For Neil Lai, a developer based in Taiwan, partnering an Egyptian developer was a first step in going global. But the struggle for the Asian/African team was understanding how Americans and Europeans play.
Neil’s company Keiti and Amidos Games from Egypt developed Number Game. It is a simple, play-anywhere puzzler. If the background goes blue, players have to find the largest number on the screen. If it goes red, they have to find the smallest.
“Asia is a unique market,” says Neil. “Things are very different in America and in Europe.”
The reason the Neil travelled all the way to Amsterdam to be at Casual Connect was so he could figure out how European’s think and see how they reacted to his game.
“That’s the hardest part for us,” says Neil. “We want to know what Europeans think. We need to find ways to connect with the whole world.”
Neil is himself a hardcore gamer. So he has a head start in understanding what audiences want. His strategy with Number Game was to make a puzzle that could be played anywhere.
From an Asian perspective, this makes sense. People play games while they’re waiting for a bus, or picking their kids up from school. They want a game that is easy to pick up and put down, is challenging, and keeps them thinking.
But like many other developers in our Unsung Heroes campaign, Neil hasn’t seen the success his game deserves and he believes that’s because it doesn’t have a global reach. He realises it isn’t enough to be great at creating games.
“My parents don’t understand what I’m doing this for,” says Neil ruefully. “I can make a game. But we are based in Taiwan and we don’t have the resources to take on the whole world.”