For somebody that hates public speaking, my pitch went remarkably well! I used Prezi and some brief notes to pitch ‘Save your World’ to my classmates. ‘Save Your World’ was initially pitched as a first person, arcade-style mobile game that is similar to the endless runner games – think Frogger, Temple Run and Crossy Road. In this game, you fly (your hero’s version of ‘running’) through the sky, dodging obstacles like birds, planes and super-villains. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? And that’s what I thought! Despite my initial game idea and target audience selection being received positively, it turns out there are some factors I definitely need to consider moving forward in my game development.
I am just one person and complete game-building novice, and that is where majority of the limitations I face lie. Despite beginning to build the game for a mobile platform, I’ve quickly realised that I have no idea how to translate the keyboard mechanics I’m currently working with to touchscreen technologies. Rather than grapple with a challenge that, despite my preliminary research, is still overwhelming to me, I have decided to slightly change the platform focus on ‘Save Your World’.
Another plus for this change, and something I had not yet considered, was the distribution issues mobile games face. Thankfully a kind peer brought this up at the end of my pitch, pointing out that Apple charges you $99US a year to have a game on their App Store (Mackenzie 2012) and while that may not seem like a lot to companies like Imangi Studios and Hipster Whale, for a (mostly) broke uni student it’s a big ask. So that, alongside my touchscreen translation challenges, means I’ve decided to repackage ‘Save Your World’, temporarily, into a free desktop game. I definitely hope to make it available on mobile soon as I think it is an idea that’ll work perfectly on that platform (as I’ve rambled about here!).
Financial restraints will also be the thing that impacts my marketing plans. I have grandiose plans when it comes digital marketing – in particular sharing ‘achievement images’ that can be reposted and used as click-through promotion on Social Media, with players sharing their achievements on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The customisation of character and ‘killing’ of the various villains you dodge could also be shared, with the opportunity for those social networks to follow the links back to an app download page (Apple and Android) or the game website homepage. This sort of viral marketing will be cheap and, hopefully, effective, but other marketing ideas I’ve had – Display ads that can be created for Social Media alongside lead generation, and potentially partnerships between ‘Save Your World’ and relevant niche sites, like comicbook.com and TouchArcade, will have to be purely theoretical for now. Or, at least, until I get investors! As it not so surprisingly turns out, a decent marketing budget greatly helps the success of games and apps (Askalidis 2015).
E-waste is also something that I think all responsible digital game creators need to consider. As Dr. Moore points out in this article, something that’s indirectly combatted both stylistic and technological obsolescence is the ‘retrogaming’ trend (Moore 2009) and, thankfully, my game falls pretty squarely in this category. Add on to this that my game will be distributed completely digitally – as a desktop game and then hopefully a mobile app – I shouldn’t be contributing too much to e-waste at all.
Askaladis, G (2015), ‘The Impact of Large Scale Promotions on the Sales and Ratings of Mobile Apps: Evidence from Apple’s App Store’, Cornell University: Computers and Society.
Mackenzie, T (2012), ‘App store fees, percentages, and payouts: What developers need to know’, TechRepublic, accessed at <http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/software-engineer/app-store-fees-percentages-and-payouts-what-developers-need-to-know/>
Moore, C. (2009), ‘Digital Games Distribution: The Presence of the Past and the Future of Obsolescence’, M/C Journal, vol. 12, no. 3.