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SnpProgrmr

Games != money

24 posts in this topic

Ever since id paid off their venture capital investors and bought Vipers, it's just been "the thing": Make a computer game, make a lot of money.

It's a phase that's passing, mind you, like all phases do. I would say right now that "the thing" is: Make an Internet company, make a lot of money. A few years ago, it was: Be a rock star, make a lot of money.

Who knows where it's going next? Maybe: Make a satirical cartoon for adults featuring foul-mouthed 8-year olds, make a lot of money... ;-)

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DavidRM
Samu Games

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Not sure that I agree with you that it is a phase. Call me a business school grad but what you have been witnessing over the past few years is the growth stage of an industry. As the industry grows opportunities attract new players into the market. Yes some of them get rich and other's poor, but as the industry approaches stability things become more difficult. The number of players attracted into the market cause attrition to happen and this keeps competition thriving in a stable market. The only way to make money in a stable market is to gain competitive advantages or find new market segments. I tend to believe the increase interest in making money is going to attract more savvy business people to the market. Gamers traditionally have not been business savvy which probably explains the raping they have been enduring from the publishers. All that is happening as the market becomes more stable is that you have to learn new ways to compete. Wishing for it to go back to the garage days is not going to allow you to have a successful company in the future.

Lets take an analogy from another industry. I am refering to the industry that creates every day items.(toothpaste, baking soda....) If a person or company without a solid business plan, thinks it can compete with the likes of Proctor and Gamble then they are mistaken. P & G has taken innovation techniques to a whole new level and they have made significant amounts of money on items in a much smaller profit margin. Proctor and Gamble operates in a stable industry.

Gaming will operate in the same type of industry before long. If a company can't organize yourself like the big companies, and it can't approach the marketwith an idea from a business perspective while still maintaining passion and love for what the company does, then it will be left in the cold and yes it will not make money. The dream is getting harder to attain as the industry gets more organized about how it develops.

Just my opinion.
Kressilac

ps If I am correct then the game I am trying to produce will work and I won't have to go barefoot to work everyday and eat mac and cheese.(not that mac and cheese isn't a good food or anything cause it is a staple)

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Derek Licciardi

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My point was this: Every couple of months it seems there is a new "big thing" that sparks a "gold rush". The "gold rush" mentality is sparked by (a perceived) low cost of entry and potentially very high returns.

Thus, it is a phase that people are rushing into game development hoping to make lots of money. That this phase is passing is a sign that the industry is beginning to stabilize--and that the cost of entry is going up.

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DavidRM
Samu Games

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In my opinion, people who really want to make a game should gather some experience first. Program some stuff if you're a programmer, draw some art if you're an artist, do some ... if you're an ... . It's pointless as a newbie to buy a book about DirectX, read it and then think you'll be able to create a game a few days later. (Unless you're really f**** clever). Everybody should train his / her skills first before working in team on something bigger (maybe something that will be published and even make some $$$).
Practice makes perfect, and this can only be achieved if you practice a lot if you want to keep up with the current standart of game development. So don't expect your first game to make lots of $$$, or even better, don't even excpect it to be published.
Money is good, but If you just do it for the money, stop developing games. Developing is also some sort of creative process and this requires that you have fun with what you are doing,
have fun developing!!!!

That's it for now.

[Whooops, I posted this message in the wrong topic.
But isn't totally wrong here anyway.
Sorry, will never happen again (have to get used to the messagebord first, I'm new here)

[This message has been edited by Chappa (edited November 23, 1999).]

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I didn't mean to send people off the loop with my reply. I do believe you have to love what your doing and I do. As far as the experience goes, I have some, but I tend to think of a large scale game as a team effort. Therefore, I find that my abilities would be best put towards getting the right people on board to do this with me. If I can't provide them with a stable job and secure environment to work in then why start the company. To do this requires me to have a sense of a business plan for the game that is focused on how the game will make money. You see all I really believe is that it takes both and it is much harder to produce a hit game without both, passion and a gear towards money.

Kressilac

ps DividRM I see your point as even a mature industry has these.

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Derek Licciardi

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Though you do have a point in saying that an industry will "stabilize" when it suddenly becomes a money making environment, but making games is very different from mass-producing GI Joe toys. Developing a game doesn't require any money or a factory. A group of fourteen year old teens with the proper software can make a game just as good as a group forty year olds. And seeing how MS is selling their development software at about $500, I really don't see how the industry will ever be harder to get in.

-William

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MS's VC++ costs $100, not $500.

I tend to disagree about the industry being just as accessable for a group of 14 year olds as for a group of 40 year olds.

The industry has really moved past being able to make a game with the same abilities that you can make a demo. While smaller games can be made by less people and less professional setup, the larger games are really out of the reach of people without funding or the proper structure that experience creates.

-Geoff

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14-year-old might even have an advantage, as they are likely to, umm..., "acquire" Visual C++ for free.

Realistically, even though no factory or plant is required to make games, most people fail to realize that less than 30% is actually programming. And of the rest, a good portion if graphics, which are much less than easy, and game design. Then you have the business side of developing games....

14-year-olds can make games, but professional or even good they will probably not be.

- Splat

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I guess I should clarify my thoughts a little more. When people talk about passion for a game, I assume that it means they have the desire to see the game in satisfied customers hands. The benefit really comes from people ranting and raving about how this game is the best yet etc etc. Since all of these games have made tremendous amounts of money, it is easy to follow this to a logical assumption. If you want to make a large amount of money in games then you have to produce a game that is minimally of the quality attained by your predecessors. To this point, I have assembled my judgements on the video-game industry.

No longer will a company with a not-enough-money-to-buy-a-shoestring budget be able to produce top notch games capable of the sales needed to make good amounts of money. Because of this, I see a need to have both a great game with all the art, story, mechanics, ease of use... and a solid business plan.

My intention is to build a video game that will sell hundreds of thousands of copies. I have built these assumptions into my business plan because it is one of the only ways to show the revenue needed to secure funding so that I can even get a chance to make the game. I also believe that along with a good idea, you can systematically approach the project like it was any other IT project.(just different variables and dependencies) My business plan proves this is possible and shows that I can reduce the risk involved in investing in a video game.

The problem the 14 year old faces is the lack of business knowledge, and the lack of resources. Both of these contribute to a less than top-notch game. This column discusses games!=money. I totally disagree with this. Aside from a flop product and poor planning, you can make a game with a good idea, proper planning, marketing, and a business strategy, that will sell well and produce the revenues you seek.

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Derek Licciardi

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However, a good game with solid backing, a good story line and good gameplay will NOT always sell. We are dealing in the entertainment industry: while bad games have little to no chance of making it, even good games can be flops. Its a coin toss - provided you can get the "good" game out the door with marketing, you have an ok chance of making lots of money.

- Splat

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My point exactly. In attempting to make money at games it becomes an exercise in reducing the risk of a game not being successful. The business plan side of it goes a long way toward helping your investors believe you have done due dilligence in solving the problem. Nothing is ever carved in stone but making the odds favor success is what investors want to see.

Here's to hoping it works

Kressilac
ps Lets not lose sight of the fact that I believe the idea I have is a great one. I would tell you but I would have to kill you afterwards. *chuckle* Non-disclosure agreements are wonderful aren't they.

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Derek Licciardi

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Yup, its important to remember there are no sure things, and in the games business this is even more true.

Just having a business plan wont make you successful, however, not planning is really ensuring your failure...

-Geoff

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The Blair Witch Project cost around $250K to produce. And, based on the (intentionally) piss-poor production value and (intentionally) sophomoric acting talent, I think they paid too much...but that's a different topic...

The Secret to the Success of The Blair Witch Project was pure marketing. As much as I despise the film, the commercials were great. At least the first 2 million times I saw them...

While I keep hearing how "little" the movie cost to make, I've not heard any totals for how much the advertising campaign and it's line of hype added to the total. From my own experience in supporting the advertising arm of cable network, they dropped a hell of a lot more than $250K.

And, for the record, the movie "Clerks" only cost $27.5K to make.

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DavidRM
Samu Games

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I think people blindly throw this word "passion" around as if it transcends
everything else. I pratically see it on every posted game programming job position
description I read. "Must have a passion for creating games...", blah blah.
But you never hardly see this word used for anything else besides game
programming positions. Why? Is it because people look down on games compared
to other jobs?

Is "passion" just another expression for being "not lazy"?

Believe me, you can have passion for lots of things, so I don't see why
this word is used more in computer gaming context than anywhere else.

Reaver

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Passion : Willingness to work ridiculous hours for a low base rate of pay in a skilled job with no overtime, no bonuses (which actually materialise) and no royalties.

The passion clause in games jobs advertisements underlies the the fact that games companies understands that the nature of the industry attracts people willing to ignore sense and financial rewards in return for doing something they love.

Slavery is an industry standard.

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I guess I believe that you don't have to be a slave driver to produce a popular game. If your business plan is organized enough, intelligently thought out while not ignoring the common problems, and your people are talented enough, then you can pay them what they deserve and stand a good chance of making a successful product. Call me an idiot, I just think I can do it better than has been done in the past. Isn't this attitude what makes innovation happen.

Kressilac
ps I refuse to succumb to the status quo.

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Derek Licciardi

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Ok im 15 and i have what it takes to make a good game. You people forget that programming games isnt just for older people, its all about vision now what some younger programmers lack is vision. What i mean by this is most people just think about making a game, not marketing, or proposing it to publishers. Anyway i dont feel like getting into a lecture. it takes vision not age, age has nothing to do with it. "VISION.
(oh, boy i feel this will spark a new fire)
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I would also be very interested in seeing your work. Someone who is a sure of himself as you are would have a website or something tracking what he's done. Do you? I'm sure you do.

-Erik L. Elmore

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Maudib,

Vision is wonderful. Without you most certainly will not have a game that sells hundreds of thousands. Along with vision it takes backing, business sense, industry contacts, project management, financial management, employee management, and design brains to produce a final result. This occurs long before the game is even marketed, physically produced, or sold. It occurs long before the game is supported or the first patches released are complete. What I think the reference to 14yr olds was trying to get across is that most young people do not have the focus to follow through on a game that can make them money because it is truly an overwhelming task in light of all that is necessary to complete it. I know I didn't when I was that old. Over time I have acquired the knowledge necessary to produce a company and that came with failing a business and going to business school. Maybe the stereotype is placed wrongly. Maybe it isn't because stereotypes come from somewhere and don't spring from nowhere. If we have offended you as it seems we have then I am sure I speak for all in saying it wasn't intentional. All it was trying to express was that getting the experience necessary is something that takes time and dedication of which only the latter seems to be with you at the moment. In time that dedication will pay off, trust me and stick to it.


Oh please show us your work. I am interested in seeing it.

Kressilac

[This message has been edited by kressilac (edited December 06, 1999).]

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I don't understand why people think that games will make them a lot of money.

It's a very competitive business where the developer's get a very small amount of money. And that's if it ever gets distributed.
Learning how to make the game and keeping up with the new hardware isn't easy either.
On top of all that, organizing a group and making sure the game is good enough to sell is a pain.

Why do so many people expect boundless riches from this industry?

Personally, I program games because I have a passion for this stuff and to prepare for an engineering career.

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