Saturday, August 22, 2009

Times are Changing

Fantastic article in Wired this month called 'The Good Enuf Rvlutn'. It's about how Lo-Fi tech is taking over. From mp3s, to Hulu, to netbooks to Flip HD cameras, people are foregoing bleeding edge for cheap, convenient and super easy to use.

I believe more and more the games industry is going to have to shift towards this trend. There will always be the big budget titles for $60 based on known brands (IP like Star Wars, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto) but I think big budget NEW IP is increasingly an endangered species.

This is great news!

In the race to the top, games cost $30-40M, teams are huge and the stakes are incredibly high. What chance the creative vision, when so much at stake, so many interests vested, and sales needing to be huge?

But now we have a new race to the bottom. Low costs, smaller dev teams, cheaper games.

Gamers are increasingly more comfortable with trading bleeding edge graphical quality for convenience, fun and originality at a fair price. These days, I play Shadow Complex, Battlefield 1943 and Trails HD on my XBox. These are games that cost in the $2-4M range, maybe even less and cost me $15 to buy.

With lower cost comes lower risk, so game creators have the opportunity to retain control and drive their unique vision. The last big budget game I played was Mirrors Edge. Although I enjoyed it, recently I have been loving Shadow Complex just as much. Great polished game in a small package. I get the sense with this summers crop of XBLA games that the small teams had FUN making them. That they were made out of a passion for the craft.

This is a great time to be creating new IP. This next decade for games could be what the 70s were for Hollywood, the time when fresh new ideas and young talent were able to break the mold of an entrenched system and deliver new content for an audience hungry for it.


Nick said...

The article is online now:

David Nottingham said...

Thanks for the link! I added it to the article