Friday, April 16, 2010

Pickstr Goes Alpha

What a week!

One of my many side projects, Pickstr, went to public alpha this week, and my days and a lot of my nights have been filled with chatting with alpha testers and integrating their feedback. It's good to reach this point in development.

If you haven't been to the site or are too lazy to click the link and check it out, Pickstr is a web-based game. In it, players select the outcome of such real-world events as sports games, and compete with others to be the most accurate and achieve Guru status. Players also get to wager virtual currency on matches for added fun.

The alpha is all about testing the concept, mechanic, design, technology, etc. and soliciting user feedback before we take the concept to a public Beta some time in the summer. We're collecting data on user preferences and will use the information to improve the product.

One thing I've been reminded about repeatedly this week is how valuable it is to listen to users. The development process comes with a set of blinders, and hearing people new to the experience talk about what they like and dislike is incredibly helpful in understanding the potential of what is being built.

Furthermore, I was surprised to find that working on and playing Pickstr made me more interested in sports. It could have something to do with the number of bad picks I've made and virtual currency lost. I hate to lose.

Next steps for Pickstr include deployment to social and mobile platforms. The prospect of being able to compete in isolation with friends makes Facebook a likely early target. The Twitter angle is also developing, as we explore how to capitalize on the platform's strengths.

I don't wish to make this into a Pickstr development blog, but after almost a week of silence, I felt I should mention what I've been up to. If you've taken the time to try Pickstr, thank you! Be sure to let me know what you think of it - I'm very interested to know.

Thanks again, and enjoy your weekend.

© Jeremy Buehler and Rogue Tendencies ( 2010.

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