What kind of game should I make?
What kind of game should I make? Should I go and research my game before I do it? Should I look for a market? Should I start with the money first and then try and make a game that fits the market? Should I start with the game and then try to find a market that fits my game? What should I do? Where do I go? I get questions like this all time guys, and one of the things I’d like to say to everyone everywhere making any type of game, YOU SHOULD START WITH THE GAME THAT YOU WANT TO PLAY. Make the game that you want to play first.
Now, there are some exceptions to this rule, let me discuss that later—I want to discuss my premise before anything else. First, when you make the game that you want to play, you know there’s a market for it because YOU want that game to exist however small that market may be, you know there is a market for it. Many people think that they might be the only one into this niche subject but the world is a very big place. And with the Internet economy, you’d be surprised how many people you can find who are into some of the same things that you’re into.
So making the game that you want to play ensures that you can make a good game. If you make the game that you want to play, you have experience in those genres, you play those type of games, and you’re not pulling the idea out of thin air. You want to make a specific type of game for a specific purpose, because you think it would be cool.
When you do that:
1. Your motivation levels stay higher for longer. Your passion draws that out because you want to make the game.
2. You are sure there’s a market for it.
Some of the drawbacks to choosing a game like this are:
1. Occasionally, the game that you want to make is too big to make. For example, I talked in a couple articles about how I wanted to make this triple-A FPS for a very long time, it was a triple-A FPS RPG crazy, super big game. THAT was a game that I wanted to play. To make that game and actually go through that process would take a ton of time and resources. That is not something that I want to put my time effort into in the next couple of years. I prefer to spend it on smaller projects.
So that’s a consideration you have to make. Because it may not be feasible to make that game. And in that case, I would say that some of the other stuff that I talked about would apply. You have to figure out whether it’s right for you. Figure out all the different details and whether or not it’s actually something you want to devote a long period of time to.
2. Another drawback of choosing a game that you want to play is, there is a possibility that other people don’t want to play it. Now, I think this is slim to none if anything, but it IS a possibility.
Many people on the business side of games, they see the game business as a business first. And because business is the key word, the approach to games is very different from a game developer’s approach which is make the game first then try to make money from it. In the mobile market, it’s quite common to do some research on what kind of games are selling, what kind of games make money, what are the highest grossing games, what are top apps in the App Store, what stuff gets featured by Apple and Google, and all that. All this information goes through analysis and research. Then from there, they try to figure out what kind of game they should make based on target demographics.
Another thing they do is they have an existing audience to figure out what kind of game would work well with them. That’s a very good and safe business practice. When you start with the research, demographics, and stuff like that, that makes sense from a business perspective, but it’s a safe decision. Anytime you have a safe decision, there’s not going to be a high reward. Most of the stuff that yields super high rewards are also incredibly high risk.
When you take the safe approach, you’re actually behind the market at that point. You don’t actually know that this isn’t just a trend and that something new isn’t going to come out tomorrow. It’s also possible that nobody cares about those types of games any more. Essentially, what you’re trying to do is copy the market and make something similar that fits in the market. Which again, from a business perspective, makes sense. It’s safer. But from a game developer’s perspective, when you’re trying to make a game that’s amazing, a game that’s new and unique, sometimes you can’t do that. Sometimes to innovate, you have to start from a different footing.
You have to start from a different perspective. To make a truly great game, something that’s new, something that’s unique, something that most people haven’t seen before… YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE GAME THAT YOU WANT TO PLAY. Because any one of these other games like Minecraft or Flappy Bird, those games were drastically different from anything else out at the time.
They took advantage of making the game that they wanted. It didn’t exist yet. There was no way that research could have shown them that those games would take off. There was no market data, there were no focus groups. They made the game that they wanted to play and the risk paid off. Now, I’m not saying your game is going to be next Minecraft or Flappy Bird, I’m just using them as an example because everybody knows those games and what they are.
But I think the lesson there is if you want to make a great game, something unique, and really feels like it’s part of you, and you’re in it for the creative potential versus the market potential, that way is less safe and more risky than doing the research stuff. But it has it has plus sides, right?
You really need to weigh which one you want. Personally, I always make the games that I want to play. A lot of times, those are really simple mobile games because those are what I spend a lot of time on when I’m on the go, I can just open my phone and use them. Recently, I’ve been doing procedural generated games. And those are the games that I want to exist. A lot of times when I play a game, I’d be like, “Oh, I wish this game had this, I wish this game had that.” Or I’ll play another game and say, “Hey, I wish there’s like a hybrid of these two games.” Sometimes I’d make a game out of a couple of games I like by combining the two and see what I can build. I think that’s a really cool way to innovate in games and make new things and create things that other people haven’t seen before.
But it’s not always the best from a sales perspective. That doesn’t matter though. Because again, if you really succeed in creating something that you want to play—something you play for countless hours, and it’s addicting, there’s going to be a market for it. There are going to be other people out there that want to play this thing and like it, because you made the game that you wanted to exist. It’s a great way to protect yourself from making a game that you don’t know how people are going to react to. You don’t know for sure whether people are going to like it or not. When you want to play it, you’ve proven that there’s at least of one person on the planet that likes it. And chances are, if there’s one person, there’s a thousand!
The world is a lot bigger than you think it is, trust me. I’ve been through this before and there are markets for everything on the planet, anything you can think of. You type it in the search bar in Google and there is a message board or forum or some kind of market for it. It’s insane! It blows me away every day!
I just wanted to share with you game developers that there are so many great games that come from making the game that you want to play. And I think that’s one of the best ways to really create something unique, creative, stands the test of time in the game development space, and in the gaming industry; not just end up as another market clone or whitewashed by the whole genre or the business of Play Store or Steam and such. I just think it’s a better way to create awesome games.
So whether you agree with me or not, leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you.