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 down the entire tech stack (from cloud services, engines, SDK, APIs) I would recommend be used this game and how each of these connect to each other to make up an entire live ops game tech stack
    • KPIs
      • Create the topline KPIs report card. Measure and calculate the KPIs and give a report of how I think they are doing compared to other games for each KPI
      • In a 90-day time window, pretend I am instructing a team of X engineers, Y artist and Z designers. Give a timeline of what they should implement and how this will impact the KPIs from the report card
      • Create a long term calendar of key release dates and deployments of new features past those 90-days. Create a long-term UA plan on when and how UA money should be spent. Explain the plan for A/B testing by stating what should be tested and how you would measure success on this calendar. How would you measure results on this long-term calendar and how long will it take to reach each estimated KPI lift
    • Market
      • Creating a game-space mapping of where Game XYZ sits. Who are its competitors? What genres is it a part of?
      • Create a diagram of what market share (revenue) Game XYZ has in its main genre. Show what market share and revenue Game XYZ could have at the end of 2020 is Game XYZ follows my advice
  • Best-Practices
    • For each of the following “disciplines”:
      • UI Design
      • Live-Ops Design
      • Metagame Design
      • Economy Design
      • Progression Design
      • IAP Merchandising Design
    • You need to do the following
      • Define what this disciplines means
      • Identify one or more areas where Game XYZ is weak in this discipline, provide pictures/videos
      • Provide an example of another game that does this discipline better than Game XYZ, provide pictures/videos
      • Provide what metrics this discipline impacts and what the delta would be if Game XYZ implemented what the other game does

And yes, they gave me a login for Game XYZ’s live metrics and analytics to do this all (which I don’t know if Game XYZ knows this is being given out).

You may be thinking, “Wow that’s a lot for a take home interview, in fact it almost looks like a complete deliverable that would be handed to a client”. Then you came to the same conclusion I did. I believe this game consultancy has interviewers generate deliverables for free and hands them off to clients for $X0,000. The front section is for “we hired John Doe who’s worked on these games at these companies to specifically fix your game”.

I suppose you could say “They gave you a big ask in a tight deadline to weed out people who could perform”. For this I would ask who could meaningfully do a deep dive into a brand new game, it’s economy, design, systems, meta-systems, market competitors, etc. in 4-7 hours? Just playing the game and it’s comp titles should be 10+ hours alone. I would estimate a thorough job on all the asks to take 3-weeks to produce meaningful work.

I imagine a lot of the deliverables that come out of these companies are “ARPDAU is down, run dynamic sales with short time limits” or “D7 Retention is down, moar push notifications!!1”. I can’t imagine paying $200+/hr for work that is being handed off to interviewees or, at best, is being hastily done and billable hours are fudged.