Quang’s paper “An Empirical Study of the Characteristics of Popular Game Jams and Their High-ranking Submissions on itch.io” was accepted for publication at the International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (FDG) 2020! Super congrats Quang!
Game jams are hackathon-like events that allow participants to develop a playable game prototype within a time limit. They foster creativity and the exchange of ideas by letting developers with different skill sets collaborate. Having a high-ranking game is a great bonus to a beginning game developer’s résumé and their pursuit of a career in the game industry. However, participants often face time constraints set by jam hosts while balancing what aspects of their games should be emphasized to have the highest chance of winning. Similarly, hosts need to understand what to emphasize when organizing online jams so that their jams are more popular, in terms of submission rate. In this paper, we study 1,290 past game jams and their 3,752 submissions on itch.io to understand better what makes popular jams and high-ranking games perceived well by the audience. We find that a quality description has a positive contribution to both a jam’s popularity and a game’s ranking. Additionally, more manpower organizing a jam or developing a game increases a jam’s popularity and a game’s high-ranking likelihood. High-ranking games tend to support Windows or macOS, and belong to the “Puzzle”, “Platformer”, “Interactive Fiction”, or “Action” genres. Also, shorter competitive jams tend to be more popular. Based on our findings, we suggest jam hosts and participants improve the description of their products and consider co-organizing or co-participating in a jam. Furthermore, jam participants should develop multi-platform multi-genre games. Finally, jam hosts should introduce a tighter time limit to increase their jam’s popularity.
See our Publications for the full paper.