If this is where we are, where the hell are we going?

Original Author: Matt Ditton

Unlike the multitude of very talented people on this blog, today I won’t be telling you anything. Well except for what you can read between the lines. There will be no deeply technical information and no witty and funny anecdotes about the wacky history of my development experience. I’ll save them for next time.

Today I want to ask a question. You don’t have to answer right away. You can think on it if you want. Please take your time. But I’d love to know your answer.

The question is

“If we look at the current state of the industry, where are we going to be in 5 years? What does 2016 look like for us? As an industry, as developers and as a culture.

What is the world of game development going to look like?”

It’s a loaded question. I’ll even admit that maybe it’s a dumb question. As my first post to a new community of developers maybe it’s a wishy-washy blog topic. But after working through the last eleven years of this industry I really want to ask it. And I’ve got 2 reasons.

First, I keep seeing weird moments of dichotomy. And they fascinate me. I don’t know if they speak to a wider trend in development or if it’s just crazy timing. But looking at something like this…

The original data, because script embedding in posterous is a headache.

… makes me wonder if we’re turning into two very different development worlds.

John Burgardt.

another 4 people in development. As a side note, if you do the Minecraft credits at the same rate as the StarCraft 2 credits they finish in 5.8 seconds. That includes the title. But no timpani guy.

The second reason is that the future is a massive part of what I do these days. In the daytime I look after a games degree at a university. At night I’m part of 4-6 man indie game startup. I’m trying to help build futures for newbies and veterans who all love this industry. All the while knowing that no matter what my best guess is about the future it’s still just a guess.

Fear: An Appropriate Response to the Business of Next Generation Game Development” slide show about the horror of next gen development that was an interesting precursor to the death of work for hire in Australia.

The broad strokes of these two idea had some really good points, in fine details maybe there’s a few holes. But the real world impact to the lives of my friends has been staggering to watch.

Ok so enough rambling. Here’s my stupid predictions for 2016, I’d love to see yours in the comments.

Mobile

  • “Apple and Google own mobile and desktop. But the difference between mobile and desktop is only screen real-estate, oh and desktop has less features. Google might have a larger market but the culture of pay nothing will keep pissing of Developers till they figure out how to sell their player’s data.”

Business

  • “Publishers still own the release schedules on platforms, but Developers will own content. Big deals come with tailoring content to a platform. You’ll still have give a chunk of IP to get anywhere but it only took you six months to drop out the game anyway. And if all else fails you can sell it to a game show in Korea.”

Content

  • “Game to Movie and Movie to Game will continue to happen but just like Books to Movies they will continue to piss people off.”

Tech

  • “Engines are bought off the shelf, a large chunk is open source but tools set them apart. Languages are (mostly) interchangeable. You buy an engine, you write in whatever language. The arguements and bugs this causes will be hilarious.”

Outsourcing

  • “Sound and art libraries become the growing middleware market for prototyping, and pretty much everything you need will be part of the engine anyway. Interaction libraries start making an impact, but the growing hatred of “fetch me a spigot” mini games means you still have to do some work. But that job where one guy makes rocks for 5 years is gone. Sorry Mark.”

Consoles

  • “Huh, like my phone?
    No Consoles.
    Like the web?
    No Consoles.
    You mean my Xbox tv?
    I like the Sony Google center is better, It’s got American Idol Hero Season 12 coming out.”

Education

  • “Your GPA hinges on your metacritic rating. Once you earn your beer money through microtransactions in your free-to-play art game, you win the degree.”

Development

  • “Autodesk turns MAX, MAYA and Softimage into theme skins for AutoDesk 3D Creator thingy 2015. It’s one 3d editor engine with a thousand bolt-on plugins. Plugins are sold in themed packs “Particles”, “Animation”, “Modeling”. The combinations mean you’ll end up buying several packs just to get the 1-2 features you actually use. And still not enough people will be using Softimage. Blender will make serious inroads once people figure out how to use it.”

Employment

  • “Massive teams only exist in countries with strong government support, or around studios with current hit driven product. Major publishers listed on the stock market will continue to fire staff around quarterly earning time. But will continue to buy whole companies staffed by people they fired 2 years ago who’ve done something good with their new found freedom.”

Ok it’s your turn. Where are you going to be in 2016? And what are you going to be doing?