It’s All About the Content

It’s All About the Content

There is no doubt our industry is facing the greatest transition in its relatively short history.
This transition, while mainly driven by technological advances and hence newly derived consumer habits, is currently obsessing an entire generation of both consumers and industry professionals.

Every single day, in almost every single news article, words like “social“, “freemium“, “free to play“, “micro-transactions“, “in-app purchase” are proudly spoken, shifting everyone’s focus away from the only thing that really matters: the content.

Every time a new something-ville is released on Facebook, or a new angry-something promises you free fun on your smart phone, thousands of words are inevitably spent on the importance of being social, or giving away content for free to win a solid customer base. But what about the game?

As professionals, we are all surely excited to witness business models changes, the birth of new distribution channels and profound changes in how to relate with customers.
But let’s not forget all these new things are just means to sell content, tools to expand our business.

Excited as little kids, we are literally distracting both users and investors away from the core of our industry, in favor of an obsessive and simplistic analysis of some business development trends.

Ultimately, it’s all about the content.
That’s what our customers are paying for.

Regardless of the platform, the business model, being digital, free to play, AAA, social, anti-social or what else, the quality of the content presented is what makes people turn on their devices and, most importantly, invest their own limited entertainment time in your game.

Ultimately, it’s all about the content. That’s what our customers are paying for.Every novelty wears off pretty quickly in our industry.
The obsessive-compulsive disorder of having 893 iFarts installed on your smartphone and 43 social games accounts makes no exception.
Once that novelty wears off too, people will eventually get tired of cluttering their devices with free casual games just for the sake of it.
And finding themselves with no other clue, they will probably drop the whole gaming thing at once.

A behavior so typical of the “information overflow” syndrome, where our brain is literally overwhelmed by a never ending offer of entertainment, and enjoys the temporary euphoria without even realizing what kind of content is being offered.

In a way, it reminds me of the incredible joy and almighty feeling of buying a 250 channels cable subscription, just to discover after 1 month that there are actually only three interesting channels.

Original, quality content is what will eventually maximize your studio’s success rate and sustainability, over time.
And this is what counts in a business.
This is what makes you stand out when talking to investors.

Don’t feel guilty because your game is not casual or social!If you have good, fresh and interesting ideas, and you know how to develop those into a good product for a specific target, don’t be afraid of not being “free to play”.
If you’re not, there’s surely a good reason.

Don’t feel guilty because you’re not “casual” or “social”.
It means nothing. You are just targeting a specific audience among the masses.

Don’t lose your sleep trying to find a plausible way to become “freemium”.
Episodic content or free demos are nothing new, you’re not really missing anything here.

In the end, even if you may end up being labeled as a retrograde today, you will be probably enjoying success tomorrow, and surviving all those me-too startups so typical of transition bubbles.

Massimo Guarini

Visionary Creative Director and long-time industry veteran, Massimo is the volcanic mind behind the award-winning Murasaki Baby. He attained cult status by directing the award-winning “Shadows of the Damned” with Suda51, Shinji Mikami and Akira Yamaoka, for Grasshopper Manufacture in Tokyo.
In 2012 Massimo established his own game production studio: Ovosonico.

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