Archive for February, 2008

Mainstream games that I played in 2007

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

I didn’t play many mainstream (“AAA” PC, Console and Handheld) games in 2007 but I played tons of casual games as “research”. However, the games that I did play were very good because I choose them carefully based on reviews.

I’ve written a summary of the ones I played over on www.binaryjoy.co.uk. I hope that you enjoy it.

I’ll be writing more about the casual games I played last year soon, hopefully…

Passion Vs Profit Photos from Casuality 2008

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

Whilst I was at Casuality 2008 in Amsterdam I attended lots of great lectures. One was by Reflexive and Enkord and was called “Passion Vs Profit”, a topic which particularly interests me.

Basically it can be summed up simply as: do you make games that you really want to just for passion, or do you calculatingly make games just for profit? Or is there some kind of middle ground?

During the presentation, Reflexive and Enkord explained which of their games were made for passion and which were made for financial reasons (also some were made for both reasons). They showed this on a simple diagram where passion was on the left and financial was on the right. Then, very interestingly, they revealed whether those games were a financial success or not based on if they had made a profit or loss. This was shown in another diagram beneath the passion/financial one. I took photos of Reflexive’s and Enkord’s diagrams as follows (you may wish to click them to view the full-size images):

Reflexive

Reflexive

You can see that some of Reflexive’s games have indeed made a loss; in fact the worse losses were the games that they made purely for profit! One of their most passionate games, Ricochet Extreme has done extremely well, and interestingly so has Big Kahuna Reef, which they made for both passion and financial reasons (in fact they said that the team was led by James C. Smith who was very passionate about the title but they were sure it would also be a financial success. James really helped to motivate the whole team who just jumped straight to action and made what they felt to be a great game, and I guess that’s reflected in the great sales).

However, it should also be noted that two of the games they made for passion have barely broken even (Wik and Swarm). I also asked them about The Great Tree and they said that it was made for Passion AND Financial reasons and that it seems to be doing pretty well but they don’t have enough data yet to say how well (or they didn’t really want to tell me).

Enkord

Enkord

Enkord had a different story to tell (well sort of). Because costs are so low in the Ukraine, EVERY game they have made has made a profit – this amused me 🙂 (I thought it was cool). As a side note, all of my games have made a profit too (some much smaller than others). However a similar pattern is revealed to Reflexive’s – the games that they made for financial reasons only (trying to anticipate the market) have made the least profit, and the games they made for passion, Clash ‘n’ Slash and Emerald Tale, have done very well. Also a game they made for Passion AND Financial reasons, Jewel of Atlantis, has done very well too.

Conclusion

So it seems that when these companies have tried to anticipate the market and have made games purely for financial reasons, those games have not done very well (this may not be the case for all developers of course, especially those now making Hidden Object games). Games made for passion can be hit and miss but when they are a hit they do very well. Perhaps this is just due to the extra care and feeling the developers put into the game.

Also, where passion and financial has been combined so that the market has been studied and a game has been programmed to meet that demand AND the developers have really enjoyed making it, those games have done very well. Personally I think this is the best route and it’s one that I follow. I’ve enjoyed making my games a lot even though they were done for financial reasons also. I played Bejewelled a few years ago and thought it was a great game; I thought that I could improve on it and I had really good fun programming my match-3 clones. Furthermore, when I first played the online version of Fairway Solitaire I was instantly hooked and knew that I’d have a great time programming the downloadable version of the game. I put a lot of passion into that game and I think that it shows; and, bearing out my theory, the sales were great too.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my synopsis of this great lecture at Casuality. Thanks to Reflexive and Enkord too for a very informative presentation.

P.S. Yes, I’ve just installed the Photopress plugin for WordPress and I aim to have some more colourful and visually informative posts in the future 🙂

Blogging for Money

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Steve Pavlina (the self-help guru who used to be a game developer) has posted a great article on Blogging for Money.

It has an interesting section at the start about how Dexterity Software (his shareware company) basically made hardly any money for 5 years until he found out all about marketing and spent loads more time building up awareness of his latest game which did really well until he was making a five figure salary per month – cool!

The rest of the article deals with how to blog from an entrepreneurial point of view and is interesting reading. I personally blog for fun at the moment because my main job is game development, but I have monetised my site with Adsense – however the main type of visitors I get (developers) don’t bother to click ads 😉 haha.