MasterClass: How (& When) to Save a Failed Game (Online)
Mar 10th 2021

MasterClass: How (& When) to Save a Failed Game (Online)

Online Event

Date & Times: Wednesday, March 10th 2021
10am to 1pm
Location: Online Event
Expected Size: Up to 50
Ticket Cost: 180 GBP
Target Audience: Developers, Indie Developers, Creatives, Marketing, Publishers, Tool Providers, Technical teams
Event Type: Online Event

PocketGamer.biz is well known for its conferences and round-tables, but the short nature of these sessions means they only scratch the surface of important subjects. For real in-depth learning, we have worked with industry experts to create the MasterClasses. They are professional half-day activities featuring tutorials and breakout groups, all accessed from your home office.

There are five sessions running in March 2021 (see below), and this session is:

How (& When) to Save a Failed Game” with Oscar Clark, Author of Games As A Service and CSO at Fundamentally Games.


What do you do when the masterpiece of game design you created simply does not work? You have not been getting the installs or the revenue you expected to reflect the value of the game. How can you know whether to cut your losses or to go back to the drawing board?

This Masterclass will look at how to Triage, Diagnose and Prescribe what needs to be done when assessing a game to 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. The approach outlines in this course is based on over 10 years of consulting with game teams, helping them make the decision to kill or turn around the commercial potential of their games.

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

About the host
Oscar Clark is Chief Strategy Officer of Fundamentally Games LTD whose mission is to bring games to live. He has been a pioneer in games services since 1998 helping developers design, deliver, monetise, and operate games live. As a consultant he has provided advice on too many games to mention in order to attempt to bring failed games back to life. He literally wrote the book “Games As A Service” published by Routledge.

The workshop will focus on three subject areas:

Part 1: Triage

The first step is to 1) understand the game, 2) why it failed and, importantly, 3) whether there is even a market for that game. It is essential to use data to take out the emotion from the decisions including what market data you can find, the costs for user acquisition and what information you can get about how the players engage in your game. Where you find that data depends on the platform(s) the game operates on; and what data you can access.

Part 2: Diagnosis

If you can prove that you have a game that can be saved you need to do a more detailed diagnosis of the player lifecycle your problems are most pressing. We break the game down into a funnel showing the different lifecycle stages of a play from Discovery through Learning to Engaging (and potentially SuperEngaging). These funnels help illuminate where in the game we have the greatest pain points and what might be preventing retention and conversion. This is not just an analysis if the First Time User Experience, key to success will be to understand what players actually love in your game and how we communicate that value prior to acquiring the game and during play.

Part 3: Prescription

Saving a game can be expensive and has no guarantee of success so it is vital to identify the smallest changes, which can deliver the biggest impact on player experiences. We need to find low cost ways to confirm the hypothesis we developed during the Diagnosis stage and prove that they will have the impact we are expecting before committing to further action. This is a continuous process of test, assess and iterate.

Attendees will learn

• 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

Format of teaching
This will be a highly interactive session. We’ll use Zoom as our primary platform, supported by Miro for shared whiteboards. We’ll also use Google Sheets for some of the practical work. For each subtopic we will have the following format:

20 mins presentation

20 mins group work

20 mins feedback/review

60 mins x 3 = three hours total

There will be audience participation encouraged throughout the MasterClass.

Target audience
Any level of seniority from the disciplines of Development, Design, Product, Live Ops Business Intelligence, Production etc. This workshop is suitable for game teams with any genre or platform.

Other sessions & attendee offers
There are four other sessions available in March 2021. Each MasterClass requires a separate ticket, although multiple bookings are encouraged and come with a discount:

Tuesday, March 9th (10am-1pm)

Understanding The Market Through External Data & Tools, with Max Samorukov

Tuesday, March 9th (3pm-6pm)

Collecting and Using Data - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, with Brett Bauer

Wednesday, March 10th (2pm-5pm)

Game Economy Design & Optimisation, with Nick Murray

Thursday, March 11th (2pm - 5pm)

Game User Experience: Making your games more fun and profitable, with Jason Schklar

Individual multi-buy discount: book for three & get fourth free (so, book for all four MasterClasses and get one of them 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.

More Information

Find out more information on MasterClass: How (& When) to Save a Failed Game (Online)


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