Landscape Changing?

I just read an article about Sony Entertainment Europe cutting 160 jobs.  The reason was due to their belief that the market is changing, and with the advent and popularity of digital distribution, most of these jobs were redundant.

Well, I hate to hear about folks losing their jobs, and I hope they all land on their feet, but this might be another good sign for independant developers.  I remember that Playnet wanted to experiment with digital distribution 5 years ago, but it just wasn’t the norm back then.  The “cool” thing was to get a publisher.  Not only was it the thing that everyone did, but the marketing money was there, the retail distribution connections were there…that just seemed like the correct thing to do.

With the emergence of digital distribution, this could open some doors for the small dev houses.  No longer relying on huge marketing, packaging, and distribution deals, they could get the word out and get the client passed out, online with a relatively smaller budget.  This coupled with free-to-develope-with game engines and suites (Multiverse, Kaneva, etc) could spell good things for fresh ideas and more variety in the gaming industry.

Any coders want to work on a side project? 

6 Responses to “Landscape Changing?” »»

  1. Comment by Granik | 04/19/07 at 4:10 pm

    Depending on what your goals are for the project the rise of digital distribution is nice. Marketing money is still the sticking point for an indy dev. You’re not gonna be a top seller without serious money spent getting your game into the public’s eye. For a niche game it might work, but online only marketting isn’t gonna cut it for the wider audience.

  2. Comment by Toto | 04/19/07 at 7:28 pm

    Well, AAA titles will still be the domain of the big money publishers of course. What I am saying is that with the advent of digital distribution and the acceptance of it as a viable option for small developers and the general public, you will see more and more variety in what actually reaches the marketplace in the future.

  3. Comment by Bryan N. | 04/19/07 at 11:15 pm

    That’s the plan. At least for us it is. The biggest advantage comes in your margins. With digital distribution you’re looking at 40-60% of the sale price coming into your pockets rather than 10% if you’re lucky. That means you break even MUCH faster than traditional distribution. You also get essentially free marketing on places like Steam. They want to sell your game as bad as they do. Every time somebody fires it up they’re going to get an ad.

    Hell, when they just mentioned BoB on there we averaged 100k unique visitors per hour for several hours. And that’s just the people that bothered to follow the link. That’s incredible free advertising and it was just a mod watch roundup rather than a full page, week or two long ad when a game goes on sale there.

    Playnet was so far ahead of its time in so many areas it’s sad. Digital distribution. A game the scope of WWIIOL. Time warp Playnet 6 years into the future with a much better launch… Things would be so much different.

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