Mobile Game Industry Points of View

The “Giant Spider” Problem

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If you’re Steve Jobs, and you possess an uncanny insight into consumer preferences and latent unanticipated customer needs you can rely on your instincts to direct teams to dramatically change products or add features which make products much better. The big question however is: “Are you Steve Jobs?” or are you just some executive schmuck sticking your nose in where you’re going to damage a team and a product. Kevin Smith, the movie director, gave a really great talk in 2002 on his DVD “An Evening with Kevin Smith”. In the talk he describes how he worked on writing the script for Superman Returns and the interactions he had with the executive producer Jon Peters. I particularly like this talk because it describes a major problem I’ve seen more generally: senior executives who jump into … [Continue reading]

The World’s Greatest: Why Activision Needs to Acquire Glu and Ember Entertainment

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Context: Huge pent-up demand exists for Blizzard IP based mobile games (e.g., Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo). We see strong market evidence of this demand in the countless number and success of infringing mobile games that operate without formal … [Continue reading]

The “Strange Attractor” in Video Game Design

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Context Before gameplay, mechanics, monetization, or any other key design consideration, a new video game design needs to consider the most important aspect of all: a good concept. Feature film screenwriter Terry Rossio (credits include Shrek, … [Continue reading]

Mobile Game Design: Iteration vs. Planning, MVP = Dangerous!

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Mobile game design typically follows two primary schools of design philosophy: Iteration based design = Just get some core mechanics in and then keep iterating until you get something fun; some initial but not extensive design before … [Continue reading]

China Mobile Game Market: What You Need to Know!

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China’s mobile gaming market has been experiencing explosive growth and and is projected to soon overtake the US market by as early as next year in 2015. Independent research firm Niko Partners estimates China’s mobile game market to grow 93% to … [Continue reading]

+1 Game Design: A Problem-centric Framework

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I was recently asked about the best approach to come up with a +1 mobile game design and wanted to cover this topic. In my view, a very specific approach and process to maximize your chances for success should be considered. What is that approach? … [Continue reading]

Mobile UI and Game Design: Screens vs. Flows

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Context: Mobile game design by flows refers to the concept of mapping out the entire set of screens a user can tap through in a mobile game: the user flows. While many of the larger mobile game studios such as Zynga or GREE routinely design UI/UX … [Continue reading]

The Compulsion Loop Explained

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A man can surely do what he wills to do, but cannot determine what he wills. - Arthur Schopenhauer Since the introduction of the concept of the compulsion loop applied to video games was introduced as early as 2001 by John Hopson (while a … [Continue reading]

How Complexity Domain Impacts Software Development Process

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Should your software product development team be agile? The answer I almost always hear (especially in Silicon Valley) seems to be "of course, yes", but the right answer should be: "it depends." These days there seems to be a bit of religion and … [Continue reading]

Implications of “Alpha” and “Beta” in Mobile Gaming

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Bear with me on this post. There will be some financial jargon and a bit of math but the conclusions drawn I believe will be worth your read (at least I hope so!). Let's first start with some financial theory which will form the basis of the … [Continue reading]