The game industry is changing; that's undeniable. Smaller
teams and smaller games regularly break into the awareness of players while
larger games manned by hundreds of people often struggle just to break even.
AAA games are locked into an arms race, where more and more money is being
spent to outdo what was done last year and often failing to recapture the sort
of money those teams had set their sights on.
At the same time, games have never been more mainstream and
integral to our culture than they are today. Ask someone if they've played a Facebook
game. Even when the answer is no, they know what you're asking about, don't
they? We regularly hear stories about how companies like Zynga or Blizzard are
raking in the millions, but at the same time we're still hearing the same old
refrain from developers (me included!) about how we don't ever see that money,
or really reap that success.
Some have suggested that that's a crock, that story of the
poor developer. They're probably right. Over the last 15+ years of my career,
I've done pretty well for myself. Sure, I don't have Zynga money, but no one
developer does. The thing is, when you hear the lament of the poor developer
lashing out at the big publisher, you might hear the word money thrown around a
lot, but that's not at all what it's about, not really.