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Fundamentally Games’ Oscar Clark on how and when to save a failed game | Pocket Gamer.biz


Making a welcome return for 2021, the first PocketGamer.biz MasterClass sessions of the year are coming up in just a couple of weeks.

These deep-dive workshop sessions take an in-depth look at practical games design topics. The finest industry experts bring you professional, half-day activities featuring tutorials, lectures and breakout groups, all accessible from the comfort of your home office.

There are five workshops taking place on March 9-11 where you can expect to explore a range of key games design topics, from game design to monetisation and investment.

Today, we’d like to introduce Oscar Clark, Chief Strategy Officer at Fundamentally Games LTD, who will lead a session titled How (& When) to Save a Failed Game on Wednesday March 10th from 10:00-13:00 (UK time).

Oscar is the bearer of one of the most recognizable hats in the games industry; and has a reputation for hosting, speaking and moderating at games industry events around the world. He has been working with online games since 1998 running BT’s online games platform, Wireplay. Since then he has been global lead for games for Hutchison Whampoa and their mobile operator Three in the UK, the most successful mobile games platform in terms of revenue per user in the world in 2005. He was also Home Architect for Sony’s Online Virtual World, Playstation Home and evangelist for Unity Ads, one of the most successful advertising networks in games. He also wrote the book “Games As A Service” which was published in 2014 by Routledge.

Tell us a bit about your company

Fundamentally Games Ltd was founded in 2019 to focus on helping game developers with managing live operations to scale their game. We are all about creating engagement through scheduled events, promotions, content and feature releases. This way we help developers bring their games to live and scale them by getting more players, doing more things, more often and for longer.

What does your role entail?

We joke that I’m the Chief of Curiosity, which means I’m always exploring what is possible for living games. The role is extremely varied. A lot of the time I am running strategic workshops, writing reports or analysing game and market data. Additionally, I help lead my team reviewing games, developing game and monetisation designs, marketing and testing strategy. I also get to spend a lot of time talking at conferences and hosting panels and session tracks. This is hugely important to make sure that I keep myself up to date on the latest trends and insights in the industry.

Is there anything you’re working on currently that you’d like our readers to know about?

We are about to make a big announcement, but you will have to wait a couple of weeks for that. In the meantime, we are heads down working with some incredible development teams to bring their games to live. The most fun at the moment is seeing how we have been able to apply lessons learned from Hypercasual developers to create an early KPI based testing process to help make sure games are ready for LiveOps. We have also been working with a big UK charity to help them use game streaming to help them fundraise.

What topic will you be covering in your Masterclass?

I’m covering the topic that dominated my consulting work over the last few years before we formed Fundamentally Games LTD. I was often called in by developers who had released their game, only to find out that it just didn’t deliver the goods. The tricky part is when to cut your losses and when and how to save the game.

The session will be broken into three stages where we first Triage, then Diagnose and finally Prescribe what needs to be done. The aim is to take away the emotion and look at the data to help decide whether to kill or save your game. The principles are the same whether you are looking at PC, Console or Mobile. You need to review, test, assess to find out if there is an opportunity first, and only then can you identify the changes to lift the performance of your game to make them successful commercially.

Who is this Masterclass for?

Anyone who wants to avoid the classic mistake of making a game because you can; rather than because there is an audience. Failure is an inevitable part of learning and every team needs to learn to be able to understand the difference between a good idea and a commercial idea. In short, we have to learn when to stop digging and when to keep going to find the motherlode.

Game designers, developers and other folks looking to understand the commercial process will benefit from attending.

If you are currently making a game this will be an unmissable opportunity to help avoid heartbreak (and financial losses) after you release the game.

Why is it important for your games industry peers to gain a deeper understanding of your chosen topic?

We all need to be reminded to take a step back and look at how we consider data and how best to use it smartly to inform our decisions. However, this approach is intended to show a systematic framework which can inform how we approach game development from scratch as much as it can help us make smarter decisions about what can and can’t be saved.

Tell us a little bit about the key takeaways people can expect from the session

The key takeaways people can expect from this session are:

  • What data you need to take to assess whether to kill or try to save a game
  • The process to break down where a game is failing to convert and how to prioritise actions to fix the issues
  • The importance of prioritisation and testing of hypothesis
  • The importance of setting a budget and time-boxing the process against KPIs

Finally, what are your thoughts on the games industry going forward? What major trends do you predict over the next 12 months?

The Covid lockdown has been a tale of two worlds for us in the games industry. For too many it has been isolation, social anxiety and furlough. However, for others the last 12 months have provided an amazing gear shift in the way games are seen culturally as a good thing. Oh! And we have seen incredible growth in online gaming habits and most importantly revenues.

This leaves us with the big question: will it continue? I think it will. Whilst people may temporarily switch back some behaviours to back to the real world, the barriers to online game playing for all have come down. And that is here to stay. If anything the opportunity remains for those who understand the new normal of Games-as-a-service. Someone should write a book about that!

Book today!

If you like the sound of Clark’s MasterClass, be sure to book your place now – tickets are limited so purchase your ticket today to avoid disappointment!

Individual multi-buy discount: book for three and get fourth free.

Corporate discount: a group of six or more from one company can get 30% off if booked together.

To take advantage of multi-buy or group discounts, please email sally.kevan@steelmedia.co.uk to discuss your bespoke package.



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