For today's exclusive Gamasutra feature
, programmer and designer Pierre-Alexandre Garneau presents his ten-minute test any developer can use to evaluate the marketability of their game, and illustrates its use with test results for Grand Theft Auto 3
In his introduction, Garneau explains that even though marketers at publishing houses have far more advanced tools to evaluate the marketability of titles, his own ten minute test should give developers and designers a rough sketch idea of how their own game might fare:
”Everybody in the gaming industry has a great idea for a game. The desire to see that idea become a reality is what brought many of us to this industry. Sadly, the quality of this idea – or even of the game itself – isn’t enough to guarantee a commercial success: critically acclaimed games like Psychonauts and Beyond Good and Evil have sold far fewer sales than they deserved.
How can you tell if a game has the potential to become a huge hit based only on its design? Marketing executives at major publishers have sophisticated tools to evaluate that kind of things, but you don’t need all that complexity to find the potential of your idea. With just a few questions, you can evaluate the marketability of your game. I compiled these questions in a simple test that you can use in 10 minutes.
The test assumes that the game is good – if it’s bad, chances are it won’t sell no matter how high it scores on this test. Many factors affect the success of a game beyond the marketability of the initial concept. This test will give you a rough idea whether a project is worth pursuing or not, but it doesn’t replace market research and focus groups.”
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature
on the subject, with a full breakdown and explanation of Garneau's test, as well as its illustrated use on two of the past generation's critical hits -- and why one succeeded at retail while the other failed to reach its potential (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).