So there has been a lot of disappointment over the Ouya Free The Games Fund. I am a little disappointed in how Ouya has responded to the controversies that plague the program as well. I won’t hide that.Â However, I think some of the complaints are not warranted.
Specifically, I think the complaint that it is impossible to sell an Ouya exclusive Kickstarter is kind of baseless. While the complaint that it is difficult to raise $50k in any Kickstarter is sound, it is not impossible. So it is with the Ouya exclusive nature of the Kickstarter, if it is sold correctly. Continue reading »
Earlier this week, Tom Buscaglia wrote up an article warning indie game developers away from bad deals with publishers. In this warning he states the following:
HERE COME THE BOTTOM FEEDERS
In this article he talks about the recent success of indie developers such as Notch, the creator of the popular Minecraft game. He states that publishers are taking notice of the indie games industry are are looking for marks. He warns us to be wary of any deal that might come our way:
But there are also a slew of bottom feeders who offer nothing but exploitation to any unwary developer looking to get his passion project in the world. I started seeing this crop up around the same time that word got out on Minecraft’s financial success. Like circling vultures with the smell of death in their nostrils, these “so called” publishing partners began to sign up Indies, launch Indie “friendly” portals and even run contests with the big award being getting the privilege to get screwed as first prize.
These publishers offer many promises and bait to lure in indie developers. I am reminded of Activision’s recent indie game contest. While the deal looked good on the surface and they promised to play nice with any developer who won, their past history with other developers led me to avoid them at all costs. Continue reading »
Every time the entertainment market shifts into new directions, the controlling powers scream about the death of their industry. Each time, they end up as nothing more than a Chicken Little.
You all know the story. A little chicken is sitting under an oak tree and an acorn falls and hits him on the head. He assumes he was hit with a piece of the sky and starts screaming “The sky is Falling!” to everyone he meets.
Eventually, he is found to be an idiot and everyone goes on their merry little way.
Today, we have two such Chicken Little stories posted on Gamasutra. In one you have Colleen Delzer claiming that $1 games are going to kill off their developers. In the other, you have Mike Capps claiming $1 games are going to kill the AAA developers. Both are nothing more than Chicken Little warnings.
When the TV came to the market, the movie industry claimed that it would be the death of movie theatres. Movie theatres are bigger now than ever. When Netflix started offering streaming video, they made they same claim and are still making it. The movie industry are setting box office records since then.
When the DVR came out, television studios claimed that it would end the serialized television show. We have more long running series now than ever. They are now complaining about Hulu and other streaming services claiming they will destroy the industry.
When iTunes was released the major labels screamed that they would die if songs were sold for a $1. They now sell more music than ever before. Continue reading »
This past Saturday, we attended the second half of a small business workshop focused on developing a good business plan. While this is all bureaucratic in nature, we felt it is a necessary step in getting our games going. We found a few things, we felt were really important:
- It requires us to figure out what our goals are as a company. What we want to focus on in the short term and long term.
- It forced us to really analyse the market for the games we are developing.
- It made us really look at what our competitors are doing and what they do well and what they are doing poorly.
- It made us look closer at the financial side of things.
So let’s look at some of these in stride.
Our goals as a company are to make games that we would want to play. Not only that, we want them to be games that we would want to play with our families or let our kids play on their own. Willis and I both have kids, My oldest is nearing 7 and I would love for him to be able to play these games with me. Some of our games may be a bit over younger kids’ heads, but we feel they should not have to leave the room when their parents or older siblings play.
We also want to dedicate time and resources in developing and releasing games that are not full of game breaking bugs. Our first games will be browser based games playable from Facebook and other game portals. It has become common practice in Facebook game development to slap the word “beta” on the title of the game and release it full of bugs and glitches that often break the game or are exploitable. We want to avoid this. We want to be confident that what we are releasing is something we feel comfortable labeling “Gold Master.”
We also got to look hard at some of our competitors in the web based gaming scene. We feel our closest competitors to our first two games are Zynga’s Warstorm and Feerik’s Eredan. Both of these games are online collectible card games. They are drastically different in both gameplay and art direction but are both fairly fun to play. We have been analysing these games over the last few months (yes that means we got to play games) and have been looking at what they do well, both from gameplay and monetisation using free to play methods) and what they do not do well. Neither game seems to have regular updates or promotions that I have seen. Warstorm seems to be focused on retain their dwindling user base and Eredan seems to be content sitting where it is. We look forward to competing with them and hopefully spur them to innovate and expand to reach new audiences. After all, nothing is less fun in competing against someone who does not want to compete.
Finally, in regards to financials, we are looking to start up with relative low over head. Nothing wrong with that. We are both working full time elsewhere and are wanting to move into working for ourselves full time in the near future. So we really need to understand what it would take to build up our company to reach that point.
All in all, this business plan is important to us to keep us focused, but it is also important for other reasons, which I am not going to go into just yet. Suffice it to say, we are working on something that requires us to have a business plan as well as a game design and prototype. We will keep you informed as we learn more.