TIGA Games Contest 2012

Last Thursday, 15th of March, I had the privilege to assist to the Final pitch of the TIGA Games Contest in order to see which four projects would win the 25 thousand pounds investment. The event took place in London.

There were three categories: Games on the Move, Social Web Gaming (category which had to winners) and Games in the Home. The winners for mobile gaming were the guys of Guerila Tea PPL with a helicopters 3D Game called Fangs Out!.

In the social gaming category, which have two projects selected for the investmen the winners were: firstly, Burrow from Remode Studio, which presented a game Terraria’s style but where the player character is a customizable robot. And the other winner in this category was the project called Squaddies by PLA Studios, a game where the player has to recruit a bunch of mercenaries in order to explore successfully the world. This mercenaries are tradeable and grow in experience and effectiveness. The branding of this last game was really cared and original.

The chosen game in the home category was Clockwork Racers developed by the Bristol based studio Opposable Games. The Idea is a game where the controller is any mobile device and you can play in the new generation of smart TVs. The players wind up, use the boosts and control their cars with the mobile device. The idea was clear and the branding was appealing. I think we will probably hear about this game quite soon.

Congratulations to all the winners!! I hope that with 25 thousand pounds they will release games that will make people enjoy.

However, during the pitches  there were some things that I did not understand, maybe because I am quite new in this or maybe because I am too focused on the business side of the industry. Firstly, If I were about to choose a project to invest 25 thousand pounds on it I would like to know exactly how they are going to spend them in order to deliver a high quality product. All the projects pitched used the freemium business model in order to obtain revenue, plus advertising, fair enough, but what is the value of the free content that you are going to offer in order to attract players?and then, what is the value that you going to offer to make the players pay for premium? because there were no questions of that matter from the jury, and there were not so much explanations about it from the developers. I think this is a quite important issue, and as well I think is  quite important to keep the balance between the free and the premium features.

Secondly, none of the pitches took in account the market by itself, no one spoke about competitors, no one try to fit their game into an audience need, and from this we can go to the next question I asked myself during the event, if your game is different, how are you going to manage in order to make the people play your game?no one speak about it. Just an example, according with 148Apps.biz the number of active games into the App Store is more than 103 thousand. Even if your game is so good, how are you going to do people know your game in order to play it? even if it’s for free. Someone said in one of the pitches that people play whatever is free, just because is free, I strongly disagree with that, I think developers should never underestimate players.

More questions I missed: which target are you focused in and how much are you going to spend in marketing?,and  what is going to be the nature of this marketing in order to reach this target with the budget that you have?

Of course, there were just ten minutes pitch for each project, but I think this questions should be addressed in any kind of presentation about any project, due the amount of games developed at the moment, and the high competitiveness that nowadays rules the social and mobile games sectors.