Week 11 — Supporting your game after launch

2021-12-01

Welcome to week 11 of the module indie game startup.

By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • Manage the launch of a game.
  • Plan game updates.
  • Handle customer issues.
  • Conduct post-launch marketing.

Live-ops

As a web developer by trade, I take live-ops as a given. You don’t put a web app or site out there and then it’s done: you constantly update it. (It gets more technical than this, i.e. updating the app while the user is using it, invalidating caches reliably so old and new code aren’t mixed, etc)

Jowsey (2018) says the main components of live-ops are:

  • events
  • promotions
  • new content
  • new features
  • community management
  • problem management

I think that for a resource-starved small studio, focus on new content and features, and all the rest will be implied. I.e. if you have a new feature, then you can create an event or promotion or community outreach around it.

Well-resourced studios can probably afford to do more, like events for its own sake, like competitions, or an AMA with the lead designer.

Other thoughts

Early access

Not all games lend themselves well to Early Access, and for the games that do, the process will look different for each, but I suppose I will give EA a shot, if it fits.

It seems that players don’t want any mechanics to change, but do welcome new content. But also, they don’t want changes to existing content. Folks like new stuff, they just don’t like change.

DLC

Whether you make DLC or not (or as we called them in ye olde days, “expansion packs”), seems to depend on the success of your game. If a game doesn’t do well, you won’t be able to afford to work on DLC. On the other hand, might a good DLC save a game?

I guess it depends on the game: if it was a good game badly promoted, sure. If it was a bad game, maybe not. I would just fix the bad game, rather than make DLC.

Bibliography

  1. JOWSEY, Becky. 2018. “What Is Live Ops and Why Should You Care?” pocketgamer.biz. Available at: https://www.pocketgamer.biz/comment-and-opinion/69071/what-is-live-ops-and-why-should-you-care/ [accessed 1 Dec 2021].

This post is part of my critical reflective journal and was written during week 11 of the module indie game startup.

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