Looking Ahead to 2018

Now that 2017 is done and dusted our thoughts turn to welcoming in another New Year we are offered the chance to look back and reflect on what has been another fun, yet challenging year at Tag Games and one which has seen the wider games industry undergo further change and disruption.

One of my key roles here at Tag is to ensure that everyone learns from our past experiences and takes these learnings into new projects actioning positive change all whilst communicating these things to the entire team. This year, through the highs and lows of independent game development, we’ve learned many new things and I’m excited to see the resultant changes to our process and people take effect as we move into 2018. When we combine the knowledge and know-how of almost 12 years of game development with the new opportunities being presented by changes in technology, business models, market growth and player behaviour I know that Tag is well placed to stay on the cutting edge.

Here’s a short list of things I’m super excited about for 2018 and beyond:

Live Ops
The start of the year heralded the first time we had inherited a third party game for Live Ops. Now almost a year later we have provided Live Ops for a number of developers and publishers. We have found that there are number of unique challenges presented when taking an existing live game for ongoing development and support. What we have learned has enabled us to refine a very unique Live Ops service which we believe allows us to offer market leading external Live Ops support.

Along with the growing importance of Live Ops in enabling successful F2P games we have seen the need for tools and processes to support successful Live Ops grow. After launching our social and connected server platform ChilliConnect as a separate business in late 2016, the past 12 months has seen the company double down on efforts to provide a suite of Live Ops tools that will be accessible to all sizes of developer and publisher, truly democratising F2P and Live Ops and ensuring the significant investment of time and money in Live Ops is reduced. After securing Scottish Government innovation funding and expanding the team next year is going to be a big one for ChilliConnect.
Original IP
We recognise that an important facet of any creative and innovative independent games studio is the development of our own games. Naturally we dream of creating the next breakout hit, but even the process of taking an idea from the drawing board to soft launch provides many benefits for the studio even if it doesn’t become the next GTA! Over the year we have refined our approach to the development of our own games aiming to create a number of small gameplay prototypes, test them early in market, and then using a green light system based upon real player KPIs to determine whether they progress to the next stage of development. Only one prototype made the grade in 2017 and I’m very excited to see how it progresses in the next phase of development in 2018. Killing games in development is never easy, but we believe we have found an approach that allows us to make better decisions that aren’t entirely driven by our own individual emotional investment in a concept.

Unfortunately I didn’t buy Bitcoin four years ago, however cryptocurrencies aside, if there is one development that I feel has the potential to disrupt the games industry (and most industries) in a positive fashion for years to come then it is blockchain technology. As anyone in the studio that has been unfortunate to get me on a blockchain rant this year will confirm this is something that excites me greatly as it has the potential for significant social change as well as offering a whole raft of opportunities to the games industry and Tag in particular. The chance to decentralise the storage of data, execution of contracts and circulation of currency and potentially much more, has been compared to the creation of the web in terms of its transformative power on an entire global generation. I can’t wait to be a part of gaming’s adoption of this technology and seeing where we go from Cryptokitties!

From everyone here at Tag may I wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year, or as we say here in Scotland 'Slàinte, sonas agus beartas!' (Health, wealth and happiness).