When developers write feature lists, they usually write a sort of brag sheet showing off everything unique they did for their game and how much work they put in. That’s fine if what you’re looking for is praise and feedback regarding your game. But a feature list shouldn’t be designed to get you feedback. It should be designed to sell your game.
As a player, what you put in your game isn’t always clear to me. You have 1400 different weapons? Cool, you’re pretty creative to think of 1400 weapons. Three different characters? Nice, I bet it was tricky to think of back stories for three protagonists. Showing off your game might directly get you a few sales from players that say “Hey, that’s pretty neat!” What I’m here to share with you today is one simple little trick that’ll make players feel compelled to buy your game.
Big Idea: Make your feature lists about the player’s experience while playing your game, not just about your game.
What does this mean? Let’s look at some examples.
I wrote the feature list for SanctuaryRPG about two years back, which initially looked something like this.
- Beautiful retro ASCII graphics
- Classic roguelike action mechanics
- Hundreds of hours of immersive gameplay
- Sleek, streamlined combat system
- Over 160 class and range combinations
- Over 1400 weapons and armors
- An original 8-bit chiptune soundtrack
Not bad, right? The list shows off the main unique qualities of the game, I guess. But as a player, I could feel alienated right now. I could look at the feature list and respect the developer for implementing a lot of cool things, but the reason for buying it isn’t always clear. It’s easy to modify this feature list to get you more players using our one simple trick.
Pro Tip: Turn every “feature” of your game into an actionable activity for gamers.
Convert each feature into a command using a simple little verb and your feature list suddenly reads like the recipe for an amazing gameplay experience.
- Enjoy a blast from the past with retro ASCII graphics
- Travel through vast dungeons with classic roguelike action
- Experience hundreds of hours of immersive gameplay
- Put your strategies to work with a sleek combat system
- Over 160 class and race combinations to experiment with
- Wreck your enemies with over 1400 weapons and armors
- Rock out to an original 8-bit chiptune soundtrack
Whoa. That is a lot more compelling, huh? It makes players feel like they’re the ones in control of the game, and it lets them imagine exactly what they will be doing in the game. If you can get the player visualizing themselves in the game and playing it, you’ve got a sale. Neat, huh?
It’s easy to experiment with this technique and practice it on your feature lists. Let me share a few more examples with you.
- Explore procedurally generated environments
- Ruthlessly destroy hordes of enemy spacecraft
- Experience endless compelling gameplay
- Engage with the philosophical and quirky backstory
- Treat your ears to the gloriously retro OST
- Play as TWENTY-FOUR character classes!
- Take down insanely challenging bosses
- Collect mountains of shiny loot and weapons
- Explore vast randomly generated dungeons
- Experience intense nail-biting gameplay
- Enjoy an immersive chiptune soundtrack
This trick is super easy to implement and I strongly suggest that everyone selling something online––games or anything else––make these small tweaks to their feature lists for maximum impact, turning potential buyers into buyers!