions, pre-engaging their target audience and cultivating the sense that their opinions matter.
All of thisboils down to the following: yes, player feedback and engagement are immensely important to successful game developers.