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Iteration and feedback

What goes into a high quality product?

It goes through many iterations but also incorporates a ton of customer feedback while it iterates. I will be talking about software development in this post with examples from my career and video games.

Video Games

What makes a high quality video game? let us compare cyberpunk 2077 with Hades and the different development approaches.

Hades

Source: TheVerge; Hades is a roguelike with hot gods to kiss and kill

The Jimquisition YouTube channel awarded Hades game of the year for 2020:

They credit the many years the game spent in beta and incorporating customer feedback along the journey as main reasons why Hades as turned into the awesome game it is.

There was never any forced “crunch” time (think overtime and sleeping under your desk) and the game has been well received by the community at large.

Cyberpunk 2077

Where as cyberpunk 2077 has been the biggest hyped up flop of a game to be released in 2020. There’s an outstanding class action lawsuit, many reports of bugs and Sony pulled the game from the ps4 store.

Yahtzee only got their review copy unlocked 1 day before release, that’s not a lot of time to incorporate any user feedback:

Big Bang releases are bad

Hades had a team of roughly 20 people, they decided to do early access in 2018 on only one platform (the Epic Game Store) before porting to other platforms. It took them about 3 years of development. Source: Wikipedia.

Cyberpunk 2077 was announced in 2012, the team started at 50 people and grew to 500. It was released on all platforms at once and subsequently pulled from the ps4 store. Source: Wikipedia.

With all of the money, time and resources behind cyberpunk 2077 you think they’d able to release a solid game. However big bang releases and expensive projects don’t always get released as planned.

Pick one platform

If you are looking to develop a mobile app or website, pick one platform to learn and iterate on. Don’t start with an Android app + iOS app + Web app only to learn you built the wrong product. Depending on your situation you might pick one platform over the other.

When I was working at Tyro and we were working towards our banking licence, we built an iOS app first for managing your business bank account. Android came after we got our licence and a web banking experience wasn’t even on the tables by the time I left.

Incorporate feedback

My current team released version 1.0 of our app in March in 2020, we’ve since done monthly releases and incorporated customer feedback into each release. This has been a great way of starting with a basic app and fleshing out the features to be the best superannuation app on the market (look I’m biased).

Keep an eye on the app store

Tyro is still doing pretty well on the app store, especially compared to something like the myGovID app which has a similar number of ratings.

Delivering quality products

You don’t need a giant team or lots of $ to build high quality products. If you start small and incorporate feedback it’ll be money better spent than a big bang approach.

Check out :

to read more about my approach to quality and mobile apps.

4 replies on “Iteration and feedback”

Great article Sam and you will love what I’m about to say, I’ve been replaying the legendary Fallout New Vegas and even thought the game is 10+ years old, it’s still being modded, played and people still doing videos about it.

It was such a brilliant top quality game that stood the test of time!

It was built for PC and ported to other platforms. Worked!

You so rock and got me thinking 🙂

Yeah, building a community around a game can also keep the game going for a lot longer than it’s initial marketing drive.

Is “incorporating user feedback” the only difference between Hades and Cyberpunk? Is “incorporating user feedback” what makes a difference between good and bad game? Is Cyberpunk even a bad game to begin with (it didn’t live up to hype, but few games ever do)?

Could it be that people who don’t like Tyro just don’t use the service (instead of giving bad review), while people feel somewhat “forced” to use myGovID? Could it be that for reviewers, myGovID is a proxy for Australian government in general?

I’m not saying incorporating feedback is bad idea, but I feel there is much more nuance to these examples.

Sure, these are all valid points but to keep the blog post short they are the examples I’m drawing attention to.

The fact that cyberpunk was pulled from the ps4 store because it was unplayable, does make it a certain level of bad. It’s probably a fine game on PC, and I still want to play it because I love shadowrun/ghost in the shell but I might wait a bit before I do.

Reading through some of the 1 star reviews on myGov, someone couldn’t register their name because their surname has a space, therefore is unable to verify any ID. There’s many examples of people finding these types of bugs.

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