Mobile GameDev Playbook Episode 6: Understanding Player Motivations and Archetypes with Rovio and Fundamentally Games

Episode 6 of The Mobile GameDev Playbook looks at player archetypes and motivations and how these essential insights are being factored into game development. The podcast explores how game designers develop insight into their player types, as well as some of the most recent developments in player types and motivation metrics. Podcast guests Rovio and Fundamentally Games, help provide further insight into their own experiences and what they’ve learnt when it comes to designing games for specific audiences.

Host Jon Jordan is joined by GameRefinery’s VP of Games Joel Julkunen as well as Kieran O’Leary, Director of Growth for Games at Rovio and Oscar Clark, Chief Strategy Officer at Fundamentally Games. Kieran has many years of experience marketing and growing mobile games, including five years at Gameloft before joining Rovio. Oscar is a well-known hat-wearer in the world of mobile games and is also the author of the book ‘Games as a Service’. Thanks for listening!

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Topics we will cover in this episode:

1. GameRefinery’s take on Player Motivations & Archetypes

2. Why understanding player motivations is so important

3. The guests’ thoughts on do they themselves fit into a set of archetypes

4. How player archetypes can inspire new concepts and ways to engage a broader audience

5. Rovio and how their studios master the audience that they’re designing games for

6. Innovation in mobile games


Introduction

Jon: Hello, and welcome to the Mobile Game Dev Playbook. Thanks for tuning in for another episode. This is a podcast, all about what makes a great mobile game. Today, we are going to be diving deep into discussing player archetypes and motivations. What does that mean? It means how to better understand the features different types of players are interested in and how to ensure you design your game to attract and delight your target audience. I’m Jon Jordan and joining me this week as ever is Joel Julkunen, co-founder and chief analyst at GameRefinery. How’s it going, Joel?

Joel: Hi, Jonn. It’s great here in Finland. We are finally easing up the COVID restrictions and keeping our fingers crossed that maybe it doesn’t get any worse.

Jon: Yes, yes. So you’re getting back to normal, good. Our guests this week are Kieran O’Leary, who is director of growth for games at Rovio and previously worked at Gameloft. How’s it going, Kieran?

Kieran: All good here. Very happy to get a chance to discuss a deeply interesting topic that I think is going to be very entertaining and educational.

Jon: Good, good. Also with us is Oscar Clark, who’s the chief strategy officer at Liveops, specialist at Fundamentally Games, and well-known industry hat wearer. Are you wearing a hat today? Oscar, we can’t see you.

Oscar: Obviously. Obviously, I wear a hat. Hats are essential.

Jon: Good, how are you? 

Oscar: It’s an interesting time because with everything that’s been going on around the world, we managed to close the Sea Drown. You can imagine how busy life gets when you’re starting off to essentially a new business.

GameRefinery’s take on Player Motivations & Archetypes

Jon: Good, good. Excellent. That’s our set up for today. We’re going to kick off. Joel, you’re going to talk to us a bit about the kind of ideas behind the ‘Motivations and Archetypes’ feature, which is a new feature you’ve brought into the GameRefinery tool kit so developers can get to grips with these kinds of features. As I understand it, the idea behind the feature is really to allow designers to think more about the type of audiences they’re attracting and you developed it by doing a lot of research. You’ve interviewed a lot of gamers and then tried to break down those answers to come up with these archetypes. Is that broadly how it’s happened?

Joel: Yes, yes. That’s totally how it’s happened. Basically, it all started because, of course, the industry is booming and all the developers and all the publishers are trying to find ways to find the edge against the competition and, of course, understanding the player motivations. Why your players actually enjoy your game or why they turn out is a really interesting and important aspect of the whole design process. Of course, we at GameRefinery, we wanted to create a solution that would help all the developers and publishers to get a larger scale data about motivations, to better understand what drives the engagement across different types of players.

Yes, like you said, all the data is based on a huge amount of service. Basically, what we did is we conducted a lot of surveys in English speaking countries. At the moment it’s only in the English speaking countries and about 10,000 respondents, then, of course, all of data science gets in the mix and out comes our motivational framework. Also, the player archetypes.

Basically, at the moment, our model consists of 12 different motivation drivers. Based on those motivation drivers, we’ve been able to get a set of eight-layer archetypes as we call them. Like for example, strategist or a networker. Those motivation drivers and then the player archetypes are part of our data set in the service and now our users can use that data to, for example, better understand their own players and own games and how their features in their games resonate with different player archetypes and motivations.

Player archetypes and motivations are part of our data set in the service and now our users can use that to better understand their own players and games and see how different features in their games resonate with different player types.

Also, and I think even more importantly, because it’s a scalable solution, they can understand their competition, different genres, and different groups of games. It’s not only about many or all have research about one or two games and their audiences, but about actually hundreds of thousands of titles.

Jon: It is interesting because from every interview you do, every individual is an individual obviously, but when you draw together all this data and that’s obviously what big data does across all of technology, then as you try and work out what things are broadly the same across different groups. I guess you’re trying to reduce it down to as many groups as it makes it manageable for designers, but equally enough flavour across those different groups. You’ve got these eight archetypes. Why do you think eight was a good number?

Joel: The eight archetypes are based on, actually, data research. How we ended up with the eight types was, basically, once we had those 12 different motivations mapped out based on the surveys, we started to see with a different kind of statistical modeling that different motivations were combined in indifferent answers to a higher degree. Then, of course, we found the statistically meaningful group of eight different clusters.

There were a couple of other clusters. We could have had 10 archetypes, but those two weren’t as statistically significant. At the moment we have eight of those archetypes because we feel like the data suggests that it is able to cover the different archetypes pretty well without becoming too clustered or too weak. That’s basically it, and of course, I want to highlight here that it’s like an understanding where somebody hears about player archetypes, they might wonder, which of these am I? Of course, the truth is that all of us, basically, depending on the time, and the date, and the mood, we might have a lot of characteristics from several different archetypes.

Myself, for example, I see myself more as kind of a strategist/king of the field because I like to compete in tactical and strategy games. Basically, it’s not just black and white.

Jon: No, it’s not either, I think. When it comes down to using it, what it’s useful for is allowing designers to have a bit more insight into the type of player motivation, and then look at competing games and see how they are dealing with that. It just provides a better feeling than just looking at maybe broad research numbers. It just gives it a bit of a humanizing look to it.

I guess one example I was looking at and he says, for example, like Fortnite caters to the thrill seekers, skill masters in King of the Hills, but not so much to people who are motivated by thinking. I guess from that, you can kind of see the broad way in which these archetypes can be used. As you said, they’re not black and white and it’s not a right or wrong thing. It just provides people who are designing games or making new features for games better insight into what’s going on.

Fortnite caters to the thrill seekers, skill masters in King of the Hills, but not so much to people who are motivated by thinking. I guess from that, you can kind of see the broad way in which these archetypes can be used.

Joel: Yes, yes. Exactly. I just wanted to add that it’s interesting when you start to research different types of games. In these podcasts, we’ve been discussing genre mashups and different kinds of games. It’s interesting to see that if you take different genres and genre games, you can see that they might share similar motivation drivers sets basically.

That might be interesting when you’re thinking about what genres would, for example, work well as a kind of a mashup. If you think about it- you mentioned Fortnite and different motivation drivers that Fortnite caters to. You’re going to find similar motivational clusters from games from different genres as well, even from the casual genre, for example, and then casinos, like poker games. There’s a lot of competition and King of the Hill stuff going on but from a bit different angle.

That might also act as an inspiration for many of the designers to start understanding that players who play Fortnite might actually enjoy different genre games as well those that cater to the similar kind of motivation drivers.

Why understanding player motivations is so important

Jon: Good. Kieran and Oscar, what are your thoughts about player archetypes? I guess it’s something that’s been around in games for quite a long time now. Is that something that’s useful for you to get your heads around?

Oscar: Yes, and it’s been around for as long as I’ve been around in terms of games. I remember talking to Richard Bartle years ago about what he did with MUD, the classic model that most of us first introduced in terms of using personas in games. Back in the idea of when Richard was doing MUD, when you looked at things like the killers that he would socialize us and explorers, what was interesting about what he was doing then and similar to what the Game Refinery’s are now doing at a much deeper level was that he was looking around the consequences of not just the personality types, the player types, but what it meant in terms of game design.

In fact, even my traditional marketing training looks at this model in quite a lot of detail, like personas. We were always thinking about who and what are the personas that we’re trying to design against. It’s invaluable to have something where you’ve got at least some kind of firm foundation in data that you can use to create inspiration so that you’re not just trying to make a game for yourself, you’re trying to make a game for an audience. I think it’s very difficult to do that without having something to grab onto that’s got some data foundation.

It’s invaluable to have a firm foundation in data that you can use to create inspiration so that you’re not just trying to make a game for yourself, you’re trying to make a game for an audience.

Kieran: Yes. I agree with that. That’s a topic that’s been around for a long time, but I think the main evolution in regards to that topic is first of all, that it’s much more accessible to a larger group of people and one of the beauties behind what GameRefinery is doing is making that information accessible to as many people as there are people who are interested in that topic. That’s one thing. The focus is also shifting from simply game design to the way we advertise these very games. Now, a lot of that thinking is embedded within the creative design itself.

You want to make sure that, of course, players are satisfied with the game experience that you’re delivering but in the first place, you also need to make sure that you communicate in the right way with the audience that you’re trying to attract to your games. In that sense, the crave messaging and the very design should also be aligned with these motivations and player archetypes.

You want to make sure that players are satisfied with the game experience you’re delivering, but you also need to make sure that you communicate in the right way with the audience that you’re trying to attract to your games.

Jon: That’s a very good point because it is, as you say, goes beyond the pure design aspect of a game and now mobile games are so much around games as a service. You’re obviously coming up with what you feel is great, unique, concept that’s going to appeal to a lot of people. Then, having these archetypes, it also then feeds through into other bits of a company like say Rovio, the marketing department know who we are making this game for and this sets it out. Obviously, you could have that before these archetypes but they probably help almost like internal knowledge–

Oscar: It’s a shorthand as well as, isn’t it? It’s an easier way to communicate in a meaningful way that will be understood on the other side and having this idea that you’re marketing led, you’re audience led and that you can have a common understanding of what you mean by that. That’s invaluable. It doesn’t really particularly matter which one you do, but I quite like the fact that with something like area code, I’m able to look at a gamer score, passcode for the game. I’m able to look at the data for similar games, I’m able to look at the personas and how they apply. That provides us with a bit more vision about where we’re going when we’re trying to address what we want to achieve with a particular game.

Kieran: That’s very true. That last point, it also creates alignment between the teams. There’s something very interesting that we do sometimes internally, which is to gather the call team in the room, and we ask them which motivations they think their design is catering for. Once you’ve got that settled, then everything becomes easier because first of all, you’ve got a roadmap that’s clear and you can also communicate much more easily with other stakeholders in regards to what you’re trying to achieve.

That includes obviously marketing but even within the team, it’s sometimes interesting to see that not everybody has the same audience in mind. As soon as you start using archetypes, the communication starts being much easier.

It’s interesting to see that not everybody has the same audience in mind. As soon as you start using archetypes, the communication starts being much easier.

Joel: Yes, a classic example is if you say to someone, I’m going to target a 51-year-old guy who works in IT, what that means to some people is going to be very different to others. If you take me as an example, I work in games. I’m far from being the typical 51-year-old working in IT and if I was trying to think about a game for me, it would be very different from me trying to come up with a game for somebody who fit that criteria.

Jon: I remember, it wasn’t a mobile games company but I remember that there have been games companies in the past, they’ve actually created mock individuals of who they thought when they’re working on a game, actually getting photos of them and saying, “This is who they are sort of thing,” to try and get teams to think about what those people wanted. I guess this is an extension of that and puts numbers around it in much more formalized ways.

Oscar: That’s exactly what personas is all about. We’re going to name these people. We want to know, have they got kids, who are their kids? Most of the time it’s a hypothesis. It’s a thought experiment, where we’re trying to create a real story, a narrative around those individuals. It’s a difficult thing because if you’re just doing it as a thought experiment, you can miss a number of things. The more data we can bring into that, the more solid that thought experiment can be. What’s interesting is when you evolve those personas over time, you’re looking for actually what our analysis is saying is, this is the typical group of people who look like this. We want this combination between real concrete data and also narrative stories that we can emotionally engage with so we can think clearly about what that player is about.

It’s a thought experiment, where we’re trying to create a real story, a narrative around those individuals. The more data we can bring into that, the more solid that thought experiment can be.

Jon: I guess something that’s major, people are interested in the background to this research is a guy called Richard Bartle. If you look on Wikipedia at the Bartle Taxonomy of Player types, there’s quite a good page on that. There’s quite a lot of stuff and videos of Richard talking about that. Basically it was formed in the early 2000s or even before that and yet–

Oscar: It was earlier than that.

Oscar: It’s also worth looking at some of Richard’s work he did talking about why his battle type shouldn’t be used in every game. He’s a really smart guy and he did– I saw his talks that apply to MUD, and why we should be thinking about different taxonomies for other types of game. Like I said, you guys are one of many groups who are trying to do that.

The guests’ thoughts on do they themselves fit into a set of archetypes

Jon: I guess it’s just true, but he’s full title killers, achievers, socializers, and explorers, which I guess is very, very broad, but I guess people could more easily fall into those categories when we’re doing something based just around mobile games, which is very different from multi-user dungeons, the old MUDs, mainly text-based, we’ve moved on somewhat since then. Broadly, when we’re thinking about the games we like individually, do you think we fit into a set of archetypes? Maybe not one, but do you feel the sorts of games that you like, that’s backed up by the motivations you’d like to do in games? Kieran, what do you think?

Kieran: I’m a very metaphysical master. I like getting that sensation that I’m actually mastering what I do at every concrete level and feeling the progression that comes with it. I have a natural inclination for safe like first-person shooters because there’s much that I can improve myself by just playing the game. I don’t really like anything that has to do with a chance. The more I feel like I’m actually mustering my skills the better I feel.

I have a natural inclination for safe like first-person shooters because there’s much that I can improve myself by just playing the game. I don’t really like anything that has to do with a chance. The more I feel like I’m actually mustering my skills the better I feel.

Jon: How about you, Oscar?

Oscar: It depends, there are two ways of looking at persona types when you take them on – I can have a mood and a mode. I have my default behaviour but it is affected by the mode of use, so that’s affected by the device I’m using in particular. There are other reasons why the mode of use can be different. My behaviour, when I’m, for example, using a mobile game, is very different from my behaviour when I’m playing a console game. If I’m playing a console game, I’m typically going to be the thinker type.

I might be playing a strategy game, for example, but the way I behave in that I’m not particularly worried about socialization, I’m thinking more about the processes and optimization, if that makes sense. Whereas if I’m playing a mobile game, I’m going to be much more distracted, I’m going to be doing something which is about occupying a moment and yet when I play a PC game because the setup processes goes on, I will often be much more competitive, I’m much more social, much more engaged. It really depends on a number of factors and mode of use, the type of device I’m using the moment of opportunity, the mood I’m in are big factors on the type of personality that I’ll be.

Jon: Yes, I did it the other way but by taking the archetypes then crossing other ones I wasn’t. I’m not very competitive, I’m not very social. I’m left with treasure hunting I suppose.

Oscar: Nothing wrong with that. Those lowest like Skyrim, for me, is the classic one where I love Skyrim and there are points where I’m basically killing dragons but there are other points where I’m still like oh, no– I have a ton of memories, which is the same principle. There are lots of games that serve the same principle but it’s the games which have the moments where you can walk through the fields and pick flowers, I love the most. It’s odd, I don’t know why that appeals to me some more.

Jon: Joel, I guess you should have thought about this because you’ve been working on it for so long but where do you sit in the archetype, in the pecking order?

Joel: Actually, I have a similar mindset with Oscar that it depends if it’s a PC or console or a mobile. Overall, I would say as I said before that I’m definitely a strategist and then I would say, King of the Hill, because I always love those strategy games, Civilizations, all of them, Master of Orion back in the day. Then I never actually thought of myself as a competitive player but then after starting my Hearthstone career, it’s getting worse and worse. I love those PVPs and beating the opponent, so I would say maybe a combination of those two.

Jon: I guess it’s a good point. You get competitive if you are actually good at something. I am not competitive because I’m rubbish at the game. If I found a game I was good at maybe I would get more competitive.

Kieran: It’s also interesting to note that as we get older, the motivation sets also change. Some studies have clearly shown that as you get older, then the competition becomes less of a motivation. I don’t know if that’s because we can afford the time to grind so many games to remain competitive or that’s based on something else but that’s something that’s true as well.

How player archetypes can inspire new concepts and ways to engage a broader audience

Jon: Joel, do you think that these archetypes can be used in a way to find or to inspire designers to come up with new concepts? More broadly there’s been an ongoing, not really debate, but an ongoing idea that there are certain underserved groups even in mobile games where we think we’ve got like two million people playing mobile games but there’s an idea that certainly a few years ago we thought that maybe women were an underserved audience. Do we think these archetypes can maybe finesse those sort of opportunities?

Joel: Yes, most definitely. Actually, I think a good example is the mastery of evolution. If you think about Candy Crush and those other first generation casual mastery games, and then how Playrix basically started this narrative decoration, a meta-layer masteries with Gardenscapes, Homescapes and pitched them. I think that’s a good example thinking about that. When they introduced that meta-layer or narrative or decorative aspects, they tapped into the new area that if you think about our archetypes, for example, they started to cater to expressionists.

By understanding the players who already played those mastery games, they probably noticed that by introducing these aspects to the game they were able to broaden the target groups or the people who would like to play their game. Also, because many of the players who played casual masteries already had these tendencies to like decorative stuff or narrative stuff, it reinforced their motivations even further. That’s a good example of how you can use these motivations and archetypes when you start thinking about what news we should bring to our game.

Then of course, thinking about your current gamer base, to not kind of alienate those, but also think if there’s new segments of players who are already kind of have some overlap with your current game in terms of motivations, and then starting to introduce new features that would bring them all over in their larger quantities without, of course, as I said alienating your current gamer base. So most definitely, that can be used.

Jon: Because I guess we often think of the creative processes as coming up with a new game, but if mobile games have proved anything over the last five, six years it’s the continuation. It’s the operation of a game, which you always have to bring new things in. For certain types of games, you want to bring in new characters every so often to keep that interesting and competitive side, giving you new methods and things. But equally, you want to add new features that people haven’t experienced before, because on a wider level, it keeps the whole game more exciting because it’s going in directions that the audience wants.

Oscar, you’re kind of coming from a Liveops operation and obviously you’re starting out on that, but how useful will this be in terms of expanding audiences in that way?

Oscar: It’s critical because the whole point about Liveops for me is about finding more people and getting them to do more things more often for longer, or you don’t help people find things they care about unless you understand them. You’re going to understand what’s motivating them in the current content, you have to understand what’s motivating and what content that might or might not need to be made. But also how you can kind of optimize particular experiences around events, promotions, best activities around this community that means something.

You have to understand what’s motivating players and what content might or might not need to be made. But also how you can kind of optimize particular experiences around events, promotions, best activities around this community that means something.

If you don’t ask people, if you don’t pay attention, if you don’t actually have something based on data, you can’t really be effective in defining things. I think they’re a fantastic way to start and I think they’re a great way to use them as a form for inspiration. Again, I think with all these things, it’s about creating hypotheses. I think personas are vital for creating these hypotheses you can build on and then you use real data based on the responses from that based on specific targets, specific players you got. Because at the end of the day, it’s about making games people care about and want to invest more time and money into.

Rovio and how their studios master the audience that they’re designing games for

Jon: Good, Kieran, you want to talk a bit about what’s going on with Rovio. I think you’ve got a new game coming out. You want to tell us a bit about that?

Kieran: Well, we have this game, Small Town Murders, which has been in cell phones for a few months now. That’s a mastery game with a very innovative take on the narration. So no decoration whatsoever. It’s really about solving cases. So the entire gaming experience is driven by you as a detective trying to solve new cases and figure out who murdered– there are few people within a very nice village.

So going back to what we said first, I think there is escapism that’s also a big driver for a lot of casual puzzle game players that we didn’t feel was catered to by other games. So that’s the direction that we decided to investigate by adding this narrative driven meta progression within the game.

Escapism is also a big driver for a lot of casual puzzle game players that we didn’t feel was catered to by other games. So that’s the direction that we decided to investigate by adding this narrative driven meta progression to Small Town Murders

Jon: Small Town Murders, would that be like a classic kind of mash up? Was that the vibe you were thinking about? I guess mastery is the most obvious kind of mechanic that people like to use for mashups because it appeals so widely and broadly. Everyone knows what to do with mastery. What is a case of like, “We’ve got mastery, what can we add on to it.”?

Kieran: That’s not a proper measure. When I think mashup, I think about games such as Puzzle RPGs. In our case, I’d say that the approach in a real scenario is entirely new. It’s not something that I’ve seen anywhere else. So obviously, I’m preaching for my choir here. I truly think it’s something that’s entirely new within the market.

Jon: We’re going to have to come up with a better term and mash up for things that are bigger than a mash up, anyone got any ideas? Hybridization, that sounds a bit–

Kieran: That sounds a little barbaric. But let’s say that we’re amplifying the narrative experience. It truly gives a purpose to the player.

Jon: For something like Rovio, you’ve released lots of games now but still known as the Angry Birds Studio. Do you look at your existing audience and go, “We’ve got to play within that audience.”? Or do you feel now it’s so long ago you can do whatever you want?

Kieran: That’s a very good question. There is something that we believe very strongly in which is drama, which is saying that there’s– I don’t think there is a chance to improvise yourself as a new racing game publisher. Each and every studio that we have within the company is focusing on a very specific game genre, which is also saying that they need to master the audience that we’re designing games for. In that sense, we’re very much focused and I think that it’s a key component of success within these markets.

For example, being very concrete, we have the casual puzzles studio which is making games such as Angry Birds, Dream Blast, Sugar Blast or Small Town Murders. We have the RPG studio over in Stockholm. We have the Bowel studio. To answer your question, there’s very defined scope for each and every studio that we have. It fits very nicely what we’ve been saying during this entire conversation, which is that you need to start from the audience and make sure that you absolutely nail what motivates them to play and who they are.

You need to start from the audience and make sure that you absolutely nail what motivates them to play and who they are.

Innovation in mobile games

Jon: Oscar, that’s changed quite a lot from, obviously, when we started off with mobile games and people would like to move around genre to genre. Match winner, then we go maybe we got quite a shooter or RPG or something like that. Do you think we’ve lost some of that kind of amateur enthusiasm for just trying to come up with something? Because for those things you have a lot of failures, which now gets very expensive, but there is some sort of creativity that potentially the industry has maybe not lost, but put in a box by saying, “You’re a mastery studio, start with mastery and move on from there.

Oscar: I’m not so sure about that. Yes, there are cases where that has happened and there are really good reasons to do that. Particularly because essentially, you’re likely to fail with your first game and you’ve got to learn about how to fix the issues and learn how to improve and compete. With such a kind of level of mastery of game design in those areas, of course, you’re going to get specialists who are going to do that and that’s great. Over the years, the lack of innovation, after all its downsides, the hyper casual market has proven that there is demand for people to innovate rapidly.

Yes, there are constraints about how that innovation works. When you look at people turning idle games into hyper casual experiences, to me, that’s really interesting. What I find most fascinating about that, and it’s easy to underestimate the power of it, it’s the ability to simplify. I’ve relished mostly because I’m not very good that bit. I like to over complicate things, but anyone who can take an original idea and completely break it down to its smallest possible proportions and make something that’s still fun, I’ll take my hat off to them. That is real creativity.

Now, there are other ways that that gets used. Actually, innovating and disrupting in an existing genre is similarly just as innovative. It’s harder to do though, because in order to be disruptive and creative, you’ve got to be able to know entirely why a game works. Really understand, if you’re doing Match 3 and you’re going to do something brand new with it, you need to understand what it is you’re actually doing, and why the players will care. Again, we’ve got to understand the audience. Again, we’ve got to understand the percentage behind it.

I think there is more than enough space for innovation, more than enough space for ideas. We don’t have that magical kind of like we haven’t done this before on a mobile device because pretty much we have. There is something really amazing about when you do get that balance of having extraordinary creative experiences applied to just one small fragment of a game.

I think that’s why we’re seeing games like Kieran, Rovio was talking about, where you’re bringing together different genres and smashing them together to make hybrid ideas. That idea of taking three aspects of one game and three aspects of another one and making a brand new experience, brilliant. That’s all valid creativity. At the end of the day, a game designer’s job is to essentially solve problems. It’s too easy to assume that it means they’re going to come up with a brand new genre. That’s not where real creativity comes. It’s when you fix a problem that no-one else has managed to solve. That’s when it’s really creative.

At the end of the day, a game designer’s job is to essentially solve problems. It’s too easy to assume that it means they’re going to come up with a brand new genre. That’s not where real creativity comes. It’s when you fix a problem that no-one else has managed to solve. That’s when it’s really creative.

Jon: I guess it’s a good point about hyper-casual. Joel, we’ve spoken about hyper-casual quite a lot in previous episodes. I guess the excitement of hyper-casual of being these– as the term has risen, in the nicest possible way, they’re throwaway experiences. They’re just meant to be enjoyed and creative. If people don’t understand them or people don’t like them, then there’s always another one to come along. I guess that’s been the most recent wave of that early stage of creativity we had in mobile games. Every few years it comes up again in another format.

Oscar: Yes. There’s always a cycle of the new, and I think that’s really interesting. What’s also interesting though, is we often see the same patterns of behaviour with each new platform. Everyone seems to want to do a pool game at the start of every new platform or every new implementation. I don’t know what it is about pool games, and I like pool games, but it seems to be one of the first things that people try to do. Bubble pop games are also one of the first things people try to do. The Match 3s are always something people want to do very early on. It’s interesting, although there’s lots of creativity at early stages of platforms, often it’s the same early stage creativity. People are trying to replicate an experience they had on a previous platform quite often.

Jon: Absolutely. Everything’s in a big cycle. Cool. I think that is it for today. I think we have well and truly gone through archetypes and seen the value of those. Everyone, you can head over to GameRefinery and have a look at what they’ve been doing. Just left for me to say a big thank you to our guests. Thank you, Joel.

Joel: Thank you Jon, and thank you for the great guests as well.

Jon: Thanks, Kieran.

Kieran: Thank you everyone.

Jon: I guess we’ll be checking out– I think Small Town Murders is out very soon, so we’ll be looking out for that in your App Store. Thanks for Oscar and his hat.

Oscar: Thank guys. Thanks for having me and good talking to you all.

Jon: Good. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, and of course you have, please do subscribe to the Mobile GameDev Playbook on your podcast platform of choice. We’re available on them all, and why not give us a review? That helps other people find out about us too. Thanks for listening, and we hope you join us again.

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