Making the leap from consumer products to mobile games

Design Direction · Mobile Games · Early-stage Startup · Mentoring

Two years into my tenure as UX Director at N3TWORK, we decided to pivot away from a video-based social network, into making mobile games. The founders, Neil Young and Bob Stevenson, were world-class games industry veterans. It was time to lean into their strengths…and mine. We believed we could innovate the mobile game space by fusing our expertise in game design and consumer product design.

The games business is always at the bleeding edge of monetization, analytics, psychology, economics, and technology. Games push devices to their limits and ask users to do unreasonable things. I dove in and gradually began to understand how a deep game economy with multiple currencies depends on carefully constructed loops that drive behaviors, engagement, retention and lifetime value. Plus, it was so much fun to collaborate with designers, artists, and composers to invent characters, worlds, backstory, and imaginative laws of physics and magic.

The result? Our first game, Legendary Game of Heroes was an Top 10 hit, earning over $400 million. We also created a new version of the timeless classic, Tetris. And we began experimenting with how blockchain could be used to revolutionize digital ownership and economies.

A game loop diagram for Legendary helped us visualize impact of monetization, social, and high points of delight.

Mapping the user journey for Legendary Guilds feature. Guilds were the key inflection point for getting traction in the market.

Before games, we spent a couple years on a social video experience across mobile, large screen, and web. (I produced this video spot with Bonfire Labs for our initial product launch.)