Inteview: Chris Miller of player1games Talks About the Challenges of Being an Indie Developer in Mobile

It’s no secret that the mobile gaming market is massively competitive. It always was, but when almost every game is free to download you have to do a lot to just get noticed – let alone create a hit.

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It’s no secret that the mobile gaming market is massively competitive. It always was, but when almost every game is free to download you have to do a… Continue reading
It’s no secret that the mobile gaming market is massively competitive. It always was, but when almost every game is free to download you have to do a lot to just get noticed – let alone create a hit.

So we talked to Chris Miller, Founder at player1games, about the challenges his company has faced over the years in mobile gaming – and what lies ahead for his team.
Hi Chris! Tell us a bit more about yourself and how player1games got started.
I’ve been making games of all types for over 26 years. I found my way into the games industry by accident or fate, depending on how you look at things, via a temporary agency in Los Angeles. I had my first testing job at Sony Imagesoft and was hooked. I knew I’d found my niche. The rest was an uphill climb through a young industry trying to figure itself out along the way. I went through QA, CS, Production and up to VP on the publishing side.  Then I co-founded a studio which was successful and went on to be acquired by Niantic Games. That process was fun (insert sarcasm here). I guess I’m a bit of a glutton for punishment, so I started again from scratch and created player1games.
What were your original aims when you started developing games – have they changed at all since?

Originally I was just shocked to be getting paid to play and then make games.  Now you can actually go to school and get a degree in game development! I’ve always loved playing games, and first person shooters were my passion. That hasn’t changed, but I’ve come to appreciate the growing popularity of casual games, the challenges in finding fun mechanics, and looking for ways to build those into product.  When I started making games, the audience was pretty narrow. The market demographics have shifted; everyone is a potential gamer. I want to make games for everyone.
Tell us more about your early games like the Mathletix series and Vicious Varmints – and how did they shape your other titles moving forward?
Earlier titles like Vicious Varmints and Frak Attack were used to build and test pipelines.  We were early to the “work at home” scene, so we needed to find talent, setup up pipelines and plans etc. I’ve been in the hardcore gamer space for a very long time, and felt like I needed to tackle some new genres. Mathletix was born from that, and also – my youngest daughter was working her way through elementary school math. I was observing the repetitive lessons, endless printing of practice worksheets, and just started brainstorming. I knew there were other games out there, but most of them require accounts and collect personal information. I wanted a clean kids app that just worked the basics through repetition in a fun and familiar way.
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