Before the advent of the cloud, social gaming companies had to develop their content, burn it to a DVD, share it with their audience, and a month later find out if the game was a success or failure. The entire process was expensive, traumatic, and often a random roll of the dice–not the way you’d typically want to bring a new product to market.
Interactive design is no longer just for social gaming behemoths such as Zynga and EA. Small upstart franchises are starting to use the cloud to create real-time two-way dialogues with their audience, thus closing the loop between players and designers. Like their much-larger competitors, they’re now able to experiment with different graphics, text, and play options and see which ones resonate best with their core audience and do it same day.
That means they’re able to gather critical data and player insights during the content creation and development phase instead of trying to understand it and make changes after the fact–saving a considerable amount of time and money.
Of course all of that data means that much more data to sift through–something startups such as Swrve.com are hoping to address. Their cloud-based solution allows social gaming companies to track user retention, monetization in detail and in-real time, and life-time values of users across all of their game properties.
“You can’t fatten a pig by weighing it. You have to actually take action,” said Swrve.com CEO Hugh Reynolds. In other words, you can’t rely on analytics alone to drive your strategy. You have to uncover the meaningful and actionable insights if you’re going to find success–something companies outside of the social gaming space might struggle with. “Our solution helps our clients understand how their players are interacting with each of their promotions. They’re able to use data to determine what they’re going to put in their online store.”
Social gaming companies have been able to use interactive design and the cloud to cut the incremental costs of running a test to almost zero. They collect data and player feedback during the development process, which allows them to make changes on the fly. That results in a better end product while also saving them time and money.
But they shouldn’t be the only ones having all of the fun. How might you be able to leverage the cloud and interactive design to streamline the design process and close the feedback loop with your customers? Share your ideas below.
[Image: Flickr user uno1981]