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Designing a Game for Your Audience

When you set about designing an online game, you’ll have plenty of different things you want to accomplish: from providing quality entertainment for your players to addressing  their specific preferences and more. All in all, there’s a great deal to keep track of!

One of those important concerns is the concept of catering your game to your specific target audience. After all, attracting your audience successfully is what will determine how well your game does, so this should be at the forefront of your mind. With that said, here are a few tips on how to go about arranging your game to appeal to your audience.

Broad-Reaching Games

Broad-Reaching Online GamesIf you’re simply making an independent game, or miscellaneous addition to an existing games site, you’ll have a great deal of freedom in terms of catering to your audience. This is because a miscellaneous game doesn’t come with expectations. You still don’t want your game to be completely abstract though. Choose a general, broad style, such as “RPG Games,” and you’ll naturally draw a large audience.

Games For Specific Audiences

This is where things get much trickier. If you’ve been contracted to build a game for a site with an existing audience, you’ll have a whole new set of concerns about how best to please that audience. For example, say you’ve been contracted to build a new poker game for Bet Fair Casino, a major online gambling site – you’ll need to spend time learning their audience and designing your game to please that audience. Here are a few general tips on how to succeed in this sort of situation.

    • Match The Theme – Figure out the atmosphere and theme (if there is one) of the site you’re designing a game for. Whether the site is serious, goofy, artistic, fancy, etc., your game should match the general feel. A great deal of this will have to do with your game’s graphics, which should blend seamlessly with existing games on the site.
    • Make An Appropriate Tutorial – This is crucial. Your game’s tutorial must clearly explain gameplay while appealing to your specific audience. For example, younger gamers might appreciate less text with more graphics and demos, whereas older gamers may be more patient with written detail.
    • Set Appropriate Difficulty – No one likes a game that’s simply too hard to enjoy, so it’s crucial to adjust your difficulty to fit your audience. Generally speaking, the younger the audience, the easier the game should be. However, you have to find a balance where it’s not too easy, either.
    • Remember The Money – Keep in mind that your game will need to generate income, and be aware of how the site goes about doing this. You’ll need to structure your game in order to match the revenue model, whether that be advertisements, in-game purchases, etc.

Ultimately, if you keep these general tips in mind, you should be able to make a game that fits beautifully with your target audience. Good luck designing your next hit game!

1 Week Left to Buy “Getting Your Flash Game Sponsored” for 75% OFF

Dear readers,

If you haven’t heard yet, my book “Getting Your Flash Game Sponsored” is on sale until August 1 for just $5.

Unfortunately, the summer sale is coming to a close next week. So if you want to get your hands on a great book that’ll teach you everything you need to know to get your Flash game sponsored then go pick it up now.

And if you’re on the fence about it, feel free to check out the chapter overview and what people have been saying about it.

Hope you have a great rest of the summer!

Ryan

Summer Sale! Getting Your Flash Game Sponsored is 75% off

Getting Your Flash Game SponsoredWith summer just around the corner and schools out of session, I want to give every Flash game developer the knowledge he needs to get his game sponsored. To make this happen, I’ve lowered the price to make it an affordable buy for anyone. From now until August 1st, Getting Your Flash Game Sponsored is on sale for just $5.

If you’ve been waiting to buy it, now is the time. For less than the price of a Big Mac meal at McDonald’s, you could have a 186 page guide full of instructions and tips about how to get your Flash game sponsored. Imagine all the Big Mac meals you could buy with your first sponsorship.

If that seems like something you’d be interested in, check out the chapter overview and what people have been saying about it.

Then, go buy it.

 

4 Ways to Increase Your Game’s Profitability After Launch

Picture this: You’ve just gotten your game sponsored, and a nice, (hopefully) fat check is rolling into your bank account. Finally, you’re getting paid for all your hard work. It’s a good place to be, but why should the money stop there?

The Problem with a Typical SponsorshipMoney Floating Away

Before I go bashing sponsorships, let me clarify: I love the sponsorship model (even enough to make a whole book about sponsorships).

Sponsorships are a great, quick source of money. You build a game, sponsors bid on it, and hopefully you get paid enough to compensate for all the time you spent making it.

That being said, let’s get down to the problem the traditional sponsorship formula presents for professional game developers (i.e the model in which a portal pays you a set amount of cash to have their logo, and their logo only, in your game. No ads. No microtransactions. Nada). In order to make a living off your games this way, you have to consistently create new games. You are only paid for the finished work you produce. Once that work has been sold, you aren’t going to make any more money off it. This means it’s back to the development process, back to creating more games.

This formula works for some game development studios, but it doesn’t have much stability. If the sponsorship market is rough for a couple months, if the competition gets fiercer, if you have to wait a few months until your game sells, if you get sick for a month and can’t work on games, you’re out of luck. You better hope you have a pile of cash saved up for times like this.

Another problem the typical sponsorship formula presents is lack of independence. You are letting portals take ownership of your games. When players think of your awesome game, they probably aren’t thinking of you, but where they played it. That’s great for the portal, but it isn’t exactly helping your brand.

How to Keep the Money Rolling In

Money

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So you want to keep making money from your game after you’ve released it?

Then prepare to put in some more work, but you can usually have your cake and eat it too. Sponsors are usually willing to negotiate with you on allowing the following options:

1. Adding Microtransactions to Your Game

If you haven’t heard of microtransactions yet, they’re small, in-game purchases which allow players to enhance their gaming experience. Things like extra-levels, item packages, and bonuses can all be sold as microtransactions.

The reason microtransactions are gaining is popularity is that they’re easy to add, non-intrusive to the player (the player doesn’t have to buy anything to have fun playing your game), and can make you a considerable amount of cash if you do them right.

GamerSafe is one of the major players in the microtransactions market right now, and can be easily integrated into your games. If you’re looking for some ideas to get you started, check out this post.

2. Putting Ads in Your Game

Ads are an easy way to make some extra cash from your games. You just put a few lines of code into your game and BOOM! You’ve got ads running while your game loads.

Ads probably won’t make you as much money as microtransactions, but they’re simple to add and will still be making you money months (or even years) after you’ve released your game. Our favorite ad system for ease of use and earnings potential is MochiAds.

3. Sending Players Back to Your Website

Just because you’ve gotten your game sponsored doesn’t mean you can’t advertise your own (developer) site in the game). Throw up a nice splash screen when you’re game loads to convince players to visit your site.

Once you’ve got a player on your site, you can monetize then by showing them ads on your page, getting them to sign up as a fan on your mailing list (bonus: this will let you keep them updated on all the cool games you’ve been working on), or by giving them the option to donate to you. Which brings me to my next tip…

4. Adding a Donation Button

Players appreciate a game developer who provide them with a great experience, and some will even go out of their way to reward game developers for it. But only if you give them the option. By adding a “Support Us” or “Donate” button within your game, you can give players the option to send you money. Don’t expect to make a fortune, but it’s an easy and non-intrusive way to let players show their love.

Photo Credits
Phillip Taylor
photosteve101

Selling Your Game: a Casino Game

If you liked my post about planning the design for a casino game, you’re going to like this one. In it, I’ll be talking about how to sell your game once you finish it.

Firstly, let’s talk about the preliminaries before we get to how you’ll actually sell your game. Before you can do that, you need to understand the different strategies for making money with it:

  • Sell it to a casino website. Casino websites can be very lucrative, and many of them will pay good money to have site-locked casino games on them. This option can come with a good deal of upfront money, but your game will have to be high quality for casino sites to buy it. You’ll be expected to put special API’s and micro-transactions into your game, but the good news is that you won’t have to do any marketing. We won’t be talking about this model in this post, but it’s good to understand how it works.
  • Custom build it for a casino website. Similar to the above option, custom building a game will require you to utilize special API’s and options which the casino that hired you wants. It can be tedious, but the pay is typically quite high.
  • Use it on your own web portal. In this model, you will keep all the advertising and microtransactions money spent on your game, but ALL the marketing effort falls upon you. If the game is a flop, or if traffic doesn’t come to your site, you won’t see much cash for your efforts.
  • Get it a primary sponsorship. In this model, you will sell branding in your game to a game portal in exchange for a set amount of money. If you decide to take this route, the game portal will help you market your game, but a good deal of the games success will depend on you and how you market it.

Essentially, your choices boil down to two options:

  1. Make your game for someone else, and let them keep the in-game microtransactions and advertising money that comes from the game.
  2. Release the game with either your portal or another portal’s branding, and keep the microtransactions money.

Let’s talk about the first option. If you’re going to be selling your game to a casino site, why bother making it before you know what they want? Instead, go to them directly. This will save you the trouble of making a game, then finding out that nobody wants to buy it. For example, many casino sites have recently shifted towards mobile development and don’t want to spend money on a browser game when most of their players are looking to play great mobile games.

Casino sites generally have large marketing budgets, and they’d probably be happy to have a custom-built game on their site. It provides them with more money and keeps their players on their site. If this is the option you want to take, I’d recommend reaching out to casino website owners. A simple Google search will find you a number of casino websites, and from there it’s just a matter of coming up with a good email template, sending the email. Then you just sit back and wait for them to reply.

Next, we’ll talk about releasing the game through your portal or another portal. This method will net you less money upfront, but you’ve got a shot at making a lot of money via microtransactions (people tend to spend a LOT of money when they gamble). However, the money isn’t going to come easily. Just because you’ve got a casino game doesn’t mean people are going to play it. Here’s why:

  1. People want to trust that they will be safe spending money online
  2. People want a sense of competition. They aren’t going to feel this if nobody is playing the game.

For the above mentioned reasons, casino games are typically trickier to make money from on your own. Casinos already have an established system of players looking to play an exciting range of online games. The players continually come back, unlike the typical Flash game player who plays a game for a little while before throwing it away for a new one.

To sum it all up, casino games can be a great way to make money as a developer, but only if done right. You’ve got to mitigate the risks with the rewards in order to come out on top. If you do it all right though, you’ll have a money-making hit on your hands.

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