Hey guys, I'm Vasiliy Sabirov, head analyst at analytics service devtodev. I've been analyzing mobile games and apps for more than 7 years now and have been educating game developers, producers, project managers and marketers on how they can make their best decisions based on data and significantly improve their games. Feel free to ask me anything! :)

You can watch one of my presentations here.

UPD. Guys, that was awesome! Didn't expect so many questions! Thanks for all of them and will be back for more :)

Comments: 908 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

Hairysloth25417 karma

Have you ever seen a game that was so bad that was so bad that you couldn't possibly fix it?

Akaino423 karma

You mean like whatever EA creates?

devtodev358 karma

haha - never said that :) It also depends what you consider to be a 'good game' or a 'bad game'. Why do people usually think that the game is bad? Some would because the game didn't meet their expectations - there are usually AAA-hits on top of the lists of the worst games of the year. Some would think the game is bad because it aggressively pushes players to pay (you might be talking about that in particular). If you ask me - I'd say that a bad game is a game that's not fun to play :)

devtodev42 karma

For sure, there are too many of those :) Unfortunately, I can't call out any names as they'd probably be offended. But they do exist and fortunately don't live long :)

GPigi120 karma

I am curious about your career path. How did you get to where you are?

devtodev156 karma

I have degrees in Economics and Mathematics. I used to work as a business analyst at the consulting companies, led various projects for banks and the government. Then I started working at Xsolla which deals with payments in games. Moving my career to the gaming industry was really great, as I didn't have to dress up and wear suits to work :D After Xsolla, I had worked at the large MMO 'Tanki Online', and then started working for devtodev - a full-cycle analytics platform for game developers - where I've been working ever since ;)

CRISPYricePC12 karma

If you had any contribution to the making of Tanki Online then I love you, you have helped build one of my fondest childhood memories

devtodev17 karma

yes, I did! love you too <3

P12oof-7 karma

So you lucked into gaming with no background in gaming... son of a bitch!

devtodev12 karma

Careful there! How come I don't have any background in gaming? I'm playing basically all the time :D

Tumiyo56 karma

Can you summarise the major key points that you generally see devs lack in ?

devtodev128 karma

I think that (1) devs usually underestimate the importance the first session and First Time User Experience (FTUE). And they are very important and very often you can fix the first session fast without spending too much time and money, and it leads to the significant change of the audience and therefore your revenue. I also think that (2) some devs don't set any specific targets for games. Players must always know what to do at any given point of time (short-term goal), why they need to do that (mid-term goal) and what they are doing at all (long-term goal). A game, its interface, its script must always remind about that. There's also a problem when (3) developers misbalance difficulty, fun and monetization. Balancing them is a very sensitive subject, and you really need a lot of experience and/or have A/B tests that might not to answer all of the questions as well. Hope it does look like a summary :)

Boostersventure44 karma

In the case of a game being so bad. Do you still provide a complete assessment, or do you have a heart to heart about the status?

devtodev60 karma

Of course I will assess it and then work with it. If a 'bad' project is a project with low metrics - I love working with those. Because if you increase its ARPDAU from $0.001 to $0.01, you can say that you made it 10 times better :D

Mexican_sandwich44 karma

What do you think went wrong with Destiny 2?

Do you find FarCry 5 sufficient enough? I have finished the campaign but after that there is really nothing to do.

What's your favourite game from the last 5 years?

devtodev85 karma

A lot of people criticize Destiny 2 for a dull and monotonous gameplay and as a player I do agree with that. Also there's a misbalance of weapons as well. Of course I don't like that first you pay to purchase the game and then you pay more money within the game, although I understand the developers' point.

I haven't played FarCry5 yet but it made it to the short list ;) As a player, within the last 5 years I'd say that Hearthstone and The Witcher 3 do stand out for me. Hearthstone has a great gameplay and continuous updates and The Witcher 3 has a great design of the game world.

eunit250-1 karma

Yea, he is a mobile game analyst.

devtodev11 karma

avid player as well :D

ArchieBunkersGhost11 karma

Who would win in a fight between a grilled cheese and a taco?

devtodev88 karma

The one who’s eating both of them :D

rchBerry8 karma

How well do you think a card game on mobile will do? Something like Card Thief etc.

Are users shifting towards Premium games or do they still prefer freemium?

devtodev3 karma

Users still prefer free games but it's really hard to make those. But card games on the mobile devices are really cool and I sometimes think that cell phones are created for them

sonofsarcasm7 karma

What are some tactics and methods used by devs to keep people coming back that: 1. Failed, 2. Worked out well, and 3. Didn't do so well, but well enough for the devs to continue implementing it?

devtodev5 karma

Push notifications and daily bonuses work well. Social linking work extremely well - you're more inclined to play again if you have your friends playing there. 'Share with friends' links don't work too well

Gorik16 karma

Would you say that enjoyment of the game directly relates to profibility?

If so what priority does improving enjoyment usually have when trying to "fix" a game?

devtodev2 karma

Enjoyment and fun are the most important things in the game. They give loyalty and loyalty brings money. They don't directly influence the profit, they do it indirectly but significantly.

Schnevets5 karma

It seems to me like you believe games are objectively getting "better" as the industry grows. I wonder how you feel about games from past generations.

Do you notice glaring flaws in "classics" like Super Mario World or old-school JRPGs?

Do you think future generations will still appreciate 16bit generation titles (and earlier)?

Also, is there an old school game that most people dislike but you absolutely love? What do you think it does right?

devtodev5 karma

At GamesCom in Cologne I player the original Pong from Atari, which was published in 1972. It's almost the best thing that has happened to me. Every game is good at its time. But Shakespeare's books can still be relevant nowadays.

Madmallard5 karma

What's your advice to Fortnite right this moment?

devtodev8 karma

I'd suggest them improving their ping speed - a lot of people complain. But the game looks great, I'm happy to observe how this genre is developing

hades3925 karma

What is your opinion on microtransactions?

devtodev17 karma

I love those games where a non-paying user feels great without having to pay them - this way I'm ok with microtransactions

Lockout_CE4 karma

Why is PUBG so bad?

devtodev13 karma

Fortnite, is that you?

PinkAbuuna3 karma

What is the best game you've ever played in terms of having profitability? What's the most fun game you've played?

devtodev3 karma

I love Blizzard games and Hearthstone in particular. Most fun - GTA, for example.

R-nd-3 karma

How could you have made sonic boom a better game?

devtodev5 karma

Improving game play probably, I could've said more if I had a chance to analyze it properly :)

ConsoleMaster_Race2 karma

What education do you need for this profession?

devtodev6 karma

I have degrees in Economics and Mathematics but obviously that's not an only way - you also need tons on hands-on experience. Try checking our online course in game analytics (shameless plug) - this way you'll be able to have a glimpse into what analyzing games means :)

test8222 karma

what's the biggest game design mistake you frequently see new game-makers accidentally doing?

devtodev3 karma

Bad FTUE. Unclear first session leads to people leaving the game too early without really playing it

CrappyPunsForAll1 karma

I'm going to a Game Jam this weekend, it's my first one! Do you have any advice on how to make my team's game stand out, whatever it ends up being?

devtodev3 karma

Create the game that you would love playing yourselves! Good luck at your Game Jam!

fornalutx-3 karma

So 7 years in IT considered to be enough to be an expert?

devtodev4 karma

depends on what people do during those years but seeing thousands of projects and having hands-on experience analyzing and improving them certainly helps