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Game Design Secrets by Wagner James Au

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Understanding How to Sell VCs on Your Game, Part II: Jeremy Liew, Lightspeed Venture Partners

E-mail Jeremy Liew at jeremy@lightspeedvp.com.

A managing director with Lightspeed Venture Partners, Jeremy Liew has invested in a number of successful gaming companies, including Playdom (acquired by Disney), Serious Business (bought by Zynga), and KIXEYE. Liew is always interested in pitches from game developers, in the form of a two-page executive summary—although, as he explains in the interview that follows, user activity numbers matter more to him than design. “You’re better off when you have the user engagement and monetization data,” as Liew puts it.

What Interests Liew in a Gaming Startup

Besides user growth and revenue, your game needs repeatability and discoverability, and a long-term strategy of discoverability. Or as Liew puts it, for repeatability, “How do you build a hit factory?” Although not every game will be a hit, a startup should have some kind of native advantage that makes their games more likely to be a hit. That could be due to a built-in audience created by a series of sequels, or a hit niche game genre with real complexity and a passionate user base. As an example of that, he cites KIXEYE, which focuses on core gamers who are under-served by Facebook games. At the time of company launch, most Facebook games were highly deterministic and predictable.

NOTE “You can write the game design document just by playing the game,” Liew says of most Facebook games. ...

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