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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Michael Moore and Capitalism

In Capitalism there is a great deal of talk about how as a society we've allowed the "gentry" to choose a way for the rest of us that is well...

... a raw deal. It got me really thinking about the games industry.

In the last couple weeks my old haunt, Blue Fang has laid off an additional 13 people, bringing their total of people fired/ laid off/ removed to about 51 for the period of 10/15/08 to 10/15/09.

Those 13 aren't alone though. Reports came in from friends of entire studios being shuttered, putting quality developers on the street. Shaba Games, 989 Studio are the first two that come to mind because I have friends there. Is it a fact of a bad economy? Or is there more to it?

Is there a shift being made in the games industry from having permanent employees, to hiring people on a project basis, as movie producers do? By the further reduction in the population of development studios, are the big publishers being cemented as an all directing oligopoly? What can a developer do to have some semblance of a normal life complete with a consistent job, and being able to choose where they want to live?

These aren't questions with easy answers, or answers that devs even want to look at. As a few friends have succinctly stated to me, "I don't care, I just want to make games." What will it take to get devs to care, and then give them the power to control their futures? Can this period of unbalance serve as a catalyst to usher in the "Era of the Indie"? (I should trademark that. HAH!)

Over the next few posts I'll explore it a bit. I have strong feelings on the subject, maybe I can coax a few of my industry friends into lending their perspective.