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Video games are one of the most popular forms of entertainment and have been for decades. Their technology has evolved since the early days of Pong, but the allure hasn’t changed. Kids and adults alike spend hours in front of their screens playing their favorite games, from single to multi-player and across genres.

If you’re an aspiring gaming creator, there are some things you should know before diving into the industry and developing your own. It’s important to know what audiences are looking for and the qualities worth incorporating to appeal to your demographic.

Follow our four tips for aspiring gaming creators.

Find Your Niche

There are multiple categories of video games that can be challenging for potential developers — figuring out which category your game will fit into may take time, but it’s an important choice to make. When you choose a specific category — whether it’s a simulation and sports, puzzle-based, or role-playing game — you can then build your scenery or characters to fit the appropriate mold.

Plan a Marketing Strategy

The video game industry is saturated with thousands of single and multi-player games, so if you’re considering developing your own it’s essential to have some kind of marketing plan in place. If you’re unable to market your game, how are players ever going to find it?

Social media is a useful tool that is free to use. Posting teasing clips of your game and using popular and relevant hashtags can help put you in the conversation. When you have enough of a following, you can even take inspiration from other creators and internet personalities — like the newest Azzyland Apparel — and expand your brand to merchandise, making your players and fans feel more connected to your work.

Balance Risks & Rewards

When players engage with a video game, there is an unspoken agreement between the developer and the player — that there will be particular obstacles in the game each player must overcome, but that there are also appropriate rewards at the end.

If your levels are challenging to reach, then there should be a reward that feels worth the effort it takes to earn it. Otherwise, you risk losing the interests of players, and they’ll seek out games that feel more fulfilling.

Sounds & Graphics

Sounds in a video game are often more important than many realize. Incorporating the right sounds at the right time can help players discern if they’ve done something right or wrong, achieved a particular level, and enhance the overall experience of the game.

Similarly, graphics are an essential visual component. The type of graphics you create will depend on the category your game falls under. If you’re working on a shooter or role-playing game, you’ll want to ensure your graphics are high enough quality to keep players engaged. If you’re working on a puzzle-based game, you can get away with simpler graphics.

Ultimately, you want to ensure you’re designing with the player in mind — take the time to look at the games on the market and what users are saying about their experience. Knowing what they’re interested in and how they engage with video games will help you create a meaningful gaming experience.