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Being a (pure evil) business developer #5: some post-E3 thoughts

by Marcin Kaleta on 08/10/18 09:25:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Dear readers,

It’s been quite a while since I last wrote, but you’ll have to forgive me about that. Never in the history of iFun4all we were as busy, as during the last more-than-a-month period and it’s my great pleasure to announce that we’ve signed an amazing deal with Microsoft to solely develop a Mixer-exclusive game! That’s a one in a million chance for a small, anonymous developer like ourselves, hence I’m extremely happy that the whole thing is seeing such an amazing ending.

The agreement was one of the reasons we’ve decided to attend E3 this year, which is not THAT obvious decision, as many players might think. I mean, look at E3 in the last couple of years: the organizers had to let players in, to be able to survive financially as more and more companies decide to simply skip E3 and prefer to focus on Tokyo Game Show, Gamescom, Game Connections (Europe including Paris Games Week), even PAXes and Nordic and China Joy (ESPECIALLY China Joy!) – all of these seem more reasonable choices, not only when it comes to making business, but showing your games to the public (well, except Game Connections – they are terrible at showing games to the public…) Anyway, you know, you need a REALLY good reason to go to E3 right now and we had three good reasons:

  1. Closing the Mixer deal
  2. Discussing potential cooperation with some publishers interested in signing our new game Ritual
  3. Meeting with fellow developers and platform holders to discuss the current state and the future of our industry

Numbers 1. and 2. were technical meetings, probably would be considered boring by most of you, plus I can’t give you any details  But the third one might seem interesting. Why? Because gaming is going through a truly REVOLUTIONARY era, hell yeah! 

Just take a good look at Steam – it’s more and more similar to Google Play and AppStore at their worse. Last year almost 8000 games launched on Steam, more than 50% of sales revenues have been grabbed by top 100 titles and an average price of an indie title = $/€2.99… What does Valve do? Opens the Steam door even wider to everyone. Why this particular situation is not going to change and it will eventually get even worse? Because Steam’s income is growing year-by-year and it’s not considered a problem by players, who have a truly huge choice of titles for low prices and a great sale after sale after sale… And believe me when I’m saying that. I attend these poshy briefings and micro-lunches and pointless roundtables from time to time.

So, it might be seen as a suicide for most, but it’s time to look for other ways than Steam to bring money home. BUT, it’s not all about diversification, moving out the other stores, trying to fill the 200-million-Steam-accounts gap (although, I’m really impressed by GOG’s attitude these days). Rather, it’s about realizing that we live in a very interesting era. An era of uncertainty about directions of industry development. Just take a good look: powerful companies invested billions of dollars into VR and there’s still no real global market when it comes both to VR hardware and software. Is it because it’s too early? Perhaps. Is it because of technological disadvantages still out there? Probably. Is it because major publishers are still waiting for the market to emerge? Definitely. Still, too much money is involved to simply judge that’s a blind path. AR seems very promising, but still at its infancy and no one knows, when (or rather if) the toddler becomes an adult. Alexa? Sure! Amazon has a lot of bucks to spend, but for some reason there are not too many companies ready to pick it up. Will it change? Hopefully, but that’s all we can say right now. Developing streaming platforms exclusives, especially for Mixer? We took our chance, because we believe that our game loop is a blast for sure, but will it really develop into something REALLY BIG? Damn, I believe it will, but you know what? We (as industry) already been there with Kinect and Move and the first generation of VR and not-games and dancing games and even old-school FMVs. And unfortunately, despite all the pros and prospects all of them didn’t perform as we all wanted them to.

So, we’re living in very interesting times. And although all of it might seem pretty scary to many business developers around (and I entirely got that), it’s also super exciting  Is it enough to start a worldwide discussion? Well, it’s already happening folks, so you might just as well join and share your thoughts 

Also, traditionally, I’m happy to share some random, totally irrelevant motivational quote, because my Facebook tells me that we should all follow them. So, I’ve got something really inspirational:

„With the right kind of coaching and determination you can accomplish anything.” Thank you, Reese Witherspoon!

That’s all for today, but I’m just getting started, ya’all 

Best,

Jacek

🙂


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