The Struggling Game Developer

I have been developing online games for almost 10 years and until recently it has been a wonderful job. Where else can you use your imagination to build an environment that is completely your own and have numerous people take part and enjoy themselves within it? It is truly wonderful!

Why I say “until recently” is because the market is becoming over saturated and therefore there is less and less money in it. Now what seems to be the buzz among game developers F95ZONE is in-game ads. What does this mean? Well it seems that online games are no longer the product. The product is advertisements, the game is just the delivery medium.

Developers can no longer make any money off their games unless they stick ads throughout their games and then give them away to the ad providers. So, only when their game serves thousands of ads do they get $1. Used to be a game developer could sell the source code for their game for a couple of thousand dollars for an average (good) online game. Now, their game will have to serve over 5,000,000 ads just to get a quarter of that. Most developers are becoming content with this solution because they have “held out” for quite some time and things have just not gotten any better. They can spend a month or more developing a game and since nobody is buying, licensing, or sponsoring the game just sits and collects dust. Meanwhile, some developer that is technically savvy, but has no imagination, comes across their game and either de-compiles it or creates their own version of it and mass distributes the game through one of these advertising portals. So, by the time the original gets noticed people think the original is the copy because “everyone knows that game“.

So now it is a compounding problem. As more and more developers enter the whole ad campaign world, in exchange for the game development industry, the tighter the door is closed for any of those that wish to remain creating games instead of creating advertising vehicles.

How did it come to this in the first place you might wonder? I believe a lot of things played a role in this development. A bad economy, realization that there is decent money in advertising, an easy to learn software for creating games, and de-compilers. Is this a preview of things to come for other industries? Could the whole of the internet eventually be reduced to one huge advertising platform. Simply a place that helps induce seizures due to the flashing chaotic ads covering otherwise mundane and uninteresting sites?

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