Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Expectation Setting

The truth is, it's easy to be successful when you get to define success. Everyone has the experience of having expectations set by others, whether we're talking about a Board of Directors expecting a quarterly revenue number, or just parents expecting a GPA. What happens when you set your own expectations for an indie game feels just as important as coming up with the core concept...

The truth is that expectations shift and change, but my first stab at them back when we were a two-person team still guide my thinking. The numbers have shifted a bit as we've continue to grow the team and embrace "feature creep", but the philosophy behind them remains the same. We're doing this as a passion project, and even our expectations if the game is a runaway success embrace a bit of silliness and acknowledge the necessity of having fun at this. Here is a somewhat embarrassing look at the original draft with only the names of other games removed.

MINIMUM EXPECTATIONS: This game should be a product that all players of [other competitive, turn-based wizard dueling games] want to play and support. Further they should be able to easily encourage their friends to play, resulting in thousands of installs worldwide. Reviews should be 4 out of 5 on average. These installs should lead to dozens of Daily Average Users (DAU), and if Microtransactions (MTX) are implemented we should expect an Daily Average Revenue Per User (DARPU) of $0.03, in-line with typical performing casual games or the low end of mid-core games. The team will have enjoyed a fun project together, and have good things to say about team mates.

HIGH EXPECTATIONS: This game should be lauded as the only way to play [games of this type] and reach critical success with reviewers, with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5. Viral growth across several supported platforms, along with no pay-to-win mechanic has led to 200,000 installs with thousands of DAU and strong retention. As a hardcore game with monetization tied to core loop mechanics, DARPU is $0.20. The game generates questionable fan-fiction on the internet, and several members of the team actually develop pseudo-magical powers. We strongly consider either extending the project, or collaborating on another.

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