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Archive for the ‘Company’ Category

What is a game worth?

How much is any given game worth?  It’s an interesting question as a developer.

Someone in marketing obviously worked out the RRP.  They based it on other games of the same genre, the hype surrounding it, how much of it is new and how much was borrowed from another game.  They must have chosen between £45 and £50 for the Xbox 360 version, setting a higher price for the special-edition version with exclusive DLC and a life-sized replica of a dead frog.

So how much is the game worth?  The answer may seem controversial, but I think it is simple…

Any game is worth only what the buyer / player is willing to pay for it, even if they happen to be a pirate.

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I just got back yesterday from the Develop conference in Brighton, where I attended (but didn’t speak at) the Indie track.  I had intended to do a video blog, but you really don’t need to see my tired, ugly mug after five days without a decent night’s sleep.

As expected, we seem to be doing both better and worse than the hypothetical ‘average studio’ – I got talking to a lot of people who had some ideas about the directions the industry is moving in and saw a lot of the mistakes we were making as a developer – but the perspective was useful for working out how to keep doing what we are doing right and stop doing what might not be working so well.

Interestingly, there were one or two points raised by players about Facebook games; these might need to be addressed at some point.  There was also a lot of talk about iPhone and iPad, but I think we’ll be letting another company handle the porting of any games which might end up on iOS formats.

Now, if you will excuse me, I think I will track down a cup of coffee and begin the difficult road back to full productivity…

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The plan for Freya’s Aett is moderately long-term, hopefully including the founding of a full limited-liability company with employees, but it starts out with a solo developer sitting in an office.  Here’s how it might go, but you never know…

  • Start with a brand or name (in this case, Freya’s Aett)
  • Create a plan (this is an overview of that plan; the real one is much more in-depth)
  • Create a design
  • Prove the concept
  • Pitch the project
  • Fulfil the whims of any potential publishers or investors (such as making a video or playable demo)
  • Get funding for the project
  • Get protection from liability (go to companies house, found a limited liability company or partnership)
  • Get some staff
  • Get paid by the new company
  • Prosper

Some of those stages can be shifted around (normally, you get the staff before you pitch; ‘needs must…’ as they say though), but the general plan is probably sound.  Once I have a design (scheduled for Tuesday, as it happens), I will probably start the ‘get funding’ phase going even as I work on the proof of concept; some individuals need more time or want some space to consider your proposal before accepting any formal pitch.

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Freya’s Aett is currently a solo project, with a little help from friends.

After nearly four years working in the videogame industry for other people, I was made redundant during the ‘credit-crunch’ that had been plaguing most industries.  I lasted a little longer than some, but my employer had taken some serious financial hits in the previous year and it was either redundancies or bankruptcy; it’s not like I can fault their decision.

I suppose I could have moped, maybe flirted with industrial tribunals and unfair dismissal, but I decided to move on instead.  I started networking, started looking for freelance work, but I also started work on a new project.

With a little help from my wife, I named it Freya’s Aett after my daughter and the 8 Norse runes of creation and beginnings.

We are currently doing preproduction work on the first iteration of our début game, but more of that later…

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