What Are the Methods for Prioritizing Features in Game Development?

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    What Are the Methods for Prioritizing Features in Game Development?

    In the intricate dance of game development, prioritizing features is key, as a seasoned Product Manager explains through the application of the MoSCoW Method. Alongside industry expertise, we've gathered additional answers that offer a mosaic of strategies, including a community-driven approach to feature voting. From employing structured frameworks to conducting cost-value analyses, discover the multifaceted methods that guide developers in shaping unforgettable gaming experiences.

    • Employ the MoSCoW Method
    • Assess Business Value and Ease
    • Apply the Kano Model
    • Prioritize with Agile Sprints
    • Engage Community in Voting
    • Use a Decision Matrix
    • Conduct Cost-Value Analysis

    Employ the MoSCoW Method

    Prioritizing features in game development requires a methodical approach tailored to the project's goals. One effective strategy is the MoSCoW method, which categorizes features as Must-have, Should-have, Could-have, and Won't-have. For instance, in our recent game project, we prioritized the implementation of core gameplay mechanics as Must-have features to ensure a solid player experience. Should-have features, like additional levels, were next in line to enhance gameplay depth. Could-have features, such as cosmetic enhancements, were considered for later iterations to maintain project scope. Finally, Won't-have features, like advanced multiplayer modes, were deferred for future updates. This approach ensures resources are allocated efficiently while delivering a polished product that meets player expectations.

    Jayant Jha
    Jayant JhaProduct Manager, Zerostic

    Assess Business Value and Ease

    When prioritizing features, I always see the business value in terms of additional revenue or saved costs and compare that to the ease of development. I follow a sequence to estimate priority:

    1. Essential features (basic gameplay, storyline, characters, basic elements) are always first priority.

    2. Low-hanging features like onboarding modules, gamification, etc., can be easily integrated using third-party providers at minimal subscription and development cost. These features have business value in terms of user data collection and retention. I prefer to prioritize these once basic gameplay is established.

    3. Finally comes the development of advanced features.

    The benefit is that we can do a quick go-to-market with basic gameplay elements and understand product-market fit. Once we have some traction, we can then invest in advanced features for the power users.

    Dhiren Sonigra
    Dhiren SonigraProduct Manager, Lattice Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

    Apply the Kano Model

    Utilizing the Kano model in game development involves assessing features based on customer satisfaction. Features are classified into categories such as 'must-haves', 'performance', and 'delighters'. By doing so, developers can prioritize features that are fundamental to the game's success and enhance player satisfaction.

    This model helps in identifying which features will truly differentiate the game in a crowded market. Consider employing the Kano model to ensure that your game's features align with your audience's expectations and provoke excitement.

    Prioritize with Agile Sprints

    Incorporating Agile methodology into game development means prioritizing features through iterative cycles called sprints. Each sprint provides an opportunity to select and refine a set of features, allowing for constant evaluation and adjustment based on feedback and performance. This flexible approach ensures that the development process is responsive to change and focused on delivering value at every stage.

    By building and improving the game in increments, developers can adapt more efficiently to the evolving demands of the market and their players. Look into Agile methodology to keep your development process versatile and focused on producing the most impactful features.

    Engage Community in Voting

    Adopting feature voting allows the gaming community to take part in the decision-making process. By directly engaging with the community, developers can better understand the needs and preferences of their player base. This approach fosters a sense of ownership among players, which can lead to increased loyalty and advocacy for the game.

    Moreover, it provides a clear indication of which features are most desired, facilitating a democratic approach to feature prioritization. Start a feature voting initiative to connect with your player community and let their voice guide your development priorities.

    Use a Decision Matrix

    Utilizing a decision matrix for feature evaluation involves a systematic approach to comparing the different attributes of each proposed feature. Developers can assess aspects such as impact, cost, and feasibility to make informed decisions about which features to implement. This methodology provides a structured framework for objective analysis, minimizing the subjectivity that can sometimes influence the development process.

    A decision matrix can ultimately lead to a well-rounded and strategically-sound game development plan. Take advantage of a decision matrix to bring clarity and rationale to your feature prioritization process.

    Conduct Cost-Value Analysis

    Implementing cost-value analysis in game development entails examining the expected benefits of a feature against its anticipated costs. This approach helps in identifying which features provide the best return on investment, allowing creators to allocate resources effectively. By assessing the potential value that a feature adds to the player experience, in comparison to the development effort required, teams can steer their focus towards high-impact, cost-effective features.

    Such evaluation is crucial in maximizing both the game's quality and the company's financial health. Assess features through cost-value analysis to ensure that every decision maximizes both player satisfaction and your project's budget efficiency.