I'm sure that if James Carville were talking to game developers today, he would tell them, "It's the graphics, stupid!" Graphics are the most important aspect of any game. If your game does not have graphics that look better than real life, you will be mocked mercilessly by authorities of video gaming like IGN, MMOHut, and various gaming magazines like PC Gamer. You should dedicate no less than ninety percent of the game's development cycle to graphics. If you run out of time for less important aspects like gameplay and story, consider it a trade-off.
2. System requirements
You should make absolutely no attempt to optimize the game to run on older hardware in any way, shape, or form. Hardware manufacturers like Intel, AMD, and NVidia love to have video games that require their absolutely latest hardware to slap on the advertisements and retail boxes for their products. Enjoying a cordial relationship with these companies is absolutely vital. When you make people run out and assemble new $3,000 rigs just to play your latest sensation, they will love you for it.
My brother reminded me that I would be remiss not to mention the important matter of the price of your game. It is very important that the price of your game be no less than sixty U.S. dollars at the time of its release (and for several years afterwards). If your game is cheap or even free, people will assume that it is poor in quality. Price is always associated with quality. Look at MacBooks, Rolex watches, XenForo, and expensive sportscars as examples. These products are overpriced to make them into status symbols. Make your game a status symbol.
In today's gaming world, competitions with cash prizes are extremely important. Look at League of Legends for example. LoL has a toxic community, almost no originality, extremely elementary game mechanics, and no endgame whatsoever. The competitions are what make League of Legends a popular game and an instant ticket to Twitch stardom.
5. (Lack of) Challenge
Most games will never make it to this step because so much time will be devoted to the previous steps (especially the first). However, if you do ever get around to working on the gameplay, make sure that you take every element of challenge and risk out of the game. Look at Ultima Online for example. It started as a sandbox where people could pretty much do whatever they wanted, and look where that got them! Thank god that they added Trammel so that everyone had a mystical world free of player killing, risk, and challenge. I hated not being able to carry around hundreds of thousands of gold in currency, gear, and neon clothing without any risk whatsoever. Also, make sure that eighty percent of the gameplay takes place in instances and not in the open world. I love to play multiplayer games so that I can play them by myself.
While some say that games are about having fun, that could not be further from the truth. Games are about cash. If you follow this guide to the letter, you will be swimming in an ocean of hundred dollar bills before you know it.