Jaremy Rich shared insight on bringing a PC game to mobile during Casual Connect USA 2014. One of the features he warned about was push notifications. “Try and bring that in a little bit later,” he suggested. “Try and bring that in at the point when the player is already invested and says ‘Hey, I like this game, I want to know more’.”
Jaremy Rich is director of product management at DropForge Games. His background in data analytics and optimization gave him his start in the games industry, and his favorite part of the industry is the people in it. It is one of the few industries in which the people are truly passionate day in and day out, spending both their work time and their free time focused on video games. He says, “This is a big part of the reason I got into the games industry in the first place.”
Every day, Rich is excited by the ability to marry game design with testing and analytics. It is now possible to understand player behavior with methods that didn’t exist five or ten years ago.
He loves video games and building products that people enjoy interacting with, and he continues in the industry because he believes nothing is more rewarding than working on something you are deeply passionate about.
Transforming Great Games
Rich describes his work at DropForge Games this way: “I work to transform great games into successful products by focusing on understanding player analytics and behavior and driving product decisions. My job often ends up being equal parts analytics, game design, and user experience design.” He credits his background in web optimization with giving him a crash course in customer analytics and UI/UX.
One of the most satisfying times in Rich’s career came with shipping a huge update and relaunch to the game Zuma Blitz. He describes the experience as a ton of work with a really fantastic team, and claims, “Hitting the finish line was really rewarding. It was also the first big game launch I’d worked on from end to end, so there was something special about it for me.”
A Maturing Industry
Rich emphasizes that the games industry is maturing, with players now looking for a truly mobile experience, not just a soft joystick port or a clone of an existing property. In recent years, he has seen a number of clones ship and flop, something that indicates players are looking for a more immersive game experience. He notes, “Deeper, more strategic games are beginning to succeed and take root on mobile, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Mobile players are looking for smarter games that allow them to think strategy even when they aren’t in the game. They want games with a thriving community and social aspects that aren’t intrusive or forced.” So, at DropForge Games, they are building their studio around these assumptions about the mature mobile user.
In Rich’s free time, he can often be found playing Hearthstone, Dota 2, or a handful of other mobile games, or just enjoying the sunshine with his wife and dog. He also likes a good game of softball or racquetball with friends.
The game he is currently enjoying the most is Hearthstone; he believes Blizzard did a fantastic job of simplifying a collectible card game, and have done an outstanding job with it on mobile. His play these days is split between PC and mobile, depending on how much time he has available to play a certain game.
He has found that iOS is still where many of the best games are shipped first. And they are showing higher LTVs and fewer QA issues when compared to Android, so they have greater ROI for developers. However, most of the games he plays are cross-platform at this point.
Console gaming has clearly been an important part of his life. He presently owns Xbox One, Xbox 360, and many older consoles. In fact, he is still playing Golden Eye and MarioKart 64. Although his opinion may be biased because in the past he worked for Xbox, he insists, “Microsoft has the ability to nail the end-to-end living room experience, which is a big reason why I chose Xbox One over PS4.
At Casual Connect USA 2014, Rich announced that DropForge Games is working hard to release Loot & Legends in the coming months. It is based on Card Hunter, PC Gamer’s Most Original Game of 2013, and considered one of the most unusual and innovative games. DropForge Games is excited to bring it to mobile audiences everywhere.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.