Game Development Reference
Fortunately, the many developers I've talked with throughout this topic have some answers, as do I. Their
concluding thoughts, and mine, appear in the following sections.
Design Now Because Success Usually Comes from
Nabeel Hyatt founded a social game company, sold it to Zynga, and went on to become a venture capitalist
whose firm funded OMGPOP, a small New York studio that created a quirky and inventive game called Draw
Something. As you might know, Draw Something unexpectedly became Facebook's most-played game in a
matter of weeks.
Nabeel Hyatt says this about the observation that the market is oversaturated with games: “There have always
been a lot of games.” Even in the Atari and Playstation era. “It will always feel like an oversaturated, overstim-
ulated environment. It should never stop you from action. It should raise the bar in terms of what you believe.”
NOTE “The answer is not to run where nobody is; the answer is go at the place where everyone is and just
raise the bar,” says Nabeel Hyatt.
Instead, Nabeel Hyatt suggests that you think like this: “I'm standing on the shoulder of giants; I know what
works and I want to add my voice to the industry. History bears out that breakout successes come when people
start to think the market is tapped out...that's actually the right position when players are hungry for something
new.” When innovation is at a low point, he adds, “That's exactly the time to start building a company and go.”
Design Now Because the Little Guys Still Have Special
This means the little guy still has the edge in some respects.
Billy Pidgeon of M2 Research has built a long career analyzing the game business and keeping abreast of its
many trends. “Although the free-to-play model has been around for a while and many publishers and developers
have been experimenting with the business model,” Pidgeon notes, “I think there is still huge potential for in-
“While it's true that some of that innovation will require big financial and technological investment beyond
the reach of small developers and micro-publishers, small developers can and will try things that large publish-
ers will not,” says Pidgeon.
Small developers not only have an advantage, but also have lots of people looking to throw money their way.
“Which is exactly why venture capitalists and big publishers are continuing to raise their level of investment in
independent developers,” says Pidgeon.
Speaking of the little guy, Pidgeon recommends leveraging platforms like Twitter, to get your game an audi-
ence: “Indies can and should market more cheaply and effectively with social media to increase word of mouth.”
And above all, expect to fail, and plan to come up short: