What Makes A Game Popular?

Did you know that close to 10,000 new game titles are released each year? We’ll assume you didn’t, and for one pretty convincing reason: the vast majority of games don’t attain any level of success. They are what we can call “failures.” This is partly to do with sheer numbers — if 10,000 games are being released, then it’ll be pretty difficult to grab the public’s attention. The other issue is probably that the game failed in one of the key areas that make games popular.

In this blog, we’ll look through what they are. A game doesn’t need to meet all the following criteria, but if it doesn’t have any of them, then it’ll be an uphill battle.

Great Design

The artistic standards for video games are extremely high. In the past few years, there have been some game titles that are getting close to being considered “art” purely because of the quality of their graphics. If a gaming title has the design of games released 15 years ago, then it’s unlikely to shift too many units. Indeed, even a game that looked like it came out five years ago would struggle.

…and Storyline

Of course, even the most flashy design can’t make up for a poor storyline. More than anything, gamers want their chosen games to offer a high level of engagement. A good storyline can save an otherwise miserable title and is enough to catapult it to medium levels of success. So what makes a good storyline? That’s hard to say with any precision, but we can probably all agree that the game must have layers. A solid storyline doesn’t just transport you into a magical world but also helps to facilitate steady progress without hitting dead ends. This is something that sounds simple but which is pretty difficult to get right, as many doomed gaming titles have found out the hard way. 


Public Popularity

Some games become popular because they capture the public’s imagination. Flappy Bird became a monster hit of a game that swept the world in 2014 following a wave of downloads, while casinos with Mega Moolah saw an increase in players after news of big wins began making headlines in the press. The more people there are that know about a game, the more likely it is to have players!

Ease of Play

Some games hit the big time because they achieve critical success. But there are other ways to the top, too. The critically-acclaimed titles are bought by serious gamers and generally left untouched by casual gamers. Those people prefer titles that offer ease of play. If a game is so simple that anyone can play it, then it’ll be much more likely to find success than a game that is overly complicated. So long as it provides an achievable challenge, then it’ll be in a good position. Think of a game like Pac-Man — so simple to play yet challenging enough to keep players engaged. The perfect game!

Celebrity Endorsement 

Finally, there’s good old celebrity endorsement. If you have a good game and then pay a respected celebrity to advertise that game for you, then you can be reasonably sure it’ll be successful, especially if the celeb is known to be a gamer

Final Thoughts

There’s no tried and tested method for creating a runaway gaming success. But when you take a look at the games that have broken through, you’ll usually find that the majority share many of the same characteristics, such as the ones we’ve outlined above. So if you’re thinking about creating a game, be sure to keep them in mind!


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