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Game Focus Germany
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:06 am    Post subject: Game Focus Germany Reply with quote

A recent indie conference http://www.gamefocus.de/ again seeming to offer quite a pessimistic view, at least from these two luminaries:

Greg Costikian who runs http://www.manifestogames.com/
[note - this is a microsoft power point slide presentation]

Summary - mainstream games cost more and more to make with less money going to the actual developer and it's harder to actually get a hit. Indie games are going the same way, harder to interest retailers, portals want to take more and more, games cost ever more to make. Move to console downloadables makes it even more expensive as console manufacturers have strict requirements and control what does and doesn't get through. The future is in online games driven by small subscriptions, micro transactions, advert driven free games (groan), social games, etc. The idea being to remove any barriers to play, but create persistent sticky experiences that let you hang onto players and get more out of them than the $3 cut you would get from a portal sale. I think he was actually trying to be upbeat, but moving into the online space is a major technical hurdle that will only be open to a very few. A good example is "Threadspace hyperbol" an online game that I think is wonderful, yet it took 5 years to develop and hardly anyone plays it! Very scary.

Jonathan Blow who is making Braid for XBLA
[power point slides and audio]

Summary - people don't realise how important and difficult REAL game design is. Most devs just copy existing games and occasionally tweak some aspect a little. This is unlikely to sustain them in the long term, they won't sell enough. Only way to get a hit is to make something really special, otherwise you may as well save yourself the grief and go get a job at EA. However, if you do want to make something special (like Braid) it will take ages (Braid has been 3 years so far and still isn't finished). The only way to make money back on a project of that scale in this day and age is to get on a console (I suppose Costikian would have said get online). Doing that makes it take even longer as their testing teams generate huge numbers of bugs that having nothing to do with the game! He currently has 500 issues on his todo list and it's growing rather than shrinking - eek.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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