Mobile games have become increasingly high-stakes over the last few years. Successful games make billions, but most games launch to failure, and few get a second chance from either platforms or players. Most developers test their games in various ways, from individual playtest sessions to geo-locked launches in Canada and Australia. But many games still launch with poor retention, monetization, tech problems, or some combination of the three. What's going wrong?
Kongregate has now put more than 20 games through test markets, learning valuable lessons along the way. At this year's Game Developers Conference, I gave a talk about creating the best test strategies, taking into account budget and schedule along with the benefits and pitfalls of various methods and the psychological traps that teams fall into as they evaluate results. The talk is illustrated by case studies and metrics from Kongregate's portfolio including AdVenture Capitalist, Spellstone, Raid Brigade and more.