Just do it: how to break into the video games industry


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Want to make a game? Go on then.
Five years ago, it was tough to get a game a market. Only the major publishers with relationships with retailers across the globe stood a chance.

Now things have changed. One person studios, two person teams and small groups are all making a living making games on a growing variety of platforms: iOS, Facebook, Steam, browsers, Unity, and more. It’s not easy, and there’s no guarantee of Minecraft-style success. But if you want to get into the games industry, you should start by making games. And who knows, you might be able to make a living from it sooner than you think.

I originally presented this at the public sessions at Edinburgh Interactive on 11th August 2011.

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Just do it: how to break into the video games industry

  1. 1. Nicholas Lovell<br />GAMESbrief<br />Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival<br />August 11th 2011<br />Breaking into the game industryJUST DO IT!<br />
  2. 2. Nicholas Lovell, GAMESbrief<br />Author, How to Publish a Game<br />Director, GAMESbrief<br />Clients include Atari, Channel 4, Channelflip, Firefly, IPC, nDreams, Rebellion and Square Enix<br />@nicholaslovell / @gamesbrief<br />
  3. 3. Subscribe to the blog<br />
  4. 4. Show offer: Get 80% off<br />Go to www.gamesbrief.com/store<br />Enter code EIEF80<br />Get How to Publish a GAME for 80% off:<br />Digital: £99£19.90<br />Physical: £149£29.90<br />Both: £149£29.90<br />
  5. 5. Why do You Want to get into games?<br />
  6. 6. I want to work in the games industry because:<br />It’s my major hobby<br />Games are cool<br />I want to make pots and pots of money<br />It’s better than becoming an accountant<br />It sounds like a laugh, just playing and making games all day<br />All my friends are doing it<br />I just want to make games. I’d do it for free if you didn’t pay me<br />
  7. 7. The future of the games industry<br />It’s in three parts*<br />* See http://www.gamesbrief.com/2010/10/the-future-of-the-games-industry-its-in-three-parts<br />
  8. 8. A disclaimer<br />This is what I believe<br />Not everyone agrees with me<br />Form your own view<br />
  9. 9. Part 1: the blockbuster<br />The big are getting bigger<br />Red Dead: 11m units<br />MW2: 15m units in first two months<br />MW: 14.4m units<br />Yet jobs are going:<br />5,464 gross games industry jobs lost in 2010<br />Disney, Activision Blizzard, THQ, Sony, Atari, Crytek – all have made cuts in 2011<br />There is room for, perhaps, 5-7 major publishers<br />
  10. 10. Part 2: the persistent world<br />Persistent worlds are “games as a service”<br />They are never “done”. The team never packs up and moves on<br />They launch with a smaller feature set; they are tweaked and iterated and adapted<br />They are TV, to the blockbuster’s film<br />
  11. 11. Part 3: the indie<br />These are not businesses that drive investors wild<br />These are about teams of 1-15 people, making a living making games<br />This wasn’t possible 5 years ago<br />Now it is + you might get lucky<br />
  12. 12. Which way is the industry going?<br />Games in boxes peaked in 2008<br />
  13. 13. YOUR future in the games industry<br />
  14. 14. “When we recruit, we have <br />three piles for CVs:<br /><ul><li>Not a chance
  15. 15. Interesting
  16. 16. People who have a link to a game”</li></li></ul><li>If you want to break into the games industry, make games<br />Platform?<br />Genre?<br />Team size?<br />Technology?<br />Discipline?<br />Success?<br />It doesn’t matter – you made a game<br />
  17. 17. Why does making a game matter?<br />Starting something is hard<br />Finishing it is much harder<br />There’s more to a game than a prototype<br />Challenges overcome:<br />Teams<br />QA<br />Publishing<br />Outsourcing<br />Fear<br />Making a game shows initiative and guts. If you don’t do it, don’t be surprised if breaking into the industry is tough<br />
  18. 18. YOUR future in the games industry<br />profitable<br />^<br />
  19. 19. How to make money from an indie game<br />To make a game:<br />It used to cost $10m <br />you needed a publisher<br />It used to require relationships with GAME <br />you needed a publisher<br />It used to involve a marketing budget as big as the dev cost<br />you needed a publisher<br />It used to require vans and men in brown overalls to deliver boxes to warehouses<br />you needed a publisher<br />Now you don’t need a publisher<br />
  20. 20. The sources of revenue<br />Direct<br />Indirect<br />Sell the product<br />Display advertising<br />Sponsorship<br />Subscriptions<br />Premium features<br />Offers and rewards<br />Virtual goods<br />Skill gaming<br />
  21. 21. Jobs a publisher did – and that you now need to do instead<br />Sales: Getting money from your customers, directly or indirectly<br />Marketing: Telling potential customers that your customers exist and making them want to buy it<br />Distribution:Getting code from your computer to your customers’ devices<br />Finance: How can you pay for all of this<br />
  22. 22. Conclusion<br />If you want a decent shot at getting a job in the games industry, you need to be making games now<br />If you are making games now, why not think about how to make money from them?<br />A finished game beats a prototype beats a portfolio of piece work beats a CV<br />A game that generated revenue is best of all<br />
  23. 23. Thank younicholas@gamesbrief.comFollow my blogwww.gamesbrief.comBuy my booksEIEF80 (until Friday 5pm)<br />