I was reading some articles this morning and realised few things.
Five years ago, a successful game career involved joining a big corporation like Microsoft, EA, Sony.
Five years ago 2d animation was dead.
With the current recession, gaining full time employment at a major studio is pretty unlikely nowadays. At best, most of them prefer to stick with contract workers as the market doesn’t allow a long term strategy at the moment but on the other hand, thousands of independent game developers are producing XBLA and smartphones games and applications, creating hundreds of jobs for senior and even fresh graduates in the field of, 2d animation, UI and concept art.
As recalled in that ex Rare employees interview, if it wasn’t possible to make games for less than $10 millions and a team of 70 and upwards in the past, things have changed. Even the tools are now available and affordable making it possible for anyone to make their own independent games. What an exciting time!
Most of those companies will soon grow to become the next leaders or get bought by the former ones hoping to get their glory back.
Not all big corporations are taking the back seat though, Microsoft with XBLA was probably the first one to create an independent game developer ecosystem and empower creative artists and programmers. Without XBLA, Behemoth’s “Castle Crashers” would have probably never known the success it received. How many people had heard of Alien Hominid before Castle Crashers?
An other thing I wanted to mention today is a very interesting move by Valve and Jagex. With the release of Team Fortress 2 for free to the public, I was wondering how the company could still pay for their servers but their strategy seems to be paying off as they recently announced a hefty profit for items creators.
But what is in for the very independent artist?
Well check out this article featuring legendary Bay Raitt. Ok there is nothing groundbreaking like his work on Gollum but one sentence at the very end of the article raised my interest for Team Fortress 2.
“If this was a community-made item, the money from item sales would get split between Valve and the item maker!”
As much as I love the art style I don’t have time to play the game. Creating items for it could however become a source of revenue for the most successful artists. Imagine if your item became viral as Bay’s hat probably became?
Unemployed 3d artist? Make CG hats! ;-)
This is what the Transformers MMO will look like
Why the Next Game From Braid’s Creator is Skipping Consoles the comments are funny as usual
Jason Schleifer interview – Speaking of Animation