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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

Indie Racing

Kart RiderOver in South Korea, cutesy game Kart Rider is huge. Incredibly, more than 1 in 4 of the total population has played it, bringing in over 2.5 million quid a month from selling low-cost virtual add-ons. Wow.

It’s seemed clear to me for some time that online sports/simulation games offer the best way forward for independent developers, due to the appeal of multiplayer gaming combined with far lower development costs. There’s no need to design vast intricate levels and have storylines voiced by Hollywood actors, you just focus on the mechanics of a great game and don’t even try to produce the next Half Life 2. Combined with the disintermediation, community-building opportunities and ease of distribution offered by the internet, the playing field then starts looking a lot more level.

Live for SpeedThe independently-produced driving simulation Live for Speed has recently been updated and seems to be thriving. Yeah, it may all seem a bit serious and geeky, and they could perhaps broaden its appeal without selling out, but it’s a great product produced by a small, enthusiastic team. The money goes directly to the developers, and they’re constantly participating in the community. Isn’t that the ideal situation for everyone involved?

So if you can get together a small team with the right design and coding skills, and are willing to put in several months of effort, there’s not much more needed. Get a product online and see how it goes; if it takes off then it’ll beat slaving away anonymously for a mainstream games company.

(37signals just made some similar points about startups.)


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