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Dear Publishers: Please Give Developers Some Space
Posted on Thursday, May 5 2011 @ 08:20:09 Eastern

In my past few posts I have laid a lot at the feet of the developers for improving their games, but I do not do so to be vindictive toward them. Taking into account the sheer amount of ambition that goes into developing games, I am fairly certain that most industry developers do wish to make improvements along the lines of what myself and other commentators badger on about, and certainly there are plenty of independent developers who do their best to create the best experiences they can with more limited resources. I think one of the major roadblocks that need to be dealt with is the publishers.

I am very much aware that video games are a business and need to operate through more industrial methods. The publishers hold the money and manage the budgets, and in the end it is their say in what gets made. They want a guarantee that they’ll get a good return on the games produced under their label. This is generally the source on why there is so much saturation in particular genres, which currently seems to be the First/Third person shooter genre.

As much as I understand why this the prevailing trend, it prevents development and innovation in terms of the overall game quality. I wish the independents developers could get more recognition for what they make and given more resources to work with, who do their best to innovate and develop their games.

In this case I think the best solution would come up as a compromise, if we want truly fresh games on the market. I think it should be a system of merit, rather than a restrictive field of “produce this game” for developers. A publisher would sponsor a handful rising independent developers, give them a limited budget to work with, but allow them pursue their own projects. They would then release the resulting games, and if one of the experimental titles proves to successful, raise the budget for that developer and encourage them to do top their previous milestone, while at the same time, the publisher would also be able to continue the sale of the current "cash crop" titles which are currently in high demand. This system would give new developers a better chance to show off their new game to larger audience, while the publisher has relatively little risk, and can continue to make money.

I am aware that this requires an awful lot of faith on the part of publishers to not act like complete pricks, but if something was done to put more spotlight on smaller and independent developers, I think that it would do wonders in enriching the market for video games.
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