Designing Lucrative Live Ops: What We Learnt

Date: Friday 1st September

Time: 2:15pm

At some point, most Game Designers are inevitably faced with a tough problem: “How do I design fun systems while also maximising revenue?” This is particularly pertinent in the live operation of a large game with an established audience who are eager for more content. Our team runs the live ops design of PikPok’s biggest mobile game, Rival Stars Horse Racing. Released 3 years ago, it still enjoys a healthy active daily playerbase of several hundred thousands, and continues to grow in monthly revenue. We are fortunate enough to have fantastic analytics, user research, and community teams which inform our work, and give us immediate feedback on what we did right or wrong. This talk focuses on key lessons we have learnt: the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ll share real anecdotes (of both successes and failures) that helped us arrive at our current strategy for generating player-informed designs that keep people happily investing time and money into the game. I’ll talk briefly on three topics: 1. Listening to your audience – how to accurately identify player-raised problems and/or opportunities, and find robust solutions (using analytics and community feedback). 2. Maximizing exposure of your best value offerings – identify your most successful offerings and ensure that the majority of your audience samples them. We have several amusing stories to validate this idea. 3. Staying on target – ensuring that your designs remain robust and relevant whilst undergoing the often chaotic development process

About the speaker

After completing a double major in Game Design and Writing, Andy moved into the Casino Slot Gaming industry (at the time, this was the closest industry to game design within South Africa). Andy was fortunate enough to learn a lot about value propositions, rapid development and data-driven decision making. After 3 and a half years, He moved to Sweden to help a smaller studio (around 50 people) who were struggling to retain a profit. Andy took on the role of Chief Product Officer, and got to work with highly talented individuals. He reworked their strategy to focus on what the players wanted. It worked, and they learnt a lot.

Andy enjoyed his foray into Sweden, but casino was never the industry he had his heart set on. When he got the opportunity to move to the most beautiful country in the world, and work for a traditional video game company (PikPok) he could not refuse. Andy has been at PikPok for a year, and  loves it. PikPok has a stellar analytics team, and the great fortune to run the live operation of a product that has a dedicated and large playerbase. This allows us to learn a lot extremely quickly. Andy would like to share some of those learnings with his fellow game designers in New Zealand.