Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A New Game Development Model

If only sales rose as fast as game development costs.
Electronic game development has undergone many changes over the years since the early years when a lone programmer could create a game, put it in a zip-lock bag and bring it to a store to sell. The lone programmer became a team that sometimes can be over a hundred people, and budgets are routinely in the tens of millions and occasionally go over $100 million... and that's before you count marketing costs, and the cost of manufacturing and shipping out games.

Now we've come full circle, in a way, and once again a lone person can create a game for a computer, or a smartphone, or even a console. The huge up-front costs of distribution have largely disappeared, and the need for a dedicated sales force has too. Sure, many games are still done that way... but there have been a lot of new games being created by individuals and small teams for all platforms, and some have seen big successes.

Which is perhaps why a long-time industry veteran, Peter Oliphant, is proposing a new way to structure a company to produce games. He's trying to put the focus on the creators of the game, not on the company. It's a fascinating concept (based on how the movie and comics business structure projects), and worth your time if you're interested in developing games:


  1. Talk about full-circle. Emphasis on the creators is what the record industry does. Imagine games marketed like music. We could call the company "Electronic Artists", or shorten that to "Electronic Arts". :-)

  2. Yeah, brings back memories, doesn't it? :)

    That concept gradually faded away at EA, but perhaps the environment is right to try it again. Shared ownership may help matters...