Category Archives: Video games

This really is a Special Effect

It was June 2008 when I first met Mick Donegan. Mick had started a charity called SpecialEffect which had a very simple aim. To help disabled people play games and in so doing enhance their quality of life through play. There was a big official launch and at that event, Mick demonstrated eye control technology that allowed a severely disabled, quadriplegic England U21 Rugby player, Matt Hampson to use his eyes to move a cursor around a screen thus controlling a racing car around a track in a video game. It was quite literally amazing.

From that day, myself and Kirsty, decided that we simply had to help the small team at SpecialEffect and do what we could to get them support and awareness within the video games industry. We both became VPs of the charity and I was also honoured to be there when the Prime Minister, David Cameron opened the SpecialEffect’s fully accessible games centre, the first in the UK, and I even had to make a speech addressed to him, standing about three feet away!

And you know what? It has been relatively easy to help spread the word about the good that SpecialEffect do for disabled people over these last seven years. Seeing people become connected with their friends and siblings through play is just brilliant. And seeing the same people not being judged when they plan online with their friends is simply awe inspiring. SpecialEffect’s work, in one word, is transformational.

SpecialEffect never refuse to help anyone who has a need. Quite the reverse, they actively meet those needs, every single time, no exceptions. As the word gets out there, so the demands on SpecialEffect grow. In short saying no is simply not in SpecialEffect’s DNA.

With demand for their work rising exponentially as awareness goes viral, so SpecialEffect needs to increase its capacity to respond. This takes time, resources and of course, it takes money. Add this to the care, kindness and love that SpecialEffect show all those they help, and you can see why SpecialEffect is truly special for all of us in the games industry.

Without going all Bob Geldof on you, we do need more support, yes that comes in many ways, but money helps. So please, don’t forget that every penny and cent counts. Spread the word, offer your time and above all do what you can to help SpecialEffect this very special charity. And yes, if you are a GamesAid member, please consider voting for them in the annual GamesAid charity vote which opens at noon on Monday, 7th September until noon, Monday 14th September 2015. You can join GamesAid and get your vote here

This video sums it all up really,

and if you want to donate cash, please dig deep hereHelp Special Effect

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Tell me why….

Another rare day working from the relative peace of home. Sometimes it just gets a bit meh though. Mondays can be good or bad. Today was neither. With one week left before I take a short break, followed by a business trip to the Middle East, I had a ton to do. And as usual an incoming came in and needed dealing with. That involved an hour long conversation, trying to persuade and enlighten a very dear work colleague of the benefits of something important we are all bound into. I think it worked, but time will be my judge. And of course, that achievement simply lined up a load more tasks off the back off it, none of which were on the to do list at 8am when I started my day. A short visit to a more local dentist was a relief in so many ways!

More on the slate for GamesAid getting ready for the Trustees meeting this week, followed by some BAFTA Children’s Jury prep including going through all the games to be judged meant the day job needed to be done either side of the England football match. A ton of follow up to investor meetings has started and now we need to start closing down the options and prospects. A shareholder communication and meeting with the landlord of our building in Huntingdon also all needed follow up. And there was more work on behalf of ‘From Bedrooms to Billions’.

Today, Tuesday is set to be a very busy day in London. That to do list needs to get shorter, that’s for sure!

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Good Friday

I thought it would be handy to try and record, briefly, some of the work I do, given all of the events of the last few months.Well what a day. Again. A rare ‘working from home day’ kicked off with an early morning visit to the doctors. That was to have a blood test. In 10 days time I will know what is right or wrong with me. Meantime I have a ‘to do ‘ list as long as my arm and an inbox which runs to about 1500m long. As always, you prioritise in your head. Then the world comes online and all hell breaks loose.

First up, I had to confirm what we are going to do at EGX in London in September, given the turbulence of recent months, all plans had been on hold. We decided to show Dream from Hypersloth and Tango Fiesta from Spilt Milk, both games which will have a full release this year and ensure we got the PC gamers attending the show to know we were there. The dev teams are awesome and up for working the four grueling days which is a tribute to their commitment and passion.

We had more deals and promotions to consider for Train Fever, which launched on Steam yesterday and now is wanted by other digital platforms. That game has done well for Gambitious (the rev share games specialist crowdfunding platform) and Urban Games (the developer) and is the culmination of 18 months of hard work and effort. Alongside all of this, over at AppyNation we are getting closer to the launch of our free to play game, Dr Quizington which will launch in a couple of weeks and there were assets to sign off and launch plans to make.

I also spent some of the day on Skype with Anthony and Nicola Caulfield, from Gracious Films, the makers of the hotly anticipated, ‘From Bedrooms to Billions’. There’s some exciting stuff coming down the line, and everyone is pleased that both screenings at EGX are sold out, within 48 hours of going on sale.

Finally, I spent a fair bit of the day helping out with the GamesAid voting campaign, and planning the cheque presentation ceremony on the 25th of September. There is loads more to do, which is always out of hours so to speak, so the weekend will be needed to get myself up to speed.

I even had time for a cup of tea and a read of this week’s MCV. It was nice to see Martyn Gibbs CEO of GAME Digital referencing the trial that Just Flight ran for their GAME Wallet recently. Our tech team worked hard to make that happen, another project which is breaking new ground. Tomorrow is Saturday and I am hoping to get a bit of the to do list knocked off. And confirm flights to the Middle East.

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Video Games and Art

Here’s a speech I gave at London’s City Hall on Thursday 25th October 2012, during the London Games  Festival http://www.londongamesart.com .  It was about why I thought games and interactive entertainment were a key part of the growth in tech based business, what part they could play in the UK’s economic growth and importantly what the Mayor and the Government could do to kick start the much needed economic and social growth we need right now.

That night the assembled guests marveled at the fantastic examples of video game art hanging on the walls of City Hall. Now, anyone can buy these wonderful pieces in an exclusive auction running right now. The great thing is that EVERY SINGLE PENNY raised will go to the wonderful video games charity, SpecialEffect. You can see what’s on sale here http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/specialeffect2012/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p3686

I would like to thank the Mayor and deputy of Mayor London for allowing the video games industry such a prestigious space to show some of our most creative visual art to the public. I would also like to thank Kirsty Payne, Nadia Lawlor and Adam Cooper who have worked tirelessly to bring these wonderful creations to you.  This exhibition showcases games that are now part of our culture from Mario to Sackboy to Sonic and beyond. This is a first for London and a first for the video games industry and shows that London can and will continue set the pace within the digitally connected global economy.

London’s games sector is part of a national success story that contributes over £3bn to the UK economy a number which is set to rise and rise in the coming years.

London is the home to gold standard business success stories such as Mind Candy, with their 60 million registered players, Rocksteady Studios, creators of BAFTA winning Batman Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, Sports Interactive creators of BAFTA winning Football Manager, Splash Damage and Mediatonic whose games have been played by over 300 million people. Add to this the vibrant indie PC mobile and social games and App developers based in London such as, AppyNation, Future Games of London, We are Interactive, Ustwo, Hoopla, Honey Slug, Hotgen, Hand Circus, Playmob, Preloaded and many more.

 Alongside the games developers we also have a vibrant publishing and technology scene which is growing all the time. Sega, Square Enix, Capcom, Namco Bandai, Microsoft Studios, Konami, GREE, Sony Computer Entertainment, Mastertronic and many more  have their European headquarters here, along with household technology names like Facebook, Twitter and Google. Of course The UK Association for Interactive Entertainment, who have worked tirelessly on behalf of the whole industry to put this wonderful exhibition together, are also based right here in London. All of these companies employ thousands of skilled designers, marketeers, finance, legal and logistics professionals. London employs 24% of all UK jobs in computing and related activities.

An historic world trading centre, London is sat bang in between mainland Europe, Asia and the Americas. Historically, we used our technical prowess and innovation combined with our spirit of endeavour to build our great businesses and institutions. The old River Thames and the Oceans which were the arteries of trade, have now been complemented by the thing we call the Internet. Our ships and sailors have been replaced by our agile tech companies skippered by intrepid digital entrepreneurs. We are in a new Golden Age and the stakes are high.  London continues to lead the way in digital trade and exchange of ideas with an evolving culture fostered through a spirit of collaboration and disruptive  business models.

 In short London is at the epicentre of this digital world economy culture. But we are in a global race, and some may even say that this country is at economic war, either way the stakes are the highest they can be.

The UK and London have some of the most creative and innovative hi-tech businesses around.  We are growing and a success story but could grow faster and employ more Londoners if we could solve our talent shortages.

Simply put, we don’t train enough people, early enough in their education, in the right things – chiefly computer programming – and we need to address this.   

The Mayor’s Education Inquiry recognised the challenge for London set out by Next Gen Skills’ evidence. 

In 2011 there were just 382 A level computing and computer studies entries across London out of 98,027 entries in all subjects – 0.4% of all A-levels taken in the city.  We know that this is down to poor curriculum, low numbers of schools offering the subject, low numbers of qualified teachers and poorly articulated career horizons.

The Ukie-backed Next Gen Skills campaign was launched last year to solve skills shortages not just in the video games industry, but across digital creative and hi-tech businesses.

Since then the Government has committed to reforming the outdated ICT course students study at GCSE and create space in the curriculum for Computer Science to be taught in our schools. 

On 19 October the Government has also made clear its support for Computer Science teachers, by providing £20,000 bursaries  akin to Physics teachers to attract bright new talent.

This is welcomed – at the moment 2/3 of ICT teachers in London are not qualified to teacher even the outgoing ICT curriculum. 

Now we need a new strategic look across London’s 32 Boroughs at the quality of our provision and the quality of our teaching.

We believe the Mayor could play a major role in improving partnerships between business, universities and schools for the study of STEM subjects, and promote effective routes into STEM-related professions like ours.

So we have challenges, of course we do. All new and innovative industries will have these, but we know what we have to do and if we are in any doubt about the power of games, just draw on the inspiration around here  at City Hall. The video games and Interactive Entertainment is the new rock ‘n’ roll and the movies rolled up in one. Our games, our play and our communities will shape and define our culture and create our wealth.

Enjoy these wonderful images.

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GamesAid gets pretty vocal

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It was back in April at the MCV Awards  that Ian Chambers mentioned to Ian Livingstone and I that he had the idea of assembling a choir and performing a live concert, in front of real people, entirely made up of people from the games industry. Without really thinking it through, Ian and I said we were in and it would not be a problem to get 25 fellow games industry people together. To make things even ‘better’ we would do it as a fund raiser for GamesAid and set a target to raise £10,000 and a load of awareness to boot.

Then it dawned on me. It’s not often that one really does take oneself out of one’s comfort zone. [Or indeed refer to yourself as ‘one’ Ed ].  Yes we all talk about it and some of us do it, but usually we know that we can and will achieve the goal. But this choir lark means some of us i.e. me, were truly going to a new place.

So on the 19th of September this year, a few souls from the games industry assembled at the wonderful Neville Mariner rehearsal room deep in the crypt area of St Martin’s, just off Trafalgar Square in central London on the start of our journey. Could we be blended into a functioning choir?

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Ian was very clear from the start. We needed to both believe we could do it and enjoy the experience. If we did that, then the hard work or the ‘note crunching‘ would become secondary and thus easier.

It turned out that we did have some ‘form’ in the gathering. Rich Keen, Becca Roberts, Harry Holmwood, Ombelline Wallon, Katie Brooks and Rob Cooper all have great voices. Ian of course is an accomplished musician and singer, although as a choir we would not have the benefit of his Alto on the night!

The overriding lessons of the early sessions were geared around the act of breathing which is vital, obviously. I was struck by just how hard this can be and how exhausting one is after just one number! We were told to stand up straight and put our weight on our toes. Look forward, head up and smile. We did as we were told. We always do.

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The curve ball outside of all the physical effort and technique needed is that the songs are not always as I remembered them as a kid. Because many of them are different ‘arrangements’ we are effectively learning new songs. Without giving the game away too much, harmonies can lead us all into temptation. Temptation to sing the versions or arrangements we all know and have come to love. Unlearning can be as hard as learning especially after all these years!

Despite all of this, Ian has managed to drill us into a semblance of a harmonised unit. The 2 months have flown by, we have had 6 rehearsals which have all been well attended, given everyone is always mega busy, it’s a tribute to the dedication of the choir members (I am loathe to use choristers just yet) that we have come so far. But with less than a month to go now, we have to up our game. A lot.

So more single practice at home, in the shower or walking along the street, more rehearsals and more belief are needed. As our choir master keeps telling us there is no substitute for the hard hours we all need to put in to make sure we deliver on the night of the 19th of December.

The venue is booked, and it is stunning the wonderful St Stephen’s in Rosslyn Hil, London, NW3.

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We have even got  the mince pies, mulled wine, film crew, sheet music, venue, ticketing all sponsored by the wonderful people at EA, IGN, Sega, Indigo Pearl, Ubisoft, OnLive, Mastertronic and Fink Creative.

If you would like to come along and lend your support on the night, sing along, enjoy the festive fancies and support the wonderful charity that is GamesAid www.gamesaid.org then you can buy at ticket at http://www.justgiving.com/christmasconcert .

Every single penny of your entrance fee goes to GamesAid. It’s only £20 for adults and only a tenner £10 for under-16s. 6.45pm on Thursday 19th December 2012, mark your diary now.

Have yourselves a Merry Little Christmas!

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oneaday#52: The day I asked the Prime Minister for computer science

I should have written this up at the time, I drafted it, half finished, half dusty.

Having just read Eric Schmidt’s MacTaggart lecture from the Edinburgh Festival today, it took me back to a brisk winter morning in Oxfordshire. It was Thursday 1oth March 2011. It turned out that this was a very special day for Kirsty and I. We had been invited to the opening of the UK’s first National Accessible Games Centre in Charlbury, and I was to address the Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron no less. On the way to the opening, our hearts sank, when we heard on Radio 4 that ‘Prime Minister Cameron was on his way to Brussels to meet feillow European leaders to discuss the escalations of civil unrest in Libya’.

‘That’s us done for then Kirst’ I said, ‘the PM won’t be coming to Charlbury today to open the centre’

‘Yes, what a shame’ said Kirsty, ‘still let’s make the best of it after all Matt Hampson is guest of honour and it is a big day for SpecialEffect (the charity that had built the centre)

So we carried on and I was less nervous about my speech, given I knew Matt and the SpecialEffect team.

However, when we got to the National Accessible Games Centre, it was crawling with all sorts of men in black, complete with ear pieces and military style gaits. The word from our hosts was that Mr Cameron was coming after all. He duly arrived and I made the following speech in a small room pretty much one to one, we were literally 3 feet from each other.

I am extremely proud and honoured to be asked to say a few words on this momentous occasion on behalf of the UK video games industry. I am thrilled that SpecialEffect are opening the National Accessible Games Centre here in Charlbury and is a tribute to the hard work put in by the whole of the SpecialEffect team.

This Centre is the first of it’s kind in the UK and we believe in the world and it is a real landmark not only for this wonderful charity, but for the video games industry in general.

The video games industry prides itself on providing true interactive entertainment. But it was only when this very special charity reached out to our industry, the multinational corporations and the smaller businesses, when they nudged us if you like, that we realised that that we could do so much more and make our games truly accessible to those
people with disabilities.

We feel that video games and interactive entertainment products offer a unique opportunity to level the playing field so to speak, to allow all people with or without disabilities to compete, play and enjoy games with each another. We are in an unique position as an entertainment industry and through interaction with initiatives such as SpecialEffect we can
truly start to ensure that we make games that are inclusive.

Our industry charity, GamesAid of which I am chairman, has been massively impressed by their work. So much so that for two years running the members of GamesAid have voted to support SpecialEffect.

Indeed the highlight of the UK’s premier consumer games show, the Eurogamer Expo last September in London was not Assassins Creed Brotherhood, Dance Central or Gears of War 3, it was the work that SpecialEffect showed wowing media and gamers alike. SpecialEffect certainly left a massive impression with their amazing Eye Control technology allowing everyone to play Need for Speed with nothing more than their eyes.

I would also like to say a few words about the synergies between the UK games development industry and SpecialEffect as these
are important to us all.

Driven by a technical expertise, fuelled by passion and commitment and often against all the odds and without a book of rules to follow, the UK has produced some of the greatest video games ever produced. From Elite to Grand Theft Auto to Fable to Little Big Planet, the UK has shown a propensity for technical innovation and awesome gameplay. In short we have punched above our weight on the world wide stage and our UK games developers have contributed and will continue to contribute significantly to the creative industries sector.

In the same way, SpecialEffect led by Dr Mick Donegan and his wonderful team have showed exactly the same approach to their cause. They are doing amazing work, writing the rules as they go, innovating and pioneering along the way. They have showed true leadership and are a massive asset to UKPLC.

Today is the day that SpecialEffect have taken an important step on the road to building this very special place – it really is a little big accessible games centre, built for games and above all open to everyone.

The Prime Minister gave his response, which was straight off the bat, without notes and highly impressive. There were some pictures and then we were instructed to move outside for more pictures. At this point Mr Cameron asked if the industry was getting behind SpecialEffect, and ‘are there any stragglers that I need to help along?’. I said that the industry had got behind the initiative and support was forthcoming and from multiple sources.

He then asked me if there was one thing he could take back to his Government to make a difference to the computer and video games industry. I paused, thought about it, and then said ‘yes, as a matter of fact there is one crucial message you could take back to your Government. Please ask Mr Gove to consider putting computer science back on the National Curriculum’. I referenced the recently published Livingstone Hope Report on skills for the computer and video games and VFX industries, commissioned by Ed Vaizey at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and that it had called for 20 recommendations, the
first of which was to put computer science back on the map. Mr Cameron asked why we should do this. I couched it in simple terms.

‘Prime Minister, we are very creative nation and the creative industries are an example of where we are winners. We have an amazing music, TV, film, and games industries and are
respected the world over. One of the many reasons for this is that we own the English language and it gives us and other English speaking peoples a unique advantage. It is almost a code which allowed us to create art and entertainment relevant to the 20th century. But now in the 21st century, we are all touched and influenced by technology beyond our wildest expectations. Technology requires a different language – the language of computer code if you will. If we do not equip our children to both read and write code, then they will only
ever be consumers of that technology, not inventors. Our culture and economy will be threatened and we will lose
.’

‘But we teach IT in schools’ said the PM.

‘Yes, but that teaches children how to use Word, Excel and Powerpoint. It does not teach them how to design, develop and build those products. Think of it as the equivalent of being only
able to read and not be able to write. Communication is one way and we have no ability to express ourselves culturally and thus economically’
.

‘I see, that is interesting. In fact it reminds me of the Baltic Conference I attended recently. There was much talk of the big technology companies eyeing Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia as possible sites for expansion. I was told all of these countries have skilled technicians and education standards in the science , technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are high. ‘ said the PM.

‘Yes Prime Minister, they all have a greater command of the new languages, the code, than we do.’

Our conversation ended and we had a series of pictures for the media and guests , before the Prime Minister left in a car, headed for an aircraft to take him to the important European summit on Libya. But before he left, I shook his hand, tapped my nose and said ‘Prime Minister, don’t forget it’s all about the code’.

Mr Cameron looked me in the eye, tapped his nose and said ‘yes, it is all about the code’.

And so to today, Eric Schmidt chairman of one of the world’s greatest technology companies, Google, spoke at the Edinburgh Festival about many things – but the line that did it for me was that the country that
invented the computer was “throwing away your great computer heritage” by failing to teach programming in schools. “I was flabbergasted to learn that today computer science isn’t even
taught as standard in UK schools,”
Schmidt said. “Your IT curriculum focuses on teaching how to use software, but gives no insight into how it’s made.”

Let’s hope our leaders listen up and take some action. If we don’t, then Britain may not have talent for too much longer.

Full articles on Eric Schmidt’s speech can be found at www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/aug/26/eric-schmidt-chairman-google-education#start-of-comments

and

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14683133

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#oneaday 36: Small is beautiful

I wrote this in December 2009…..I still think we are in amazing times, no matter what the President of Nintendo says 😉

I consider myself lucky enough to be born in the 1960’s, at school in the 1970’s and started my career (or job as we used to call it) in the 1980’s. I lived through two great British phenomena, Punk and Home Computer Games, although both had their parallel roots in the USA.

Rock ‘n’ Roll was the original disruptive modern youth movement, landing in a cold, paranoid and austere post World War 2 world and it ignited the power and the profit potential of recorded music sales. The music business rose up to rival the film business and by the mid seventies was spawning the much derided, but often purchased and sometimes enjoyed, concept album. Punk smashed that model up in 1976 and brought Low-Fi, DIY music to the ‘blank’ generation. It was an antidote to the excess of the seventies.  The DIY mentality of punk and the emergence of the synthesiser brought us electronic music, and with it a fascination with newly emerging home computers. Suddenly boys had options. Not everyone wanted to make their own music and wear their own fashion indeed the feelings of isolation often manifested themselves in boys taking to their bedrooms and spending hours and hours with their new fangled  home computers,  whether it be the Sinclair ZX81 or BBC Micro, getting off on making sprites ‘move’ on screen.

As these machines started to become popular, so demand for games started to rise and in the early eighties, these home computers, complete  with their cassette tape players and portable televisions spawned the beginnings of the games industry as we know it today. Games were obviously simple, but they were also cheap to buy and had what has now become known as ‘mass market appeal’.  They took their lead from the games hosted on coin op arcade machines, and every boy’s dream of an arcade in their bedroom looked like becoming a reality. The barriers to entry were modest and anyone capable of programming in BASIC could make their very own game. Soon companies who specialised in packaging, marketing, financing and selling the games started to appear and shops such as WH Smith and Boots (the chemists!) sold classics such as Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy by the thousand.  Hardware companies flocked to the festival of creativity, Apple and Commodore being two of the prominent players from the US to put their ten gallon hats in the ring. Down the line Nintendo, Sega, Sony and Microsoft all entered the home hardware fray and the rest as they say is history.

Fast forward to 2008 and the launch of the Apple’s App Store as an update to the digital distribution genre defining  iTunes.   With the worldwide sales of packaged recorded music sales falling like a Led Zeppelin, the music industry has seen the threat and opportunity of online distribution and most of that with Apple and iTunes.  Traditional sales of CDs have been replaced by digital delivery and storage of music, whether paid for by the consumer, given free by the owner or simply ‘shared’ by consumers without payment.  Artists have been able to connect to their audiences through the internet and no longer have to rely on promoters or radio networks to get voice. Apple have given consumers the power to buy lifestyle applications, including games, quickly and simply which can enhance their iPhone or their iTouch further.  They have also made the barrier to entry lower for creatives and consumers. Add in the phenomenon of ‘social networking’ and the places where people network socially, and you have browser based games that are compelling, free or cheap to play and above all entertaining. And this surely is the key. The applications (whether games or otherwise) are both entertaining and innovative. The successful ones are above all, addictive and profitable to their makers.

So, are what we still refer to as ‘next-gen’ games (perhaps we should rename them now-gen) the equivalent of the ‘70’s concept album? Has the games business become over bloated and inefficient, serving only derivative and ‘safe’ subject matter? Do the games take too long to make and cost too much money to sell?  Has the chain between creative and consumer become too long, defocused  and ultimately irrelevant to the consumer?  Indeed is there a parallel universe where new ’can do’  game makers exist without the knowledge, experience and safety first approach of the ‘traditional’ games industry?  Have we become tired by the old models? The model whereby developers are encouraged against taking risk, where the brief is to make a product that is a little bit like Grand Theft Auto, has the shock factor of Modern Warfare 2, is an online experience similar to World of Warcraft and the family appeal of Mario Kart? Last year it was all pink pony games on DS and look where that ended up, this year it is hidden object and puzzle games, what will it be next year?

Even if you do actually manage to develop the game of your dreams, you then have to put up with all the usual rubbish from publishers and the rest. Deductions, marketing initiatives, inflated budgets, ‘you need a minimum of two hundred and fifty grand to get meaningful and ‘seen’ TV ads’ retail is a nightmare’ and so on.  Then specialist retailers will join the party and tell you that ‘the supermarkets and online are killing their traditional business’ and those same supermarkets will point out that it is a ‘competitive market place and our customers come first for price and value’.  The online retailers cite ‘catalogue, choice and value’ but get accused of ‘exploiting tax loopholes, shipping early and giving no customer service’ by their rivals. The same old sales people sell to the same old buying contacts and the same old anecdotes get trotted out, day in day out. ‘Unless you spend thousands on in store marketing and offer full sale or return, no product can be a retail success’. Meanwhile the consumer gets choice and above all, with packaged goods, can trade these in, or simply take them back for full refund, just like they have always done.  Sounds like chaos? Sounds like the business model is badly flawed? Sounds to me like it is.

So consider a world whereby the investment required to make compelling games is perhaps measured in the hundreds of thousands of Pounds/Euros/Dollars and not in the millions. Maybe original ideas gain ground over derivative ‘me too’ products. One where console manufacturers don’t control the manufacturing supply chain and charge inordinate amounts for packaged goods? A world less controlled by multi nationals and more influenced by connected consumers.  People playing games with each other over the internet, 24/7.  People able to build, market and trade their own wares to like minded individuals. That world is here and it is full of very small and nimble footed companies. Being mid-sized is no longer an option, be specialist and make it your business to seek out as many like minded people as you can find and trade with them as best you can.

 The key of course is gaining commercially for what you make or the service you provide. In a world where Britain was known for innovation and trade we have had latter success in making compelling entertainment.  Next to the US, we are the best in the world and everyone wants our products. Making quirky, innovative, entertaining and commercially viable entertainment is in our DNA, think music, TV, film, literature and computer and video games. All we need to do is remember the spirit of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when our manufacturing industries were on their last legs, when workers were tied to one factory or office and creativity had to fight to get noticed.  In this technology enhanced, digitally connected world, co-operation across geographical, religious and cultural borders is normal and there has never been a better time to be an individual and a consumer, creative or otherwise. Small is beautiful.

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