So even if it’s not related to serious games in particular, the advice from PlayFish certainly hold true for our space. Obviously the below won’t be enough to make one successful but we could definitely use some more biz-minded people in the learning and games space. That is what is ultimately the biggest challenge. I still believe that before we prove that games and learning can generate real money it will stay niche, because we won’t get the venture money needed to scale the business/area.
“Lesson 0: If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, don’t try and win the market today. You will lose against the competition. Think 3-5 years ahead. Think forward, not about what’s out there now.
Lesson 1: Think like a chief financial officer. “Even I find this boring but it’s important,” said Segerstrale, adding that he always imagines CFO’s to look like Darth Vader. Develop a financially led operating model. If you don’t do this your company will not survive over time. It’s an insurance policy, he said. Understand and manage risk in a hits driven environment. You will get to insure you get to make games tomorrow and get more users over time. How? Look for leverage – can you make operations more efficient or find more ways of increasing revenue? As important as making a game is, ensuring you can have a future as a company is vital.
Lesson 2: Create great product. It sounds obvious but you’ve got to be number one or two in the category you go after. There’s no point being number five. If you don’t believe you can do it, you need to try a different category. Attract the best team, specialise, love your product and polish, polish, polish. Make sure you protect the IP you’re making.
Lesson 3: Kill product ruthlessly. Don’t let it develop if it’s not going in the right direction, no matter how much you love the product. It’s a resource drain. Avoid bad product because you need a high hit ratio. Implement green light gates on projects, assess constantly. Make these formal processes. Get everybody’s input. Don’t see a kill as a failure. Playfish has a kill ratio of 30 per cent.
Lesson 4: Build a platform. Develop adn document tools, technology and processes to constantly improve your efficiency. Think about creating a company not just creating a game. This gives you a better operating leverage and you can scale by hiring junior people to follow those processes rather than higher skilled people to create from scratch. It brings the costs down. Automate everything that can be automated.
Lesson 5: Be a numbers ninja. Playfish collects a billion data points a day. It’s so much data that it’s challenging to figure out what questions to ask from the beginning. Learn to test everything with numbers. Embrace rapid, iterative design. It makes better games, it helps you execute better every day. Create culture around experimentation with numbers. Collect everything, analyse what you can. Get a rocket scientist on board who will relish this data. Make sure metrics are measuable, but not vanity metrics.”
Source: Games Industry