We’re standing at the beginning of the time, which I would call a new “golden age” for the game developers. Many of you can remember the days when current videogame genres were just forming, when games were developed by those who love them for those who play them, when publishers weren’t afraid to invest in new ideas. It wasn’t very long ago, just about 15-20 years, but the gaming industry has changed very significantly. New technologies were developed, the audience became larger and more mature. Video game market has grown, and with it – risk management and a fair share of caution (which some call the “cowardice”) in the decisions of the major market players. Game development has become more expensive, and the games themselves became more expensive for consumers. The result is a dead end. Expensive games made with proven patterns without new ideas. The only way to compete between them – strengthening the “wow effect” with technology and amount of content. It leads to the further increase of the development price. But also, it frustrates the gamers.
Recently, many respected publications wrote that the game industry has come to a standstill. They note a decline in sales of games and gaming hardware, and conclude that the videogame industry is slowly dying. But they are wrong. Industry feels great. Only the old model of doing business is dying.
And right now we are seeing what can be called a search for a new model. The convergence of several factors made ??this possible:
- increased competition between platforms (chess game between PC and consoles faced an arrogant invasion of “checkers” in the face of iOS and Android);
- the emergence of technologies available to developers, allowing to make the modern game without vast investments in the development from scratch (if you would said to any professional game developer 10 years ago that the Unreal Engine can be used for a nominal fee of $100 and a percentage of the profits – you would have been ridiculed);
- and the growth of digital distribution services (some experts says that more than 50% of videogames on the PC is purchased using a digital distribution).
These three factors are the basis of the indie-games breakthrough, that we’re seeing now. This process is strongly supported by several large companies (eg, Valve and their project Greenlight
). The appearance of “fresh blood” in the form of indie games also benefits the the so called “big games”, showing publishers that new ideas can be worthy of some economic risks.
What will it lead to? Hard to say. As the story develops in a spiral, we can assume that this time will not last too long. The gaming industry will find a new “dominant model” (or several), and this model will determine how the game industry will look like in the next decade. And in this search, I see a great opportunity for the Open Source community to show themselves.
The technical level of open source libraries for game development is growing significantly every year. Not long ago, they evolved only thanks to commercial projects, decided to open it’s source code, but now you can see how open technologies are used in successful commercial games (Ogre3D
graphics engine used in a Torchlight series, Bullet
physics engine used in the famous GTA and Red Dead Redemption).
I think the Open Source community can make it even better. By going together with indie developers, by supporting the “big players” on the market, and perhaps even on it’s own.
If you look closely – there are many unoccupied niches. Would you like to develop the tools? Please – many good game engines are in need of a convenient tools. Are you dreaming of creating some new cool technology? The entire gaming industry’s dreaming about the procedural generation of high quality content. Maybe, you would like to make the simple but addictive game? The history has created a lot of ready-to-play mechanics for you. If interested, try to find a way to play online in the classic mahjong (meaning the game for 4 players, not solitaire) – neither online gaming sites, nor large online casinos can give you this opportunity (this is one of the reasons why we have decided to continue development of OGS Mahjong in this direction, we originally planned to discontinue the development of mahjong after finishing our work on version 1.0).
And these are just several examples. In fact, there are many more. So, what would you like to do?