A note before I start: This is a list in jest to make fun of archetypal people you could possibly run across in the game industry. I know firsthand because I have been, and still am, some of these. So if you feel offended because you identify with one of these description, take solace in knowing that we are all that annoying person to someone at our studio. The Prestigious Career Transfer Ever wonder what a game designed by a Banker is like? Me neither. This is your classic Management Consultant, Lawyer, Investment Banker or Private Equity Analyst that is stepping down to join the game industry because… they think they like games sorta. Equipped with an ivy-league degree, they[…]

I took an interview with a game consultancy to earn part-time income while I finish my current project. After a phone interview and a zoom interview, they gave me a take home “test”. The “test” was estimated to take 4-7 hours. I needed to use their slideshow template and make everything “as if it is a final delivery to a client”.  Here were the requirements: Personal Breakdown my work history over the last 5-years include companies, games, positions and skills as it relates to F2P product management Breakdown what I think the elements that make up F2P product management are and what my strengths are in each one Game XYZX (it is an actual live mobile game) Technical Stack Break[…]

Which game genre has been beaten to death by entries that bring nothing new to it? MOBA, Match-3, Battle Royale, Hero Shooter, Survival, Sandbox, Mobile Strategy, CCG, Metroidvanias, Platformers? No matter the platform or development budget, if a game is very successful, than fast follows are guaranteed to well… follow fastly. But why do strings of companies attempt to capture the success of a genre leader by shallow-copying it? And more importantly, does this fast follow strategy ever work? The why is easy to explain. Professional level games are very difficult to make and even more difficult to forecast revenue generation. Making a game with a completely original game design is risky both financially and executionally. Coming up with games[…]

In my opinion, Art is the most important aspect of any game. It is the first thing the player connects with about your game and, likely, the leading factor into a potential customer opening up their wallet. Art can be familiar, bridging the gap between a new product and warm feelings from games they already enjoy. Art can differentiate your product from competitors or alienate an entire customer base. Of all the emotion and mood-setting properties of your game’s Art, the color palette is perhaps the most important. Unfortunately Color Theory (link) and other wonderful things you would learn during some MFA graduate program take years of practice and thousands of dollars to learn. Fortunately technology has bridged the gap[…]

Staying true to a laser-focused design is important when making games. Without a north star to look at when making decisions can lead to games that feel lost, contradictory or, at worse, soulless. Art designers use mood boards, accountants have bottom lines but what do designers have as a north star to look towards when weighing which game mechanic to implement or which features to cut to ship the game in time? Story time: I once worked at a big game publisher in their central org. One day, a co-worker presented our “targeted” games list based on some indicators that were questionable. Our target games included very broad categories and genres like “Action/Adventure” or “FPS”. What constitutes an Action/Adventure game?[…]

One tool I do not see enough developers use is a content burn map. This is one of the most powerful pre-production tools for any Producer or Product Manager and can answer questions from scoping and progression to drop rates and content burn rate. Have you ever pondered: How powerful will player characters be after  3-months? How many levels do I need at launch? How much content do I need to make and at what rate do I need to release it? Then I have the tool for you! A content burn map, which is a name I unceremoniously came up with for this article, is a tool that models how different cohorts of users interact with your game over[…]

Chances are if you have ever interviewed for a Product Manager role at a game company, FAANG or any b2c tech company you have been asked some form of this question: “You walk into the office and metric X is down by Y percent. What do you do?”. After you get the obligatory “blame it on the engineers” joke out of the way, you’ll need to dazzle your interviewer with what is known in consulting as root cause analysis. As games as a service continue to dominate the industry, root cause analysis will become an increasingly important skill to have in any live ops role PM role. Here’s the scenario: you come into the office and your daily revenue from[…]

After a long layoff, I’m happy to announce my blogging ways will return to a normal cadence. For the rest of 2019 and through 2020, I will be providing a new entry each and every week from breaking game design processes to sharing my thoughts on game strategy and the industry in general. – Eric McConnell