The Business of Video Games & The Software Development Processby calbert anderson on 08/03/16
Software development can be somewhat of an ambiguous process at times. From coordinating developer activity, planning, to just keeping everyone on point with the overall objective. Add in trying to construct a complex product such as a football video game further complicates the process. This is why when I see people make what appear to be uniformed outlandish comments it really takes me a back.
Some of these individuals are much too young to remember Madden’s original state when it released (go do your research). They are the “I want it now” generation. Who believes that you can just sprinkle fairy dust on something and Viola! You have a football game!
Well, I wish it were that simple. However, unfortunately, it’s not because as the cliché’ saying goes… if it were that easy everybody would be doing it. That is much the case with what we are building. We are not just building a football video game, we are building a culture. We are building history! And when you are trying to do something few will take on, the critics are bound to come out in droves to persecute and ridicule you for trying to enforce change.
These are the same individuals that say they want change but do not support it so they scream from the rafters to the big developers like 2k to swoop in and save the day. What these individuals fail to realize is that gaming is in fact a business. And a big business at that! No different than oil, TV, the stock market etc. Businesses, especially large ones, make decisions based on Return on Investment (ROI) not the emotions of others.
This is exactly why Madden will most likely never be the game some of you sim gamers want it to be. Because if it were, EA would lose a great deal of their base sales and market share, which doesn’t make their Board of Directors or their investors very happy.
So basically, this is a much bigger issue than just creating some complex AI and sim football. It’s a business!
Where we differ is we are playing to a much smaller audience and have no allegiances to a Board of Directors or investors. This provides us with the flexibility to alter our marketing strategies as well as our game content on the fly…in real-time! Without repercussions!
Large companies are accountable to so many individuals everything must go through a lengthy approval process in order to make the minutest of moves. This is why I state over and over with conviction, that indie developers are the best hope for bringing sim football to those who want it. However, the more you continue to support the big developers with your dollars the more you will keep getting the product you’re getting. Because at the end of the day, if you keep fattening the cat, what incentive does he/she have to change?