We ask ourselves every time we start on a new game. Is it the artwork? Is it the gameplay? Is it the puzzles? I don’t think every great game has to look like Angry Birds, but it would be silly to ignore the phenomenon.
One great thing about Angry Birds is that everyone can play it. It only takes a few moments to learn the controls. Rafter’s Loot (our latest release) has two buttons and a menu, and in Beta testing kids could pick it up. On the other hand, Star Chase is a complicated space physics game so it was harder to build something accessible to everyone, but there’s more to it than that.
Part of me thinks that advertizing and marketing our games is where we are missing the ball. We have no marketing budget, so we try and do it all ourselves. I know we’re not alone since I get these emails every time we release a new game saying “great game, let me sell you my marketing services”. Angry Birds was published by Chillingo which had experience marketing games and bringing them to #1. If we had a few thousand dollars to invest in the problem we would, but we don’t. For now, we plan to continue doing this ourselves, and keep our focus on making quality apps.
In the meantime we’re just settling into a new groove for the fall semester. We’re expecting another child soon so we’re winding down full blown game development mode idle to focus on support for our existing apps, and new non-game apps, perhaps related to pregnancy or kids….
So while we keep hoping to build The Next Angry Birds, we’d happily settle for 1% of their success.