The development community is living in exciting times – as always. Highly capable consoles have been released, Brexit is looming and sporadic heatwaves have us Brits glowing red and looking for decent air conditioning.
At Edge Case Games here in Guildford, we have nurtured our fledgeling game Fractured Space through the challenges of Early Access on Steam and are in the ongoing stage of adding features and polishing everything.
On the development side, there are three key areas we draw from when deciding what to do – our community’s opinions and feedback, our own opinions, experience and capabilities, and the data we pore over.
On the business side though, things are a bit murkier and some of the challenges are difficult to quantify.
The British dev scene has never had it so good. There are very few barriers
It’s unclear how Brexit will affect our industry, but there are some specific areas of concern. Our playerbase is global, with less than ten per cent in the UK. Our staff are also from a variety of different countries. We are not a big team, but we need highly skilled personnel to both continually develop and expand our game and get it out to our players. It’s unclear on how Brexit will impact our current team of 35 and what it will do to our ability to recruit from outside the UK in the future. Work visas may be available, but it does create another hurdle for us to negotiate.
It’s useful being in a gaming hub, but if there is a bit of a brain drain looming it could be a major problem for all of us as there will be a smaller pool of talent to draw from.
I expect the same issue to impact some of our partners. We are gearing up to launch in other languages later this year, and we will need ongoing third party localisation services. Obviously, the capability of local firms to provide these could also be affected. There are a number of key European territories we are looking to move into, Germany in particular, and we have to look at how we staff up for these moves.
We are proud of our community support, but I can see this quality being tricky to maintain. It was always going to be a challenge, but this just makes it tougher. Through all that murkiness though, there are glimmers of hope.
In some ways, the British dev scene has never had it so good. Pretty much anyone who wants to make games can do it – there are very few barriers to entry. You can develop at a competitive high quality now, with a variety of free or cheap tools. Getting your game out there is easier than ever on mobile or PC – and not that much more complex on console. Also, the exchange rate right now means that if you are looking to work for (or with) partners around the world, British developers look keenly priced. Finally, the investment scene is really heating up, with more investors coming around to understanding that video games are not the out-and-out risk they once were.
Some challenges remain insurmountable though – where can you find a good portable aircon?