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GameHorizon 2012: Torsten Reil on Rethinking Next Gen: lessons from console development for mobile

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GameHorizon 2012: Torsten Reil on Rethinking Next Gen: lessons from console development for mobile
"There's massive disruption happening in the industry at the moment," said Torsten Reil, CEO of NaturalMotion, at the Game Horizon conference in Gateshead, UK.

Entitled 'Rethinking Next Gen', Reil argued that the games business used to be all about handling the increase in console processing power.

"Then iPhone happened," he said. "It arrived like a meteorite. It disrupted everything in the games industry."

C-c-c-changes

"Game development is not just about hardware anymore," Reil said.

"We have to deal with changes in distribution, business model, audience, and feedback and analytics. And everything is changing very quickly."

The result is that the industry needs to be making different types of games, something NaturalMotion has harnessed with the 11 million downloads to-date of its free-to-play game My Horse.

"There will be casualties along the way, but this is the biggest opportunity for developers with a console background," Reil said, breaking into a rapid fire list of key bullet points.

1. It pays to be unique

This is where developers with console background have an advantage.

2. Understand usage patterns

You need to be able to play a game session in the Starbucks queue. "Our users play 10 times a day for a couple of minutes," Reil said.

3. Mobile social is different

You have to have asynchronous multiplayer.

4. Simplify your controls

Have as few on-screen buttons as possible. High end graphics doesn't mean complex controls.

5. Make players feel good

Mobile players don't like to fail, especially at the start of the game.

6. Minimum Viable Product R.I.P.

On iOS, you have to release a game that's highly polished and has been heavily usability tested. You don't get a second chance to make a good impression.

7. You can't polish too much

When you think you've polished enough, polish some more.

8. Analytics are incredibly important

This tells you the correct questions to ask, and which metrics to focus on.

9. PR doesn't matter for user acquisition

The audience is so big that any press you get doesn't impact your download numbers, although it is important for other things such as company profile.

10. Go viral the old fashioned way

Production values are key in terms of driving word of month virality in terms of players showing off games to their friends.

11. Adaptability

The industry is changing fast, and everything we know may not be true in a couple of months time. We always have to be rethinking everything.
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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