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Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Startup Idea #81(Part III): Enabling game developers to connect to fans anywhere

Taylor left a great comment about my post on connecting game developers with their fans.

Where are the traditional game publishers failing?

What is wrong / inefficient / unrealized value with the existing distributors?

How should game developers connect with their fans and customers? Isn't the game itself the best way? (e.g. should the connection be through a third-party site similar to Epinions or Get Satisfaction, or a more community-oriented site like the above music examples, or should it be directly through the game, the game developer's website, etc.?)

My biggest question, though, is what is different between the way people use games and music?

Originally posted as a comment by Taylor Davidson on wild illusions using Disqus.

They are great questions which I wanted to comments on.

The first 2 questions are easy to answer but I found that this article has articulated better than I ever could:

"Most entertainment industries now are run by people who have very little affinity for … what they actually are building," Wilson says. "It's people that play golf, not video games."

Wilson says he wants to help foster the creativity of game makers, because publishers shouldn't "manage them to death."

To put it simply, traditional publishers are risk averse, leading to a stifling of innovative games. Independent game developers are now pushing back by ignoring the traditional publishing chain altogether. However, they need help and I think more can be done to enable independent game developers to build their own fan base and earning a living doing the games they love.

The 3rd and 4th questions require more thought. My gut feel is that
creating experience is the key to understanding how to better connect developers and gamers, as well as to differentiate between music and games.

Games invoke a different experience than music. In order words, they require different context for experiences to be meaningful. For music, attending live concerts create a different experience from listening to a MP3, and hence explains why touring is now the main revenue generator for most bands.

For games, what is the equivalent of enriching the gamers' experience? Is it tournaments and the competing of skills? If so, then is there opportunities for startups that help developers create that experience?

  • Create a live video service that broadcasts the tournaments and hosts the discussions. Also create a voting mechanism for viewers to predict winner and other outcomes

  • How about a play in the Intention Economy? Create an eventful equivalent that let fans indicate their desire to play against one another in competitions.

  • An aggregation play that alerts users where and when the best players in particular games are competing.

These are just based on the assumption that tournaments are the only experience enhancing mechanisms. I am sure there are many more and each one of these will have the potential for a startup to provide a useful service.

For example, game music is an important experience for some players (see final fantasy games). How do you enable players to search, listen, share, compile, remix et al their favourite game music from independent games?

Another example is game faqs. They are an important part of game playing. However, the current services such as gamefaqs.com cater only to publisher games. What about independent games? Is there any services that aggregate game faqs for them? Taking it one step further. Why confine faqs to only text when we now have much richer media such as videos?

What other experiences can a startup create to enrich the game playing and helps the independent developers?


Startup Idea #81(Part II): Enabling game developers to connect to fans anywhere

Startup Idea #81: Enabling game developers to connect to fans anywhere