Updated: Oct 26, 2020
It's been 2 years since we started Playlearn. Oh, boy, what a ride! During our second year, we were focused on creating custom made games for the corporate environment.
Custom game creation is quite a complex process. After we receive the brief from the stakeholder, we dive into the research phase, where we interview the end users and identify the spots where their needs and expectations overlap. Then, keeping in mind both the initial brief and what we found out during the interviews, we come up with a concept that we present to the stakeholder.
Usually, we receive feedback, integrate it and then proceed to creating a prototype. Before we get to a prototype worth showing to the stakeholder, we test several game mechanics and versions until we find the ones that work best with our client’s content and culture. When the prototype is validated by the stakeholder, we then proceed to creating the final product.
LESSON 1: STAY SIMPLE AND CLEAR.
As much as this whole process is clear to us, when it comes to explaining it, we’ve had times when the client was confused between terms. For example, we’ve had one project where the prototype was believed to be the concept and the client didn’t understand the final price.
What we’ve learned is to keep everything simple and clear for the client. While total transparency on the process might’ve sounded like a good thing to do, it was actually a false theory we eventually had to debunk. A client contacts you to make things easier and better and having to remember many details only defeats the purpose.
LESSON 2: LESS IS MORE.
When we first started creating games, we wanted every game to be “the game”. Therefore, we worked really hard to make it complex and awesome. Except complex and awesome weren’t always asked for. There were projects where the target group needed easy game mechanics and rules that could be explained in 5 minutes. We had to learn that an easy game was just as valuable as a complex one. What truly matters is that the game fulfills its purpose and makes both players and stakeholders happy.
LESSON 3: FIND A SCALABLE MODEL.
We didn’t know our limits until we’ve worked on 7 projects at the same time. That’s when we realized a few things. First of all, the custom made creation business model required us to be invested fully, at all times, in every step of the way. We realized that creating a custom made game for every client, though exciting in itself, could get really exhausting. And we also started questioning whether this effort truly made a difference in the client’s return of investment, as opposed to a pre-made game.
LESSON 4: BUILD A SAFETY NET.
There were times during this year when we weren’t able to dedicate ourselves fully to Playlearn. One of our dear family members has been ill and hospitalized for several months and we had to juggle with both work and taking care of this situation. It wasn’t easy at all. We couldn’t just step aside for a while. That’s when we realized it would’ve made a huge difference if we had a safety net, a passive income. This way, we could’ve freed ourselves from the pressure, could have taken care of the emotional rollercoaster emerging from this context and could’ve given ourselves time to figure things out.
And that brings us to now. For the following year, we wish to build a source of passive income and to implement a more scalable business model. And of course, enjoy every step of the way.