This past Saturday, we attended the second half of a small business workshop focused on developing a good business plan. While this is all bureaucratic in nature, we felt it is a necessary step in getting our games going. We found a few things, we felt were really important:
- It requires us to figure out what our goals are as a company. What we want to focus on in the short term and long term.
- It forced us to really analyse the market for the games we are developing.
- It made us really look at what our competitors are doing and what they do well and what they are doing poorly.
- It made us look closer at the financial side of things.
So let’s look at some of these in stride.
Our goals as a company are to make games that we would want to play. Not only that, we want them to be games that we would want to play with our families or let our kids play on their own. Willis and I both have kids, My oldest is nearing 7 and I would love for him to be able to play these games with me. Some of our games may be a bit over younger kids’ heads, but we feel they should not have to leave the room when their parents or older siblings play.
We also want to dedicate time and resources in developing and releasing games that are not full of game breaking bugs. Our first games will be browser based games playable from Facebook and other game portals. It has become common practice in Facebook game development to slap the word “beta” on the title of the game and release it full of bugs and glitches that often break the game or are exploitable. We want to avoid this. We want to be confident that what we are releasing is something we feel comfortable labeling “Gold Master.”
We also got to look hard at some of our competitors in the web based gaming scene. We feel our closest competitors to our first two games are Zynga’s Warstorm and Feerik’s Eredan. Both of these games are online collectible card games. They are drastically different in both gameplay and art direction but are both fairly fun to play. We have been analysing these games over the last few months (yes that means we got to play games) and have been looking at what they do well, both from gameplay and monetisation using free to play methods) and what they do not do well. Neither game seems to have regular updates or promotions that I have seen. Warstorm seems to be focused on retain their dwindling user base and Eredan seems to be content sitting where it is. We look forward to competing with them and hopefully spur them to innovate and expand to reach new audiences. After all, nothing is less fun in competing against someone who does not want to compete.
Finally, in regards to financials, we are looking to start up with relative low over head. Nothing wrong with that. We are both working full time elsewhere and are wanting to move into working for ourselves full time in the near future. So we really need to understand what it would take to build up our company to reach that point.
All in all, this business plan is important to us to keep us focused, but it is also important for other reasons, which I am not going to go into just yet. Suffice it to say, we are working on something that requires us to have a business plan as well as a game design and prototype. We will keep you informed as we learn more.