@Ben_Quintero: “Can’t think of another industry where it cost $1M to make and sells for $1. And is something buyers still mull over so much. #videogames”
I wonder if chewing gum would exist today if it cost $1M and a team of college-educated masters of their craft to stamp out 500k sticks and they sold for $0.01 each. I kind of feel like video games might be going the way of chewing gum, sitting in the impulse isle next to People magazine and The Star (is that still around?). The difference however is that Bubble Yum hasn’t changed in like 100 years and they are still selling it. Video games have a very short life and often die with their target console. Then we need to spend more money to create more entertainment value but the flavor of our gum has to be different each time.
This was, strangely, what I awoke to this morning. I thought about all of the hours in my lifetime that I’ve put into video games. I thought about the long nights, the tireless efforts, the mind-melting problems that needed to be solve in order to get the simplest of things to happen on the screen. The hundreds of man-hours that go into the little things that the player is NOT supposed to notice (ie: uncanny valley, visual pops and artifacts, anything that breaks immersion). I thought about all of it. Then, that one quote sprung to mind.
I could be completely wrong here but I just could not think of any other industry where people put this much effort into something and ask so little in return. The closest resemblance may be Hollywood, but even they have some luxuries that we do not. When a film like District 9 is made on a $37M budget, or even some of the horror films being made for less than $1M it makes you think.
It seems like anyone with a Canon 5D DSLR can frame it up and take amazing video that is strikingly professional looking, even if by accident at times. Still, following some basic rule of thirds and understanding aperture go a long way. The beauty of nature and the talent of the people in front of the camera are key elements. Sure, there is lighting and composition but again, lighting and shadows are practically free when you compare them to the hoops we have to jump in the digital realm. In video games, digital artists agonize over the limitations of things like a single shadow-casting light source and a handful of fill lights while an indie film maker just needs an umbrella and a flood light from Home Depot.
I think that the video games industry are some of the brightest stars but you know what they say about the stars that burn brightest… I do hope that we can maintain this pace and I applaud my brothers and sisters. With budgets expected to rise again, new consoles expected to push 6x the horse power (more devilish details to UV-unwrap, paint, sculpt and light), and prices continuing to plummet, I hope we are ready for what lies ahead. The future is a scary place, but we will manage… I hope…