The Escapist on The Games Industry

The Escapist has two great articles on the state of games in 2005.

The first, Death to the Games Industry, Part I covers game development and publishing for the big guys, the AAA titles. It covers topics like the problems of dealing with publishers, the technology arms race, and cautions us about games looking and playing the same since everyone started licensing the same engines and technology (I wrote something similar in my Common Component Syndrome post).

The second covers the Indie game developer: Casual Fortunes, Getting Rich Slowly witch Casual Games. The article covers many interesting points, drops plenty of indie developer names, and mentions some game developer web sites. But, the most interesting item to me were the market numbers.

The 125-page IGDA 2005 Casual Games White Paper pegs the American casual market at $600 million in 2004 and projects growth to $2 billion by 2008. (Source: “US Online PC Gaming Forecast & Analysis, 2004-2008: Growth Continues,” December 2004, by business think-tank IDC.)

The piece goes on to quote some developers and estimates that some of these guys are making a very comfortable living — some even millions.

These are encouraging numbers; they certainly help support my previous post on the Mac Gaming Market.

The Mac Gaming Market

Thanks to radioact1ve for passing on a link to this article over on Next Generation in the comments section of my recent Fruitful Weekend post:

The Evolution of Mac Gaming
by Christian Svensson

Aspyr director of development, Glenda Adams, sheds light on the challenges and opportunities facing game developers and publishers on the Mac.

The article covers some interesting economics on porting PC games to the MacIntosh gaming market. Glenda Adams throws out some intriguing figures about how many copies they need to sell in order to make a profit and how they select which titles they think will reach these numbers.

Glenda Adams estimates that they will sell only 3 – 5 percent of what a title will sell on the PC side of the world. She goes on to say the following:

“This is one of the reasons Aspyr has focused on the really AAA titles like Sims 2 and Doom 3, since it is difficult to make money on a game that might only sell 5-10K units on the Mac.”

5-10K units? This may be peanuts to Aspyr, but this sounds to me like there is an enormous market opportunity for small game developers and publishers for the Mac. If a game sells for $20 through internet only sales and sells even 5000 units over it’s lifetime, that’s still $100,000. Maybe, I’m missing something… but if targeting games that aren’t in the AAA classification keeps me from directly competing with Aspyr and the like and still leaves room for $100k per title… this sounds okay to me.

How many times have we heard the same complaint, “there aren’t enough games for the Mac”? Well, fellow aspiring Mac game developers… maybe it’s time we stand up to the challenge and more importantly, the opportunity.

[Update: added a link to radioact1ve’s web site]