Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Deep Night Ramblings

Read a couple of excellent interviews over on GamesIndustry today with Tony Goodman of Ensemble Studios and Feargus Urquhart of Obsidian on how the world of game publishing is changing.

Tony talks about how Ensemble is working to cut away at Zynga's dominance of the casual game market by building their product around characters called Chums. Feargus Urquhart talks about how Kickstarter allows an independent developer to own their brand, and how this can drastically change the power dynamic of future negotiations and product expansions when it's time to get a big publisher involved in the mix.

Taken together these interviews align magnificently with Johanna Blakely's TEDx talk from 2010 on how the fashion industry is so phenomenally successful without having the same copyright and patent protections found in the entertainment industries. It's all just kind of wonderfully zeitgeisty for me right now especially when taken in the context of the creative outpouring taking place in the OSR world under the creative commons license, so I'm putting all these links and screen grabs here for easy reference.

And now for my distillation of all these loosely connected ideas, and how to thrive in the business of content creation despite constant flux and change:
  1. Find your voice (or signature style)
  2. Package that voice into a clean, instantly recognizable, brand
  3. Present your content through the context of that brand
  4. Do not allow your brand to become diluted, indentured or enslaved by outside sources
  5. Be happy if others knockoff or share your ideas
  6. Fight them to the death if they try and take, replicate, or pass their ideas off as being part of your brand
Garriott did it with Ultima. Blizzard did it with Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo. Maxis did it with "Sim". Sid Meyer did it with Civilization. TSR did it with D&D. Wizards did it with Magic. Artists that find success during their lifetime do it to their names (Picasso, Dali, Warhol). Authors do it too, like Rice, King, and Crichton.

This is probably why JK Rowling is having such a tough time of it right now. Harry Potter is the brand, NOT JK Rowling.

Screen grabs of the interviews below the break.

Feargus Urquhart Interview - GamesIndustry.Biz - 09-24-12
Tony Goodman Interview - GamesIndustry.Biz - 09-27-12


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