With the advances in technology we have experienced over the past few years we are spoilt for choice when it comes to online games. Whether it is a combat game, a word or brain training game, a game of chance or a game designed for learning new skills, there literally are thousands of online games out there.
So, what separates the hugely successful online games to the ones that most of us have never even heard of? The way a game is developed and designed are key factors as to its future popularity and user growth. Here we explore some of the key areas to consider when designing an online game and what aspect of the design and development stage will help to make it successful.
It Should Be Fun
The word game whether associated with adults or children should first and foremost conger up an image of fun. So many game designers get bogged down by character and feature design they forget about the basic concept of any game which is for it to be enjoyable. The more users that find it enjoyable the more successful the game will become. Some of the most successful games in our history which revert back to the days of arcades are still around today, many in their original format because they were simple and fun. Think Pacman, Donkey Kong and Space Invaders!
Simple Equals Success
The simplest of concepts often attract the most users. Just as Pacman experienced huge success based on a simple concept, many of the top games today are based on that principle. Overcomplicating an online game restricts the number of people who will want to play, or worse still understand how to play. In 2019, Starburst is a great example of a simple yet powerful game design that is one of the top online casino games due to its simplicity and ease of play.
Design with Your Target Market in Mind
Who is your game aimed at? What is their lifestyle like? What is the average amount of time they can spend per day/week on your game given their lifestyle and your games accessibility?
Understanding who your game is aimed at is key to fitting your game into a specific sector of the online gaming industry. It will also be invaluable when you come to market your game as it will assist you in knowing which platforms or mediums of advertising your target user is most likely to respond to. In addition, it will help you to set certain goals as to the number of users, average spend, peak playtimes and to understand your biggest competitor’s games and how your game can stand out from them.
No matter how good you feel the actual concept of your game is, you need to put it to the test. This is probably the most important indication you can ever have as to the future success of your game and any design teething problems. A ‘heads up’ well before you release on any areas that can be improved is invaluable. It is important to test the game, not only yourself but with a cross section of target market individuals.
Support and Knowledge
No matter what your gaming design experience, there is always room for improvement, new ideas, and learning. Technology is ever changing and even if you do have prior online game design experience, you may find by investing some time researching that there are now technological advances and developments that will make your entire design experience much smoother, second or third time around.
Regardless of what has gone before, seek out information from respected online sources that will support your online game development with tools, knowledge and resources to enhance your game design and overall user experience. Remember in such a competitive industry, knowledge is always king!