Post Mortem of Year 2007 – Predictions For The Year 2008

I must say I’m very pleased that I decided to write the plan for year 2007 in public. Conducting yearly post mortems in one’s life can be really fruitful. I’ve updated my last year post and marked where my crystal ball got right

Year ago I wrote about my plans for the year 2007 and now it’s time to conduct a post mortem: reflect what went right and what could be improved. I will also lay out some plans and goals for the next year (in the area of the gaming industry).

What went right

  • GameProducer.net was updated every day. It has been fun, although in the year 2008 I will change my approach a bit. Instead of focusing on giving daily tips (and ensuring daily blog post) I will write longer posts at least once per week, and I’m getting some more people to write in the blog too. The game producer forums will stay the main place to discuss about the blog topics. This is the situation at least for now, and after couple of months we’ll check out how this goes.
  • More sales statistics and interviews were published, and I’m looking forward to see more of them in the future too.
  • Insiders got several service additions. One big change was the ad-free game producer blog for the members. All Insiders can browse the site without seeing banner or other ads. One another addition was the making of the guide to advertising – an Xmas gift for Insiders. The ebook gives about 20 pages of information about where you should know when to start advertising your product.

    In addition, 41 hard-earned tips from Edoiki development was written, and the new Dead Wake development tips series started. Two other service additions were planned, but not put into full production yet (beta testing service and survey system). The first Insiders web meeting launches on January. There’s currently total of 55 companies & individuals who have the membership and access to different Insiders services.

  • The end of Edoiki development goes also in the “what went right” portion of this post mortem. Even though the game was not released to public, I believe ending the project was a good move – and the lessons learned are most valuable.
  • The launch of Dead Wake zombie game production has got lots of positive feedback (from the players, journalists – and even some publisher interest), and making a monthly release (even with placeholder material) so far proved to be a pretty good move.

What could be improved

  • The Edoiki development didn’t went like I planned, and having enough resources is the one important (perhaps the most crucial) that I really learned from the project.
  • I had this pretty fun role playing idea that combines “pen & paper” and Internet. I never made time for the RPG so it was just that “an idea” that I really never pushed any further (by the way, I really recommend checking out I’ve got this idea for a video game – what do I do next… from the forums).

    I had ideas on how different players (and storytellers) could play their pen & paper RPG “normally”, and then the storytellers could put their stories in the Internet – where all other storytellers would also update stuff that happens in their games. It would be like one big world that would be played “normally” with pen & paper, but what happens in the world would depend on every storyteller’s and every player’s actions.

    Think of it like “pen & paper RPG that has ten thousand or hundred thousand players”. I still have the idea of having “an Internet aided multiplayer storytelling game” in my mind, but I left that stay in the drawer for now – and focus on the Dead Wake game. Year ago I said that this idea “might come true”, and I suppose that’s the lesson to learn: no point having “goals” that “might come true”. It’s okay to have ideas and write them down, but it doesn’t make much sense to talk much about ideas if there’s no real intention to make them true.

I think I’ve written a lot about the lessons I’ve learned in this blog, and here are some picks from the year 2007:

I realize there’s always room for improvement, and I’ll be writing about them as the year progresses.

My plans for the year 2008
In a summary, here are some of my goals for the year 2008

  • Weekly updated blog: When I started writing this blog, my goal was to have really short posts – published daily, but now I want to try a different alternative: publish longer posts weekly. After some time, we’ll see how this goes. (In fact…. I tried to do this in the beginning of December, but for some reason I couldn’t resist updating the blog every day – I was so used to this.). Anyway, from now on: it’s “at least one longer blog post per week” (in addition to couple of others now and then, and some help from guest writers).
  • Forming an Ltd: My business is growing and at some point in 2008 I will set up ltd.
  • Monthly Dead Wake releases: I’ve started Dead Wake zombie game development in rapid manner and will be giving monthly updates. The fast Dead Wake development cycle is new idea, but I wanted to make the move from yearly perspective to something faster. So far so good.
  • Insider updates. Insiders will see new features depending on what kind of feedback and ideas I see. The beta testing service is one option, and so is the survey system. Ebook (or ebooks) about specific gaming industry topics are most likely done at some point. The new Insiders web meetings will be added in the service too.
  • GameProducer.net sees 100 000 monthly visitors: There will be at least 100,000 visitors starting from some month before the year 2008 ends.

What my crystal ball tells about the year 2008
The crystal ball was bit foggy here, so the following predictions could be said to be as accurate as any weather forecast that tries tell if it rains next month (meaning: don’t even think about blaming me for these, I won’t take any responsibility for the following predictions):

  • Casual gaming will take more market share. Companies and people will spend much more than ever before.
  • Micro-transactions will see more light in the gaming industry. More and more games will start charging small amounts of money rather than one big sum per purchased game. Expect to see more club system, point systems and other schemes that will tell you how much cheaper it is – and how much you save when you buy the game in small parts.
  • Digital rights management (DRM) issues: we will hear more and more buyers complaining how poor digital rights management is done. Some game publishers will say that they need to ensure that nobody pirates their games. Some other companies listen to players, make DRM work with ease (yet ensuring some protection) and get rich.
  • More ad-supported games: More and more games will stop asking for $19.95, and are instead given for free. The bad side for players is that they need to watch ads every time the game loads or when they enter to a new level.
  • So called “social gaming” will flop big time: We’ve seen some people having 47,003 “myspace friends” and never realize that perhaps all those “friends” aren’t perhaps these guy’s real friends. I’m betting my left sock that some people really think that social web will happen everywhere in the gaming world and that’s where you need to be. People will keep talk about “social gaming” and investors will pour money into any company that will put together words “Web 2.0” and “Video Games”. While some people are building social gaming dreams very high in the air, some other companies will keep making games that have “social” aspects and actually bring money.

That’s it for this year. Have you made post mortem for the year 2007? Do you have any new year resolutions for the year 2008?

Looking forward to see you here next year too.

Juuso Hietalahti