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Live by the sword, die by the sword

October 22, 2014

Times, they are-a changin'
- sung by a certain talent who is not Justin Bieber

In the good ol' days, when dinosaurs freely roamed the land, things were quite simple for game developers:

  • You were a geek, master of a strange device called "computer",
  • You had an idea, a new way of fun for fellow geeks, classified as "computer game",
  • You made it all happen by the arcane knowledge of "programming", 
  • You directly sold your game to fellow geeks...

... And you earned some cash...
... Not much, mind you, but enough for pizza and you certainly had fun in the process.

Specialized product for a specialized market, as the Wall Street suits would say in slight confusion.

Well, dinosaurs are long gone, geeks became multi-millionaries (say hi to Mark!), and Wall Street has turned to be a big lie.
On the contrary, computer games survived: gaming is now integral to our daily life (Solitaire in the office? WoW at home? Angry Birds on the loo?)

So you might think that the Brave New World is not a bad place afterall:

  • You still have a great idea, crazier than ever before (yeah right!),
  • You have superlative development tools too (hooray!),
  • The whole world is your market ($how me the money!)...

... but you cannot sell your game (bummer)
No pizza, no fun.

Cheap product for mass market, as the Wall Street suits would say in arrogance.

The truth is plain and simple: after a very lucrative peak around the late 90's / early 2000's, computer game development has became a very risky business, the fail-ratio is MUCH bigger than you could imagine.
You will be surprised how many game developers went under in the recent years (indies, AAAs, doesn't matter - "equal opportunity", yeah right...)

Why, you might ask.
Well, the bigger your market is, the more relevant the following wisdom will be:

Nobody Knows Anything
- by William Goldman, on Hollywood
Bloody Well Right, Bill.
- by me, on the gaming industry overall

So, what now? Time for a carreer change? Be a pizza delivery boy? (At least the pizza part got covered...)
Don't do it yet, as you still have one ace in the pocket, your most important asset:

The PASSION to make games.

Utilize this gift, no one else can do it. Only you can do.

Turn everything into a game:

  • Make a game about delivery boys: similar to the wonderful quarter-gobbler arcade, Paperboy.
  • Design a game about paying your checks, as spoofed in the award-winning indie hit, Papers, Please.
  • Play the Game of Life with your partner, just like the mega-smash The Sims did.

Again, Turn Everything Into A Game.
GAMIFICATE!!!

Yours truly, 

- Laszlo, CTO @ PalmStorm

(In the next post, I will demonstrate how we did our first gamification project. And I promise you do not need to wait a month for that!)

Annoyed? Intrigued? Contact me.


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