Key strategies behind the success of game development

The exhilarating success rush in the video game industry has dialled up the revenue numbers so high,  becoming an adversary to movies and music industries in the domain of favourite past times. We are living in a world where the notion of videogames being kids’ playthings has demonstrably become a myth. In this day and age, there are people who actually prefer playing games over movies or TV shows and so on. The reason being people starting a game; whether a role play game, real-time strategy or even a run-of-the-mill shooter like Call of Duty, it involves making some kind of effort to get accustomed to the controls. According to GamingScan, Video game industry is raising the bar sky high and thus to feed the hungry players, developers around are experimenting with ideas and techniques to create an outstanding impact among the players. In addition to that, developers are also looking forward to earning success in terms of revenue through the introduction of new unique video games. As Cympl studio co-founder Rituraj Behera says, “Any game is only as good as the number of people who play the game. Therefore, finding the best ways to ensure the target market is discovered, visits store page and eventually decides to install the game are all important marketing activities.” The studio recently launched their new game Masala Madness which is the second cooking game in a line after Masala Express because the received a huge success and it is still doing very immense in the market. Since they realised that most of their audiences are fans of cooking games thus they thought of another cooking game which would help to retain their players. By the end and mid of  2019 Q1 and  Q2 respectively, we have witnessed a wide array of game genres which have stormed the Indian gaming Industry like never before. From fantasy sports to story-exploration games to cooking games, the list is huge. Speaking on the variation in game development, one such Indie gaming studio Neosphere Interactive co-founder Hitesh Ramchandani is working on an upcoming project named 1971 Indian Naval Front, a shooting game which is comprised of a unique background around the history of Indo Pak  1971  war. They have kept their working strategy old school and simple along “with factors like suspense and surprise, risk vs reward, avoiding complex controls, interactive, not letting the gameplay on its own always trying to keep the user engaged with dialogues and voice-overs even when cut-scenes are playing, focus on audio and music, and a minimalistic yet effective HUD,” Ramchandani added.  Key success strategy for studios There are no esoteric secrets to success, only a bag full of luck and effort is all one needs. Luck is quite subjective but effort is one of the crucial factors which leads to success.  Having spoken to industry experts, likes of which include popular Indian cooking game Masala Express and Masala Madness maker Cympl studio co-founder  Rituraj Behera and the popular game Bonfire (bagged ‘Indie Game of the Year’ awards IGDC 2018) designer, developer and founder Himanshu Manwani of Xigma games who is currently working on the Bonfire 2 sequel, we have curated a list of factors that are requisite to making games a success. They are as follows: Never compromise on quality: Creating quality games is a challenge but overcoming that challenge with the wisdom of delayed gratification results in success. As Behera Says “ never compromise on quality and make sure that the game teams understand that! Even if that means longer lead times to go live. Because once you go live there is no looking back and you need to make the most of the momentum.” Choose the right genre and theme: According to Behera, it’s very important to nail the target market “in terms of our understanding of what they are liking, engaging and paying for. With our focus on women, we understood that they love cooking and also enjoy a casual gameplay experience which is super easy to learn.” On the same Xigma games founder  Himanshu Manwani shared “understand our own capabilities and what we can do best with the available resources is very crucial.  Because this will decide in which genre direction a studio will to take in relevant to the current state of the market. Tweak the game and monetisation to suit the target market: This is another important but often ignored aspect. Western games target a more mature market with an extremely high propensity to pay and higher tolerance to challenges. As per Behera “ Indian market is extremely sensitive to challenges and gives up much more easily compared to our western counterparts. Also, the monetisation in India has to be innovated, as people do not mind watching a ton of ads both forced and rewarded but rarely make in-app-purchases.” Therefore it is important for a studio to analyse what features in a game need to be tweaked as per the monetisation, player’s preference and so on Xigma games founder Himanshu Manwani also said: “Understand your target audience and targeting your product to such audience by marketing and other means such as featuring and user acquisition leads to success.” Game Design: Last but not least, it is the game design itself which is a determining factor behind the success of a game. As Manwani expresses, “If the game is not fun or unplayable or players can’t understand the game all the other factors don’t even come into play. In order to improve on the game design get feedback as much as possible and show it to as many people. It helps a lot to get feedback from players and then work on that feedback.” Apart from that, as an avid observer of the India gaming industry, I believe that even though every developer’s thought process works differently, they strive for success in their endeavours at the end of the day. Game developing is indeed a complicated enterprise that involves a whole of a lot of effort and finance. With the insights and learnings stated above, we hope budding developers feel motivated in their drive to create more games that stimulate our gaming glands.

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