Gabby Dizon gave advice on what to do with testing feedback when showing a game at Casual Connect USA 2014. “What we found out is that it’s better to listen to the problems not the solutions, because the problems will come up over and over again, and you’ll get many different types of solutions,” he explained. “The solution is really up to you and usually it’s a combination of what you are hearing combined with your own gut feeling and creativity.”
Gabby Dizon started Altitude Games in March 2014 with four other co-founders that he feels are the best developers in the Philippines. As CEO, he handles the business aspects of the company, sets the overall strategy, and makes sure the team is going in the right direction with all the resources needed to get there. He recognizes that they have a tremendous amount of talent in the company, but ultimately, it doesn’t matter how good the game they make is unless they can get people to download and pay for it.
Minimum Viable Product
The most important consideration for Dizon is how fast they can get a minimum viable product of their mobile game out to an audience. He emphasizes, “For a small, self-published developer, this is very important because it gives us a feedback loop without having to go through a traditional publisher. If the players can tell us what they like, we can build it and sell to them without having to go through an intermediary.”
The development philosophy at Altitude Games is to create the MVP by making a very polished demo with the shortest amount of gameplay possible, then releasing it in one market to test the core loop and see if players resonate with it. Most often players either fail to engage with the first iteration of a game or find some fault with it. This procedure gives the company the opportunity to prototype quickly and to get a feel for the marketplace before releasing the game to the worldwide market. Dizon believes, “What kills studios is when they spend a lot of time creating a polished gameplay experience and then release it on the App Store only to find out that the marketplace doesn’t want it or that some of their assumptions in gameplay or level design are flawed, but it is too late to fix it before the game is in beta.”
Another Billion Users Yet To Come
Dizon see a huge impact coming to the games industry as another billion mobile phone users come online during the next decade. The phones will most likely be Android, very inexpensive, and have no way to pay with a credit card. What the industry must consider is how to entertain this vast audience and how to enable them to pay for content.
When Dizon is gaming, he plays almost exclusively on mobile. He does own an Xbox 360 but rarely plays on it and has no plans to purchase any next gen consoles. He plays casual games like endless runners and puzzle games on his Android phone and more core games like Hearthstone and Battleheart Legacy on iPad. He used to be a huge PC gamer, but now plays only two or three of the best games each year.
He enjoys free-to-play and is willing to spend up to $30 on a game he really likes. He says, “I don’t like being nickel and dimed by energy systems in free-to-play, but I don’t mind paying in a game that respects the player and has a really fun core loop. I’ve spent a lot of money on games like Pocket Planes, Jetpack Joyride, and Hearthstone.”
When he steps away from gaming for a bit, Dizon spends his free time involved in martial arts. He started out with boxing and has competed in a boxing event. Two years ago, he started training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is now a blue belt.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.