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Heed my advice and ignore advice, says Mike Bithell

Thomas Was Alone developer takes to the PGC Bangalore stage

Heed my advice and ignore advice, says Mike Bithell

Thomas Was Alone developer Mike Bithell took the opportunity of the Pocket Gamer Connects Bangalore conference to give developers a piece of advice: Ignore advice.

The problem, he says, is that by the time developers act on advice from someone who's "been lucky enough" to enjoy success, so are hundreds of other developers that heard the same opinion.

"For the last year everyone's been talking about freemium saying that's the only way to make games, but Thomas Was Alone did a lot better than people asummed we would do," Bithell says.

"We did that because we ignored everyone who told us we should do IAPs, or do advertising spend."

Thomas the developer stands alone

He points to Monument Valley as a game that has enjoyed succes in a similar vein, and has sparked a new wave of interest in premium - but that doesn't mean you have to now start stamping a price tag across your game.

Before Monument Valley, the industry was cajoling developers into the F2P market. Before F2P, the advice centred on copying Angry Birds. Before Angry Birds, there was Facebook.

The disruptive success stories that changed the conversation all shared one element, that is, that they were different.

For Bithell, that means you gain success by being "ignorant, arrogant and stupid." Essentially, by ignoring advice and doing your own thing.

"Play to what you're really, really good at and make that," he says. For example, in Thomas Was Alone Bithell realised he had no art team, so the whole game is a single cube jumping around basic platforms.

"But I'm a graphic designer, so I made sure that the colours look nice and the loading screen. We had a great composer, so the music was awesome. We avoided things we weren't good at, and made the things we were awesome."


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