MA Game Design: Elevator Pitches & Game Ideation Documents
Hey, heey, heeeeeeeey
This will probably be quite a short post to cover the main interesting things that happened this week. So let's get right into it!
Game Ideation Doc & Elevator Pitch
First up was some more writing. With the idea confirmed, we needed to do a game ideation document, which basically meant writing up the proposal for the idea with a few additional headers. Sadly, because of how blogs work with Wix, I cannot display them at all, so the document will be available to download below:
The document covers all the important elements of the game, from the platform and target audience to the level design and characters, so feel free to have a read!
Additionally, we needed to prepare an elevator pitch for the class, which was also presented to a couple of graduates that came in to provide a talk on monetisation and games as a service. The pitch was fixed at 1 minute + 10 seconds if you needed it to wrap up your presentation and maximum of 2 slides. I decided to just have the title of the game plus several images on one slide, with the images transitioning in a loop between their original and Photoshopped versions. The Photoshopped versions are viewable in the previous post where I discussed the art direction I am thinking of taking this project.
Monetisation and Games as a Service (GaaS)
I'll keep this quite brief, but as mentioned, we had a couple of graduates come in to give a talk to the class. The focus was on monetisation and GaaS, as well as the state of games in 2021. We covered quite a bit about how the industry has changed and developed since it began, with some talk on whether single player games were "dead". Many people still enjoy those games, including myself, but it seems that as a business model they are less successful than multiplayer games. Why? Because they don't bring in enough money to offset the costs to make them!
The options for generating income also seem to be considerably fewer for single player games than when looking at multiplayer games. In multiplayer games, it is very easy to create content that players have the choice to purchase, particularly if it is something like cosmetics that alter appearances or if it is something which can directly change the game you are playing. With the birth of the mobile gaming industry, paying for this type of content has become vastly more accepted among people, sometimes to the point that a player could be stigmatised for either purchasing (wealthy / experienced player) or not purchasing content (newbie / rookie player). This acceptance has spread to all platforms of gaming that can offer it, particularly when a game is offered as a Free to Play title but contains an abundance of in-game purchases that you can make.
When the content has direct impact on a game, like buying time skips to build buildings faster in Clash of Clans, it gives the player a competitive edge over other players. This will, in theory, lead to greater chances of being successful in combat when engaging other players in battles, which makes the game feel more fun to play. Conversely, if you chose to wait instead of buying, then you may be left at a disadvantage, making it more likely you might lose and thus making the game less fun. This might push players to start buying so that they avoid feeling defeated frequently.
For content that is much more about aesthetics, like new skins for weapons or characters, there's a chance you might be one of a few players that has that skin. So, when you load up into multiplayer matches with your newly bought cosmetic, you can show it off to other players and make yourself look more interesting or impressive to those that don't have access to it. For other players, they might see it and think "hey, I like how that looks!" and will consider potentially buying it for themselves so that they can have it too. This thought becomes even more pressured when you add in the limited time content because of how it triggers the fear of missing out effect. Plus, it means that particular content will become more "valuable" since you can only get it for a set period of time, and so has the same effect as when real world items are made in limited numbers. The value associated with them becomes even greater, so acquiring that limited item will feel so much better to have and use when you engage with other players in the game.
These methods can therefore extend the lifetime of a game greatly, particularly if the game is free to play as generating a continuous stream of new content promises a continuous stream of income for the company. If you have millions of players and a portion of them are spending money on your in-game content, then you'll be able to support yourself. Single player games cannot do this, generally because the value of the content is lesser. You might be able to purchase DLC (downloadable content) that, say, gives you a shiny new weapon and some buffs, but since you cannot show them to anyone, there isn't much 'point' in buying them. The lack of a social factor will generally discourage players from purchasing cosmetics or other items, which usually means a lot more resources need to be invested into delivering extra single player content that will actually be bought. This type of DLC is usually in the form of a brand new area in the game, meaning that you need to hire people that can create a new story, design a new set of levels, develop new characters, and so on. With the multiplayer cosmetics, it might just be changing the texture of an object to make it look prettier - the cost is considerably cheaper to do.
We also touched on how the Chinese mobile market is a massive sector that, if you can tap into it and do well, your business and game will likely do very well too - something that I learned last year when I did research into mobile games!
That felt quite fast, but that was the catch up for this week! Right now, I am working on the next presentation I have to do - this time its a 7 minute interim pitch. The work, so far, is all formative. Meaning that we will receive feedback on how our pitches are before the proper one that takes place in January (which is marked).
I've hit a bit of a wall with a piece of the design which I am hoping to have figured out before the interim pitch, so will see how that goes!
Well, thanks for reading and see you next week, buh byyyeee! :)