Economists stole my dev conference!

This year’s game developers conference was chock-a-block with new ways of thinking about games – not only from a design perspective alone, but from how the experience is delivered across multiple channels, and how people can pay for the experience in completely new ways.

My first two days of the conference was with economists and attorneys. What’s up with that? It seems as if the entire games industry is maturing now, attracting the classic social sciences with basic knowledge of how markets work and how products are diversified. Even though it was a strange feeling being on a game developers conference not talking to designers and programmers, I sensed a new dawn in the way we understand commercial aspects in games – both from a design and a sales angle.

The challenge is to me twofold. We need to understand how to factor in basic economic theory into the game design early on, and we need to be specific about how we measure the performance of the games once launched in order to optimally configure and refresh them. We have a lot to learn from traditional retail sectors!

Posted: March 23rd, 2010
Categories: Games
Tags: , ,
Comments: 1 Comment.
Comment from Rasmus - October 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm

First of all, this comment maybe late, but still relevant I think.

“Economists stole my dev conference” is an interesting take on a fundamental problem in the Danish games industry right now.

Oftentimes “economists” are blamed for not understanding the needs and thinking of “creative” people, presumably only being concerned with profit and market share. On the other hand creative people talk about the importance of being able to understand the market they operate in, drawing on the experience of the “other camp”. When it comes to actually talking to each other in public, it’s an entirely different story – and what a shame, that is.

I think the creative world is partly responsible for maintaining the gap open between the presumed two worlds, by constantly referring to an “us” and a “they”, and by referring to economists and “business-people” as profit-hungry, with no deep felt passion or interest in the products they market.

Just a thought – who does really have the passion for games closest to his heart? The guy who studied game design, to end up crafting browser based interactive ad-games for profit – or the guy who took a degree in business, to be able to work for his/her dream game-company, communicating the message of the games he has been passionate about his entire life, to a target audience of equally enthusiastic gamers?

This, of course, is an equally bold and one-sided, but oftentimes overlooked angle, in the “Us vs. Them” debate.