Success and Luck
Is success largely beyond our control?
Externalities are a thing; you know those factors that are beyond your control that can impact success or failure. But in truth, most of the time success or failure has nothing to do with externalities, but failure to execute, or understand the steps that should be taken for success. This is a claim I can boldly make after years of seeing the same game development story of failure over and over again. Here’s how to change the story and set yourself on a much better path:
1. Set realistic goals. Most devs underestimate the time it takes to develop a good game and overestimate their ability to market a game successfully.
2. Make sure you have the skills to succeed in the first place. Start simple and build your skills. There is a big difference between building a hobby game for yourself, and building your first commercial release. Read post-mortems and make sure you have enough competence to execute on the dozens of different skill-sets required for a commercial release. Otherwise recruit some talent to supplement your deficiencies.
3. Plan on investing at least 15% of your total development time in marketing and community building. Build a solid, multi-channel marketing strategy before you start, and begin execution early in the dev cycle. Prioritize community engagement and community building every week. If you don’t have time, make time. It’s important. As an alternative, consider a long-tail sales strategy.
4. Make sure there is a market for your game. I recommend creating a sales distribution curve to make sure there is sufficient opportunity to make enough money.
Don’t stress about things beyond your control. Focus instead on controlling the controllables, and you will greatly increase your chances of meeting your goals.