The One Strategy that Game Developers Need in Order to Thrive
by Irene Enriquez
“It’s impossible to succeed.” It’s probably one of the thoughts that run in your head as an indie game developer. The game industry is already saturated and dominated by big players. How can you make your dent in the gaming universe?
Despite this paralyzing thought, however, you push through and create games anyway.
You find ways to survive and even thrive.
The question is, how?
The answer may lie in collaboration.
“The next phase of indie game development will be powered by collaboration.” -Gamasutra
The Power of Collaboration
According to Gamasutra’s article “Together We Are Mega: The Collaborative Future of Indie Game Development,” collaboration is not just the future of indie game development, it’s already happening. One proof is the release of SPORTSFRIENDS, a game that combines four separate niche local multiplayer games. It was created “under one collective branding that’s easier to understand from a consumer point of view.”
Collaboration isn’t a new trend. In fact, it’s one of the driving force behind the success of many startups in Silicon Valley. Offices are specifically designed in order to foster collaboration. SAP Labs, for instance, ensures that “accidental collaboration” happens in their workplace. This is achieved by designing work spaces that encourage spontaneous collaboration: open spaces, wheeled work desks, whiteboards everywhere.
While collaboration in Silicon Valley and other progressive countries is already the norm, it’s not as pervasive in the Philippines. During the launch of The Philippine Startup Roadmap at Geeks on a Beach last August 20, 2015, one of the key messages of the speakers is to foster collaboration in the Philippines. Beryl Li, Senior Consultant of Philippine Startup Roadmap, said, “We should not replicate Silicon Valley but be a unique innovative Ecosystem.” However, she also suggested that we must adapt Silicon Valley’s strengths, such as the openness to collaborate.
Popsicle + Pixelkit = A Match Made in Heaven
Pixelkit, as a game development studio and a tech startup in the Philippines, also started to see the value of collaboration. James Chua and Jed Revita, Pixelkit Founders, have partnered with Popsicle Games to work on new projects.
James said, “Since we are practically new to the game development industry, we hope to learn a lot from Erick (Popsicle Games), who’s been a successful industry veteran. We are very lucky and grateful for Erick’s willingness to take us as a partner and to mentor us along the way while making games together.”
Their first project is All Aboard the Ark, a simple yet highly addicting game released on Android and iOS.
Erick, Popsicle’s Founder, decided to partner with Pixelkit because of James and Jed’s passion for games. “These days, skills are not enough anymore to get you going, what matters is how determined and dedicated you are at what you do,” Erick shared. All Aboard the Ark is their first flagship title in this collaboration and serves as a way to “test the waters.”
How can other game developers find other people to collaborate with? Or the more important question is, how do you decide which group or individuals to collaborate with?
James sums it up best:
“There’s no real formula to help a decision when making a partnership. It all really boils down to how compatible you are with the other party. When first talking to Erick and Martin, we instantly connected since we had a lot in common when it comes to gaming and working styles. One could say it was a match made in heaven, cheesy, I know, but that’s how I genuinely feel.”