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What Happens To Old Game Developers?

Posted on Wednesday, March 2 @ 05:34:25 Eastern by


The smartass answer would be "They die." Of course, that would just be a mean post. Not that I'm entirely against that.

But the question of graceful aging is strangely unasked in a world dominated by the young. The majority of game developers are between 24 and 35, but what will that look like in 20 years? Every now and then, I think about whether I will be a games journalist/critic/what-do-I-do-exactly when the my 4DHDTV setup needs to be dusted and rearranged to make room for the PS6. Will I have retired by then to pursue more old-timer hobbies like fishing, classical music acoustics, or sunbathing in places I'm not supposed to?

Eddy Boxerman (or who I think was him since they jumbled up the order of presenters), an independent game developer who was turning 40, posed this question to the audience during a series of rapid-fire indie talks at GDC. (He gave the only talk that I found stimulating.) For game developers, I can already see Miyamoto-san and Will Wright and a few others as today's sagacious game dev masters who will continue to fulfill this role in the years to come. But what about the thousands of other game developers? Does reaching old age mean being a failure?

Other artforms like poetry, painting, or classical/jazz musicians favor the old (and sometimes the dead). But other artforms like hip-hop and graffiti favor the young. Which do video games follow? Is it genre-specific? Would it be still be awesome if Cliffy B came out on stage with a chainsaw laser gun when he's 56 or would it just be, err, inappropriate? As opposed to, say, Tim Schafer doing the same thing? I don't know.

I suspect that gaming's technical fields will remain dominated by the young, because technology becomes obsolete quickly, but in twenty years, I hope that the video game industry will have matured by then. And that we start making games for everyone, and not just for the 18-35 male demographic. Surely, playing those kinds of games will keep us young at heart, but it might also become uninteresting.

Either way, I don't think video games will ever leave my side. More than just a passion, it's my way of life. And I'll take that to my grave, whenever that may be.
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