Did Work From Home Hurt the Video Game Industry?
Head of Product at Gett
COVID-19 Forced Video Game Companies to Rethink Remote Work
Businesses across industries were impacted during the Covid-19 pandemic as many people were stuck at home or working remotely. One company in particular had to rethink its core business of delivering games due to the challenges posed by remote work.
"The company's core business, which is delivering games, could've been at stake."
Before Covid, the company's employees worked together in studios, making it easy to access the necessary gaming development kits. However, when they were forced to work remotely, they no longer had access to office equipment, which put the timely delivery of games at risk. The company had to quickly come up with a solution to assist the studios and faced challenges along the way.
Minimum Viable Products Comes to the Rescue
To address the challenges of remote work, the company decided to develop a new product for internal use. They shifted their focus and dedicated the first six months to building this new product, despite not knowing much about it. The goal was to get the product up and running to ensure the delivery of their usual product.
"The first six months revolved around building 'something' that we did not know much about."
The company followed a process to identify the needs and gaps that engineers faced in the remote work environment. They aimed to ship products even without knowing everyone's standard work procedures. The development process became more fluid, with features being designed based on perceived requirements. However, it turned out that the actual users didn't use those features at all, resulting in wasted time.
"Although our customers allegedly requested it, the actual users were not fans of the feature."
Despite these challenges, the company continued to understand and validate customer requirements, bridging gaps and building an initial product version that could be shipped. Once the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) was released, users started using it and the company gathered more experience to improve upon it.
"Once the MVP was out, people started using it, while we improved on it by gathering more experience as we used the product."
With a functional product in place, the company focused on polishing and adding features. Within one quarter, the product was fully functional in most studios and helped engineers in the work-from-home environment. It also created new use cases that were not initially planned.
"Within one quarter, we had a fully functional effect in most of our studios and helped our engineers in the work-from-home environment, plus created a few new use cases that utilized our product."
Overall, this pivot in the company's main product helped them deliver games on time with adequate quality, thanks to the tools provided by the new product.
"The new product helped us achieve that."
In the End, Focus On the End Users
During the development process, the company realized the importance of understanding the end users and their requirements. They relied on user feedback and requirements, but also acknowledged the need to identify the right user group from the start.
"When you don't know the subject matter, you do not know which direction to follow. In our case, we relied on the user's feedback and requirements, but what if we did not identify the right user's group in the first place."
Even during challenging times, it is crucial to test and understand the users to ensure their satisfaction. The company emphasized the importance of validating with real users ahead of time.
"Even during crunch times, testing and understanding the users to ratify them with real users ahead of time is necessary. In the end, find out your end-users and confirm the users accordingly with them."
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Head of Product at Gett
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