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Of Three Types of Game Developers, Two Are Going Extinct

Greg Richardson | 18 Dec 2013 20:15
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They tend to understand the business model of free-to-play but do not necessarily understand the creative approach.

But the Online Opportunists realize what's coming as we see players looking for better quality in their games. In fact, platforms like Apple and Facebook are now using player feedback as a fundamental part of their game discovery systems, which is helping to force the issue of quality versus short-sighted focus on near-term monetization wins. Players want immersive 3D experiences with polished production values along with and the ability to play in real time with their friends. From core game design to the necessary immersive technology set, the Online Opportunists are poorly positioned from both a cultural and skill perspective to meet quality demands.

That brings us to the emerging champions, the New Innovators. This group is defined by their focus and intent. For New Innovators, the drive to make games is not fueled by repeating the playbook of decades past, nor is it about racing minimum investment for maximum return before the music stops. Instead, New Innovators embrace a long-term view of the relationship they have with their players in order to really understand what it is they want, starting with great games that can occupy the same places in their hearts and minds as their favorite television show, novel, or film. These games are lovingly crafted to be immersive and intrinsically compelling, with gorgeous artwork, thoughtful game design, and -- most importantly -- a ton of irresistible fun.

The current generation of gamers wants to play these great games across all of their devices, bringing the fun with them just as they do with books, music, and videos. They don't want to fight a steep learning curve around UI and UX, and they don't want to spend hours downloading or installing a game. They want them to be free to play and for whatever investment they make in game to be met with a corresponding increase in the fun they receive. They want to be treated with the same type of thoughtful service that evokes their favorite restaurant or hotel. In short, they want it all. The New Innovators are captivated with the idea that all this is possible, and are inspired to deliver it to the largest potential game audience in the history of the business, crossing geographic, demographic and economic barriers.

They want to be treated with the same type of thoughtful service that evokes their favorite restaurant or hotel.

This obsession with their players will turn this group of New Innovators into the leaders of tomorrow. To deliver what players want, this group has to be invested in real innovation, not simply chasing trends or offering incremental change. It will require patience, active listening to players, a focus on entertainment over aggressive monetization, and - most of all - a passion to make great games. It is this group that is poised to become the beloved, trusted game makers of the future - as well as its financial leaders.

We're already seeing the first of this group emerge as leaders. The proof is the new guard: Riot, Supercell, and Nexon represent companies that tirelessly prioritize gameplay quality, happy players, and strong communities. As a result, they have all been incredibly successful.

Unsurprisingly, this is the group that Rumble Entertainment aspires to, as should all new video game creators. My goal for Rumble is to take the one thing the Old Guard does well - create great games - while embracing the opportunity to deliver them free to play to billions of fans on their browsers and favorite mobile devices.

The New Innovators will survive and thrive in the modern game industry because they are dedicated in quality, understand the new online paradigm, and are unafraid to experiment: To iterate, listen, build technology for new platforms, push cross platform play to grow its audience, and serve their community. It's a highly human approach to digital entertainment, and one that will continue to reward both the creatives who embrace it as well as the players who will inevitably flock to the games that result.

Greg Richardson is the founder and CEO of Rumble Entertainment.

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