Video game platform services, such as Steam and the Epic Games Store, have become an integral part of the gaming industry. These platforms offer a wide variety of games, easy access to game updates, and a thriving community of players. But what can developers and designers learn from these platform services?
In this article, we'll explore the design principles and development considerations of platform services, and how they can be applied to create successful games. We'll also take a look at some successful platform services and analyze what made them successful.
It is important to understand the importance of platform services in the gaming industry. Platform services are not only a great way for players to discover and purchase new games but also a great way for developers to reach a wide audience and make money from their games. Platform services have also become a key part of the gaming ecosystem, with many players spending hours on them to connect with other players, watch game trailers, and even make in-game purchases.
The purpose of this article is to shed light on the key elements and strategies that are used by platform services to design and develop their platforms, to provide insights and inspiration to developers and designers who are looking to create successful games on these platforms.
The rise of platform services in video games can be traced back to the early days of digital distribution. Platforms like Steam, which launched in 2003, were among the first to offer players a convenient way to purchase and download games directly to their computers. Since then, the market has grown exponentially, with many other platforms entering the scene, such as the Epic Games Store, GOG, and itch.io.
The rise of these platforms can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the increasing popularity of PC gaming has led to a greater demand for digital distribution platforms. Secondly, the ease of use and convenience offered by these platforms has made them increasingly popular among players. Thirdly, the introduction of social features and community building has made these platforms more than just a place to purchase games, but also a place for players to connect with each other.
Platform services have also had a significant impact on the gaming industry. They have changed the way games are developed, distributed, and marketed. For example, Steam Greenlight, which was launched in 2012, allowed indie developers to submit their games to be considered for distribution on Steam, which opened the door for many small developers to reach a wider audience. Similarly, the Epic Games Store, which launched in 2018, has been offering a revenue share of 88% to developers which has been an incentive for many developers to launch their games on the platform.
In summary, the rise of platform services in video games has been driven by the increasing popularity of PC gaming, the convenience and ease of use offered by these platforms, and the introduction of social features and community building. These platforms have also had a significant impact on the gaming industry, changing the way games are developed, distributed, and marketed.
When it comes to designing platform services, user experience and ease of use are of paramount importance. Platform services must be easy to navigate and understand, with a user-friendly interface that makes it simple for players to find and purchase games.
One key aspect of platform service design is automatic updates and game maintenance. Players expect their games to be up-to-date and free of bugs, so platforms must have a system in place for automatic updates and game maintenance. This not only improves the player experience but also ensures that developers can fix any issues in their games quickly.
Another important aspect of platform service design is community building and social features. Platform services must provide players with the ability to connect with each other, whether through in-game voice and text chat, forums, or user-generated content. This creates a sense of community among players and allows them to connect with others who share their interests.
Another design aspect which is important is discoverability and searchability of the games. Platforms should have an easy to navigate menu, categories, tags, and search options to make it easy for players to find the games they want to play.
In summary, platform service design must prioritize user experience, ease of use, and community building. Platforms must have a system in place for automatic updates and game maintenance, and provide players with the ability to connect with each other. Additionally, discoverability and searchability of the games should be given importance.
When developing games for platform services, there are several key considerations that developers must take into account. One of the most important is cross-platform compatibility. Platform services must be able to run games on a variety of different devices and operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Another important consideration is monetization. Platform services must provide developers with a variety of monetization options, such as in-game purchases, DLC, and subscription models. This not only helps developers generate revenue but also allows players to customize their gaming experience.
Another important aspect is localization and localization testing, as platform services must cater to a global audience, developers must ensure that their games are translated and localized for different languages and regions. This includes not only the game's text and dialogue but also cultural references, imagery and other elements that may be specific to a certain region.
Lastly, testing and quality assurance is crucial for platform services. Developers must test their games on multiple platforms and devices to ensure that they are free of bugs and perform well. Platform services must also have a robust QA process in place to ensure that games meet the necessary standards and guidelines.
In summary, when developing games for platform services, developers must take into account cross-platform compatibility, monetization options, localization, and quality assurance. By keeping these considerations in mind, developers can ensure that their games will be successful on platform services.
When it comes to successful platform services, Steam is a prime example. Launched in 2003, Steam has grown to become the go-to platform for PC gamers, offering a vast library of games, easy access to game updates, and a thriving community of players. Steam's success can be attributed to several factors, including its user-friendly interface, automatic updates, and social features. Another successful platform service is the Epic Games Store. Launched in 2018, the Epic Games Store has quickly grown in popularity, particularly among independent game developers. This can be attributed to the revenue share of 88% offered to developers, which is significantly higher than the revenue share offered by Steam and other platforms. Additionally, the platform's focus on curation and free games every week has helped it to attract more players.
Google Stadia is a relatively new platform service which has attracted a lot of attention in the gaming industry, it allows players to stream games on multiple devices, including TVs, laptops, and smartphones, with no need for a console or a high-end PC. The platform has a wide selection of games and its focus on streaming technology has attracted many players.
Another example is the GOG (Good Old Games) platform which is focused on classic PC games, it has a curated collection of games that were released before the year 2008. The platform offers a unique experience for players who are looking to play old classic games, it also offers a variety of features such as cloud saving, in-game achievements and support for modern operating systems.
In summary, Steam, Epic Games Store, Google Stadia, and GOG are all examples of successful platform services. Steam's success can be attributed to its user-friendly interface, automatic updates, and social features, while the Epic Games Store has grown in popularity due to its revenue share and curation. Google Stadia's focus on streaming technology and GOG's focus on classic PC games are also key factors in their success. These case studies can provide valuable insights for developers and designers looking to create successful games on platform services.
In conclusion, platform services have become an integral part of the gaming industry, offering players a convenient way to purchase and download games, and providing developers with a way to reach a wide audience and generate revenue. Understanding the design principles and development considerations of platform services is crucial for developers and designers looking to create successful games.
Platform services must prioritize user experience and ease of use, have a system in place for automatic updates and game maintenance, and provide players with the ability to connect with each other. Additionally, cross-platform compatibility, monetization options, localization and quality assurance are also important considerations for developers.
The success of platform services such as Steam, Epic Games Store, Google Stadia, and GOG, can provide valuable insights into what makes a platform successful. Steam's success can be attributed to its user-friendly interface, automatic updates, and social features, while the Epic Games Store has grown in popularity due to its revenue share and curation. Google Stadia's focus on streaming technology and GOG's focus on classic PC games are also key factors in their success.
As the gaming industry continues to evolve and grow, platform services will play a crucial role in shaping the future of gaming. Developers and designers who understand the key principles and strategies of platform services will be well-positioned to create successful games and take advantage of the opportunities offered by these platforms.