Being a (pure evil) business developer #6: children of the revolution

My dear readers,

Last time I have discussed reasons to go to E3, taking under consideration its current state and form, boasted a super awesome, lucrative deal we at iFun4all have signed with Microsoft to solely develop a Mixer-exclusive title and wrote a little bit about new, interesting directions the indie industry is taking, because of Valve’s Steam policy of development and the fact that most of game makers and low-tier publishers are earning shit out of the most popular distribution platform on Earth. Indiepocalypse in yo face, developer!

So, as I mentioned in my last post, it’s time to move away (responsibly) from Steam and look for new opportunities, by taking advantage of the fact that the industry as a whole is working hard to open new paths that would eventually bring some serious revenues into companies. Let me please stop here and focus on enumerating certain new ways that you should probably consider if you’re a PC / console / mobile (Jesus Christ, Google, WTF!?) developer:

  1. New, better quality of interaction used by streaming platforms

Of course, it’s not new for streaming platforms to offer some sort of interaction to viewers. But Microsoft decided to go further here and build a plan of turning just another hub of streams into a digital gaming playground. Potentially millions of players are able not only to watch, subscribe and support their favorite streamers and influencers, but also actively participate in games, created specifically for Mixer and designed with Mixer-exclusive features at the back of developers’ heads. It’s very early to judge whether this investment will be successful, but the agenda for the platform development makes sense and Microsoft proves that they are very open when it comes to developers’ feedback. We’re being treated as equals, because Microsoft understands that they can only learn if they listen to people who are creative enough to find gazillion solutions to many problems, both of technological and business nature, typical for the age of infancy of every new technology. It’s not a typical developer – publisher relation, but the feeling of working together on something entirely new is very strong in here. And I’m writing this on behalf of the whole Mixer developer community – I met these guys, we’re talking every day and they’re awesome in how they want to share their experiences. Already there are many emerging companies, which offer services aimed at adding entirely new levels of interactions into Twitch, YouTube etc., and these solutions are based on, inter alia, answers we and other Mixer developers are figuring out every day. As a business developer I honestly consider as a fact that this particular entrepreneurship will become successful and that games dedicated to streaming platforms, with influencers being the most important marketing tools these days, will soon become a standard and new direction of the development of our industry. With Google and Facebook looking to enter the market soon it will only become more interesting and exciting!

  1. Alexa – an intriguing market that doesn’t exist (yet)

OK, Alexa is something that intrigues me. It’s great to talk to Amazon about their plans for the platform, and when you realize how much have changed since Alexa’s humble beginnings you can trust Amazon that they are really trying to open a new area here. Amazon doesn’t spare expenses when it comes to developing the scope of possibilities they want to give to developers, and yet, I’m sure that the majority of players have heard about Alexa for the first time during Bethesda’s press conference at E3 2018 when they saw the hilarious trailer (?) / ad / promo video (??) of Skyrim for Alexa. And obviously most of us thought it was just a joke. By the way, the idea really started as an April’s fool joke and only later it has turned into something serious. And guess what – you can actually play Skyrim for Alexa today! Together with around 25 other titles, some of them licensed and renowned, some original and pretty much anonymous. Nevertheless, still just a hint of a rumor of next-gen consoles is treated more seriously than an existing device that offers more features almost every day and with the support of a global giant. Why is that exactly? I guess that most of hardcore players treats games as a visual experience in first place, but hey! Do you know that Alexa offers visual support to its voice-controlled titles through utilizing Echo and companion app? Also, it touches very different areas of developer’s creativity, lets you learn a lot, become in good relations with one of the most important companies in the world, and, last but not least, earn some serious revenues even if you’re low on development budget. Plus, there’s almost no competition and, if you only try a little harder than usual, you can become a pioneer on a market that does not exist (yet), but might turn into something really serious soon enough.

  1. VR – where did all that money go?

I’ll be honest – I don’t believe in VR for gamers. I never believed in it and I’d like to say that I never will, but hey, as a business developer you can never be sure about what happens in couple of months from now. The fact is that many industry giants invested billions of bucks into a technology that, in its current state, is not suitable to offer entertainment. VR is perfect in education, medicine, research, teaching, military classes, tourism, but not in gaming. Putting aside locomotion sickness, resolution, frames-per-second and FOV issues, as well as the fact that you’re totally separated from your environment while playing and the device feels uncomfortable for most people, it simply reminds me of Kinect and PS Move (with this exception that you didn’t have to put something that stupid on your head). Generally speaking, “revolutionary gadgets” usually end up with other expensive garbage (remember PC dance mats anyone?) and the fact that some early adopters decided to buy all these cables and head gears doesn’t mean that there’s a market. And neither Sony, nor any other company could not do anything about it for the last couple of years. You know, you can love or hate EA, but the can smell the money. And if EA says that they’re going to wait for the VR market to emerge first, before the start any publishing activity in this areas, you gotta listen to EA. They know better, believe me!

  1. AR – chasing Pokemon in Minecraft

Ahh, that’s better! AR has the potential to become a real deal for us. I’m sure you all remember the breathtaking presentation of Minecraft at E3 2015 and ffs, it was AMAZING! But more than three years have passed and AR is used, well how exactly? And by whom? Pity… Nevertheless I tend to believe that AR could still become a blast in a not-that-far-future. Maybe for now you you can only chase Pokemon (iOS only! :P) and dream about more of Apple AR (sounds like pirate’s hiccup, don’t you think), but I personally see very interesting prospects just behind the corner. Maybe it’s naive and I’m completely wrong, but I just can’t stop believing (based on the knowledge I have and conclusions I drew from number of discussions at fairs and events).

I think these are the most interesting areas of possible expansion for studios looking for new (technologically) areas. But I’m sure that you might have a very different ideas and opinions regarding the short list above. Please share your thoughts via our Facebook page or Twitter channel. Can’t wait to learn more!

It’s become a tradition to share a motivational quote at the end of every post, so let’s not wait any longer. There it is, the magnificent quote for today is: “Failure builds character” – UNKNOWN (LOL LOL LOL) 😀