It used to be that game production required an immense amount of money and development time – and then could only be played on consoles. A number of years ago, gamers and general consumers found that they could have almost as much fun with the online games that popped up everywhere like wildflowers on the side of California’s I-5. Whether it was branded games or just your run-of-the-mill-completely-turn-you-into-a-zombie-after-hours-of-play game, the availability for online gaming was endless. And now, simplified development of fun play for mobile devices is making it that much easier to get in the game.
The development of games and time to market has continued to get shorter and more refined – effectively creating a grown-up form of a lemonade stand. Someone can have an idea for a mobile game, build it themselves in a number of weeks and then the only thing holding it back from market is the approval process from Apple or Google. Once that’s done, your $.99 offering is out there for anyone to find, download and play. Of course, much like selling lemonade, the corner you are on is key. Just because you’re out there does not ensure downloads, but with the proper support, you can look to make a dent.
In fact, there’s a game that hasn’t even been released yet that is already setting up their virtual corner – getting some buzz and already allowing pre-orders on their website. The content of the game is indicative of how quickly a game can come to market and how it can be a timely reflection of what’s going on in the world. In the case of Clear The Park, the player is given the role of the 1% in Occupy Wall Street saga. Players must figure out ways to get the protestors out of the park in front of their building. Though tongue-in-cheek, the creators say they gameplay will lead to actual protestors getting gift cards to buy sundry items.
The same development company is also promoting another forthcoming app that plays off of the news in real-time. Is this time-relevant release of games the sign of things to come? Are the opportunities to satirize current events no longer limited to television, blogs, videos and images? It seems that mobile games will be a great resource to enter the fray in a more engaging way. BUT, marketing and promotion of those games will be the key.
One way that could help get these games into the market in a big way would be through partnerships with brands and the types of shows that the gameplay is comparable to. If treated almost like an M&A, the game could be produced and then earn money straight away as a partnership is formed with the well-known brand. Then, there could be marketing and buzz created through that larger company’s existing outlets.
One has to wonder how long it will be until we see a Eurozone game where the player acts as Angela Merkel needing to slap government members from Greece, Spain and Italy. Hopefully there’s not enough time left in the NBA lockout to have some fun gameplay involving Commissioner David Stern and members of the Player’s Association. Certainly, there’s too many opportunities to get in the game, just play smartly.