Eric Ries, The Lean Startup, Making Lean Startup Tactics Work For Games: Business Planning

Three top lean start-up tips for the gaming industry

By Michelle Hammond
Thursday, 19 April 2012

A gaming industry expert has applied Erie Ries’ lean start-up model to game development, offering tips on how developers can use the model to reduce their expenses.


Ries is the author of The Lean Startup, which advocates the creation of rapid prototypes and using customer feedback in an effort to evolve designs faster than more traditional practices.


Ries’ lean start-up model inspired gaming expert Tyler York to write an article titled “Making Lean Startup Tactics Work for Games”.


In addition to practicing lean start-up methods at Betable – a platform that lets game developers creative new games by adding real-money play – York has spoken with other developers who already follows these techniques.


In his article, York said developers should strive to make games more cheaply, and that can be accomplished by incorporating the lean start-up method into their production process.


“I’ve spoken to many developers who are trying it right now,” York said.


“So what would a ‘lean game development’ process look like? How can game developers adopt the lean start-up model to be more appropriate for building a game?”


York identifies some key points:


1. Minimum viable game


“In The Lean Startup, a minimum viable product is the bare minimum that you need to build in order to test the assumptions of your business,” York wrote.


“A minimum viable game is similar: you need to build the bare minimum game experience necessary to prove that people find your core game mechanic engaging.”


“What this looks like is going to depend on the type of game that you’re creating and what game mechanic you want to test.”


2. Set up a game experiment


“When setting up your first game experiment, you should have a specific goal in mind.”


“A typical goal could be to prove that players enjoy the core gameplay of the game, or that players can understand the game mechanics and adapt to harder enemies over time.”


“From your goal, you should be able to determine your hypothesis, or what you expect to happen, and the metrics that you can use to measure the results.”


3. Run the experiment


“The advantages of building a MVG are that you can immediately see if players take to your gameplay idea.”


“Player feedback is 10 times more valuable than internal testing because it ensures honest feedback, removes the chance of preconceived bias and puts your product in the hands of your actual customers.”


“The most important part of running an experiment is tracking your game’s key metrics and evaluating the results.”

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