Game publishing and running an online service is no easy task in any context. Especially in one where there are a myriad of technical challenges and user oriented decisions to be made. You have to make sure not to miss anything, ensure budgets remain on track and have consistent communication across the whole publishing pipeline.
An organization running a successful online business has to be able to react and iterate quickly. More importantly, the organization has to gather the relevant information and understand what might be broken where. The Game Publishing Tech Compass is laying the groundwork to establish a strategy to do exactly that.
The Game Publishing Tech Compass is a framework for game publishers and developers alike. Also if you are new to online games, the Game Publishing Tech Compass is the perfect way to learn how tools work and fit together.
Game as a Service
First off, when we talk about games as a service, we do not talk about just the game or a website. Online services for us include product development and improvements for games and platform. They also include operations and maintenance of the service including processes, tools and functions related. The Compass will provide an overview of tools and covers all the mentioned areas to allow setting up a functioning and sustainable online service.
Platform as a Product
Second, in order to understand the Compass, it is important to understand that the online service always has multiple products but at least two. In case of a games as a service, the first product is the game and the second product the platform.
As platform is a broadly used term, a quick clarification on what it means for us. Platform is the set of tools and processes that enable the online service and other products. When we talk about the term “Platform”, we mean the product the service is running on. This can be a simple website or it can be as sophisticated as Steam. The two main requirements of a platform are that (1) data is being collected; and (2) accounts can be created. Either actively by a user or anonymously by the system. A platform always has three customers: the end user, the publishing teams, and the game developers.
So why is it important to consider the platform as a product? We often see that people underestimate the development of the platform. A badly developed platform can be the breaking point for an online service. Besides making sure that the platform evolves, it is also important to understand ownership and vision for the platform. We see a lot of companies fail because they did not think about platform as its own product but always as part of the game. Organizations often lose focus and only realize too late that the platform can’t keep up with the actual games as a service strategy. This can throw back companies several months, sometimes even years.
Hence for the Compass the term product does not equal game. We will specify in the text which product is meant if it needs specification.
Third, with the lines getting blurrier between publisher and developer it is important to outline what we mean by Publishing teams. When the term Publishing is being used, we are talking about the accountable party for managing a successful service.
Ready to go
Now that we laid out the framework we can start using the Compass. The team provides multiple suggestions on how to use the Compass best based on our experiences. The Compass can be used as a tool for gap analysis; as a tool to create internal communication processes; as a tool to use in strategy conversations, and more (How To).