How to identify the competitive edge of your game

How to identify the competitive edge of your game

It can be very beneficial to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your game design. Analyzing your strengths and weaknesses can give you insights into where you should put your emphasis in production and marketing. It might also give you indicators that show what you need to have in your game, it also has the potential to show you what you could, or even should, drop from your game.

Identifying your competition

In this article I’m going to use Overwatch thats in the competition heavy hero shooter market as an example and I will identify Overwatchs competitive edge using a method I will detail in this article for you. If you dont know what Overwatch is, It’s an online multiplayer first-person shooter video game. It’s played in teams of 6 players and each player can choose a hero they want to use for the moment. So, To pick the genres out of this explanation we get:

Hero shooters coming out in or around 2016 Hero shooters coming out in or around 2016 Thanks to onehitclub for the image

Now if we look for games that have these features, using your favorite search engine, we can identify games like Battleborn, Paragon and Gigantic. But you need to get creative and really find where your competition is at. Maybe they are on consoles? Or mobile? After doing some research I’ve come up with this list of competitors for Overwatch. For this sake of the article, I am only adding 3 games, but ideally you should compare you game to atleast 10 or more competitors, the more the better!

Features Overwatch Battleborn Paragon Gigantic
FPS x x x x
Action x x x x
Multiplayer x x x x
Teambased x x x x
Classbased x x x x

As you can see I took the broadest genre definitions first, and added games that fall in these caterogies.

Define feature-sets

Now we need to add a more detailed feature-set to identify what each of these games did differently.

For the sake of the article I am only adding 5 features, but, the more features you add, the more detailed your analysis will be!

Feature Overwatch Battleborn Paragon Gigantic
MOBA-style leveling No Yes No Yes
Weapon choice No Yes Yes No
Multipleobjective No Yes Yes Yes
Number of players 6 5 5 5
Enemy NPC’s No Yes Yes Yes

By MOBA-style leveling I mean In-game/In-match leveling to unlock ultimate abilities like in DOTA. thanks /u/VanJelly

Compare the games

So after looking at this, I think we can identify Overwatchs competitive advantage as being simplicity. While Battleborn and Paragon are staying true to their MOBA-roots. And althought it does not show in this table, I found out that Gigantic has done something interesting. While also still staying true to their MOBA-roots they decided to have a gigantic monster instead of having bases that the game revolves around. Maybe they looked at their competition and saw that they needed to stick out more?

Overwatch - Keeping it simple Overwatch - Keeping it simple

Now we know that Overwatchs competitive edge is simplicity. We can there therefore take design and marketing decisions guided by this. For example, we know that we dont want to add a deep ingame inventory system or add vehicles since that would defeat the simplicity of Overwatch. We also know what to tell people when they ask us why they should play Overwatch instead of its competition. We’ve made things a lot easier for ourselves!

I hope I could relay the point that there is value in analysing your competition. And Yes, games is an art form, but your company is a business. And you have to take both things in consideration to be a success.


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