Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Revolution in Game Development

Hardcore gamers have been struggling to see good games in the past 10 years. With each new release, each new title, or a demo, I've been looking with hope that it can be something incredible. But, generally, there wasn't a single great game, just a couple of good ones instead. Today, all big titles are targeted at soft-core audience, because it's easier to make and sells good. Fortunately, this is going to change in 2013, and the roots of the revolution are visible now.
2013 will be the beginning of the next golden age of gaming. The epicentre of the last one was around 1998, and I'm sure there was at least one more before it in 80th. The reason for games to change is the revolution in relationship between the developer, users, and the publisher on the way to extinction. The key concepts of the new era are digital distribution and crowd funding. This revolution is happening today, and the leaders have already shown up:
1. Steam (2002): the flagman of digital game distribution built by Valve. Steam helps PC developers to sell the game, and advertise it, without having a publisher. Steam has also shown us that games don't need to be so expensive, and the price can go down faster after the release, especially if the game turned out to be not as good as advertised.

2. Humble Bundle (2010): demonstrated the effectiveness of pay-what-you-want business model applied to indie games. Plus the fact that copyright protection is undesired: both Humble Bundle and GOG service provide only DRM-free content. An interesting discovery was that Linux/Unix users are ready to pay more than Windows gamers.

3. Minecraft (2009): an original game that became popular in the open alpha state. Minecraft was not the first, but it was the brightest and incredibly successful example of the game sponsored by the live user community. People realized that they can not only pay for existing games, but also influence the future by investing in the ideas they like.

4. KickStarter (2008): a portal that connects game developers with gamers, who are ready to invest their money. Millions of dollars are gathered around ambitious projects, exceeding developer expectations by a large factor. It is the final link in a chain that leaves no place for big fat publishers. Well, except for console games... for now.

I'm calling everyone to sponsor the games you would really enjoy! This revolution will make 2013 a wonderful year of games, which would be able to compete with veterans of 1998. For a complete picture, here are the games I'm proud to support:

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