Game success barometer? Does it exist?

Have we ever wondered what makes some games successful and others not. There are several bullet pointer articles that mention the dos and don’ts for game development, but none entirely guarantee game success. Actually there can never be any documented method to guarantee game success.

Games like movies rely on the audience views, if there is value for money it is successful, otherwise a failure. And there can never be only one aspect of a game that can make it successful…like films it’s always a team effort that makes it or breaks it!

I was listening to a video on Ted on how great leaders can inspire action and it got me thinking about how our approach towards game development can largely affect a success or failure of a game, if the principles from the video are put into action. To give you a brief on the video, Simon Sinek talks about the Golden Circle and the 3 rings of behavior that most people follow in the order of – What, How, and Why while talking about their product or idea.

Game Development in most cases begins with a ‘what’ game concept, mostly inspired by another successful game of a similar genre or an old arcade/online game. This is then followed by a ‘how’ for development where logistics like budgets, time estimates, teams involved, discussions on the development cycles etc are finalized. The ‘why’ is never reached because nobody ever knows what inspires them to develop a particular game idea.

Now think, if we reverse the order inside out i.e Why, How and What. Would that alter our approach to game development in any way? Lets try it to see a changed perspective on how we can look at game development now..

‘Why’ do I want to work on a particular game idea?
Is it because I am confident of thinking out of the box about an addictive concept with a high replay value? Or I believe the idea is unexplored and new for the audience, so they will be drawn to it making it very successful? Or I believe we have the potential to not limit ourselves and push the edge of the ideas we discuss, making the development process fun for ourselves while coming up with a fantastic game, and so on.
If an idea cannot convince you, it should be best dropped rather than putting more logistics into it.

‘How’ do I begin my game development process?
This shouldn’t be too difficult, if I am passionate and convinced, so my team will be!
A motivated team always puts in an extra effort to meet goals thus easing the complete development process.

‘What’ do I want to achieve with my game?
I want my game to reach you, my consumers!

This theory in relation to game development may not seem completely accurate in practice, but a reality also is, all good ideas have always come from innovators; those who have had the conviction to stand out from a crowd! And the Golden Ring says just that – think Why, How & What and not the other way round.
Just my two cents.


About Mariam Dholkawala 188 Articles
Part geeky part quirky, I love writing games, travelling the world, trying new food and learning new languages. I am sometimes the designer, programmer and artist for some of my own games.

2 Comments Posted

  1. As a layman speakin and not knowing anything about the game development process all i can say is for a game to be successful u should be able to keep consumer interest alive. I still like playing Mario and Dave better than the Warcraft’s or the Counter Strike’s of the world(call me old school, idc). That’s primarily coz i play games to pass time and am not a hardcore gamer. After all the coding hassles of the day methinks its a great stress-buster, so considering that i really would not go for games that make me think real hard as to wat me next move should be, coz me brain is already tired with all the work in the day.

    Ofcourse, this would be talkin of just one part of the consumer base in mind, but also generally methinks a game should sell not because its got great graphics et all, but because it should have the ability to taunt a consumer. When i used to play Mario as a kid i used to be really frustrated gettin killed by a petty duck!! But then when i got onto games like Counter Strike, the opponents killin me with a sniper while i had a Deagle dint make sense to me.. Ofcourse i was gonna be killed!! It may somehow also be attributed to me gaming skills, but like i said, i do it to indulge meself and more for stress relief..
    But then also while making ur game a real tough one there should also be a line drawn as to where and how tough u need to make the game. For instance, in say Mario, if at level 3 or 4 if had to encounter a dragon which would take me special powers to kill would have surely driven me away from it.. instead games like warcraft are to strategic for me even from level 3!! So i would also like games that are challenging yet engaging..

    Lots of things other than these are involved in a game’s success, but just wanted to pitch in with me thoughts..


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