30/30 Day 9: Video Game Darwinism: A Fight for Survival amongst Developers - Chris K Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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30/30 Day 9: Video Game Darwinism: A Fight for Survival amongst Developers

Survival of the fittest; our world is defined by it. It is a theory that defines how creatures behave and live even how societies function. The animals who cannot adapt to survive will be killed. The humans who cannot adapt to society's changes will also be killed. The harsh nature of this principle I believe can be applied to the video game business. I call it Video Game Darwinism.

To me, video game Darwinism is the concept that those who adapt will thrive, and those who fail or can't adapt will be removed. So with tons developers out in this industry, how can anyone survive? You have goliath companies like Activision, Bethesda, and EA who completely dominate the market. Call of Duty and sports games control the market, the name itself causes sales no matter the quality. Those who can't meet the world's high expectations will be removed from the equation. Those small companies who do thrive, will only end up being bought out by the bigger guns (ex. Zynga buying out all those little devs).

Eating up the little guys...

In this dog eat dog world of video games, no one can feel comfortable with their job. You devote a couple years to your life to make a game that receive low sales; you job is on the hot seat. A low rating from a news outlet can destroy a reputation and cause massive layoffs. Unless you adapt, you will not survive on your own.

So what does it take in order to survive the cruel, unforgiving business that is video games? A select few companies and brand names monopolize the market and make those lesser known games obsolete. Indie developers have an extremely difficult time in the world; with such a small audience and limited budget; the profit you receive is nowhere close to juggernauts like EA. These indie and small developers have a slim chance to reach success and most of them only get one chance.

How do developers survive? Unfortunately, my take on it isn't the most positive. To be successful in the video game market you must conform to your audience. You must fall under the core audience of gamers and deliver something like everyone else. There are three types of games most everyone buys; FPS, sports, and party games. With this in mind I believe if developers want to get there name out they must follow one of those genres. Even if it is a carbon-copy rehash of COD, it will get sales, and you make profit. However is it worth the risk to dump art and creativity for the spotlight and sales? The chance of an indie developer hitting it big with a creative idea is incredibly slim. Not even taking the quality of the certain indie game into account; if you don't have marketing and clout behind your name the chances of your financial success is extremely low.

You need marketing, a big budget, and success to your name in order to survive. Going "mainstream" to make a living in the industry isn't a bad thing. You hit on a unique formula to the FPS genre, you will make money. But if an indie game hits that same note but with a puzzle game, it will not be as successful. Making a name for yourself in this industry is hard so conforming to the large audience in my opinion is what will make you successful.

Make it rain!!!

Now I have nothing against artistic video games, as those are some of favorite games; but if you want to make a name for yourself in the industry you should just be simple. I'm no analyst on this subject I believe in Darwinism, survival of the fittest. And if you want to survive, then follow suit with the big developers. There are so few success stories in the gaming industry for me, but these are just my thoughts. Following suit with what the majority of gamers want is your best bet, even if it means sacrificing originality and "copying" other games. The world of video games is a tough place to live in, it is even tougher to be successful.

So what our thoughts on this idea of "Video Game Darwinism"?

 

 

 

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