Interview

Make the game you want to make and make it unique, says Rodeo’s Ben Murch

Make the game you want to make and make it unique, says Rodeo’s Ben Murch

Making sure you start the year in style, Pocket Gamer Connects London is happening on 13-14 January 2015 at Vinopolis.

Tickets are now available, and the good news is they are currently 33 percent cheaper than they will be.

So to give you a hint at what you can expect, we're shining the spotlight onto our speakers to provide a deeper look at the personalities who will be taking the stage at PG Connects London 2015.

Riding the Rodeo

Ben Murch is an industry veteran, having worked in the games industry for over 12 years on titles such as Burnout Paradise and Tiger Woods Golf.

He co-founded Rodeo Games four years ago and took the role of creative director. Their games, Hunters, Hunters 2 and Warhammer Quest, have amassed over 3 million downloads.

Rodeo Games are currently creating an unannounced Unreal 4 Engine game.

Pocket Gamer: We're showcasing the Best of British at Pocket Gamer Connects so how much of an impact have British game developers had in your gaming life?

Ben Murch: Huge! Right from the beginning, playing home-grown C64 titles, it helped cement in my mind that these games were being created by people in the same country as me. I think that sparked the idea that game making was something concrete and attainable.

Later in life, I read an article in PC Gamer on the different gaming disciplines and jobs, mostly featuring devs from England. That really gave me direction and ideas about how to get into the industry.

Why is user acquisition such a challenge in the mobile business today and what can games companies do to give themselves a fighting chance?

For a smaller company, the answer is play to your strengths. To compete with the big companies, you need an impossible volume of new daily users. To get that, you'll need cross app promotion/rewards and simplifying your gameplay in order to broaden your audience. So, don't compete.

Rodeo Games' debut was Hunters - a paid turn-based strategy game that connected with a core audience

You know what game you want to make. Make it unique, make it premium (around $5 works well), and aim to create a niche audience which you can build upon.

What are the major challenges currently facing games businesses when publishing abroad?

Make the games you want to make, and learn how to market them.
Ben Murch

Understanding the market you're publishing in is key. If players are used to only playing freemium games, then your super premium title probably won't work.

Also, localisation is painful. Languages that take up more screen space, which require smaller fonts, which people then complain about not being able to read, and the translation isn't up to scratch anyway... the list goes on!

How can indie developers adapt to survive in the mobile economy?

Make the games you want to make, and learn how to market them.

So many indie devs don't bother with the latter, then seem surprised that their title only sold a handful of units. Launching a game is just as important as building one.

Will new technology like wearable tech and VR change the mobile landscape? If so (or not), how?

It will be fun and gimmicky for a while, then we'll all go back to our iPads.

What are you most looking forward to at Pocket Gamer Connects?

Big huge fan of Ian Livingstone. First time I met him, he signed a book for me... God, I'm a nerd.

What's your prediction for the mobile gaming industry in 2015?

Someone will come up with the a new free-to-play model, called more-freerer-to-play, which will cause big games publishers to fall over themselves in the rush to regurgitate and slap their brands all over them.

Meanwhile, smaller developers will continue to do interesting projects. Apple will release a new iPhone.

Grab your tickets for Pocket Gamer Connects London 2015 here!

Don't forget to keep up-to-date with content from our speakers via the Speaker Spotlight hashtag.

And you can check out videos from PG Connects Helsinki 2014 here.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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Magnus S CEO at Triolith Entertainment
"Make the games you want to make" I do agree with him on that is what you should do, but only if you actually have the cash to fail. If you don't have enough cash to survive a failure then you need to produce what you know works on the platform. Build enough small games so that you can survive and then you can make the games you want to make.