Video games are big business. Last year alone, software companies spent over $50 billion dollars putting together titles for every platform on the market, eventually bringing in more than $100 billion in sales to gaming fans the world over. But many of these companies, which include tech behemoths like Sony, Microsoft, EA and Activision, often use dozens or even hundreds of employees to get these games on the market.
As you probably well know, this isn’t always the case, particularly in the mobile gaming market, which has grown significantly over the past year. Basically, mobile gaming is a place where even individuals and small teams can put together a successful game – and it’s now enjoying a 17 percent share of the entire gaming market worldwide.
In September, the team at Biowars discussed how to make a video game using a few free tools you can get online. This month, however, we’re looking at what platform would likely suit you best as an up-and-coming game coder or designer.
Would your skills and interests be better utilized on gaming apps for tablets and smartphones? Or would you prefer to dive into working on PC or console video games? Maybe you’d rather take a stab at web-based or social media games instead? Here are some of the advantages, and disadvantages, of each.
Console Video Games
While there are a handful of consoles out on the market, none of them compare to the heritage of Xbox and PlayStation in terms of longevity, quality and the depth of titles available. Getting a game produced for either of these consoles is no easy task – it usually takes a team of high-level artists, programmers and testers to get the job done. Even then, you may have a difficult time getting accepted into the lineup of games being released on either of these consoles, as competition among other developers is undoubtedly fierce.
Thankfully, both Xbox and PlayStation offer some insider tips on how to contact their respective gaming headquarters for interested parties. This includes insight on how to have your game featured on their console’s online stores, which for some developers is a step up from making games for other platforms. Just remember, it’s very likely you’ll have to get an education before joining a team whose game is released on one of these two consoles – and that’s never a bad thing, because it often pays pretty well.
Mobile and Tablet Gaming
When it comes to mobile apps, video games come in one or both of two categories: Android and iPhone/iTunes. Like consoles, Android and iTunes each offer developers guidelines on getting video games featured in their online stores. Currently, both markets are saturated with a wide collection of games from large and small companies, as well as individual developers.
The most difficult part, just as with consoles, is getting noticed by gaming fans. The easier part, happily, is getting your game in the store, because it’s certainly a lot easier than getting a game up for sale on PlayStation or Xbox. And one of the side benefits of making a mobile gaming app? Ad revenue. Remember Flappy Bird? Of course you do.
Much like consoles, PC games require a great deal of coding and design expertise. On the other hand, there are a lot more opportunities in the PC sphere to create sellable customizations that improve the speed, efficiency and playability of current titles already available on the market.
Today, a lot of the world’s top developers even offer free software to help you get started on building your own video game from scratch, which is particularly helpful for anyone learning the skill on their own or even attending school. You can even specialize in areas such as video game character creation to make yourself a valuable asset to software companies looking for that particular skill set. Yet, if you have a really great idea for a web-based game and feel like it may take off with gaming fans, you could always create something and set it up on your own website to test its popularity out.
Whatever you decide to do, making video games is probably one of the more fun ways to spend your time and your career, as we’re finding out at Biowars with the release of Facebook and mobile gaming apps. Really, it’s about taking your passion for gaming to the next level, and putting your creative pedal to the game development metal.