30 December 2010

Platform Fragmentation 2.0 - by Eloy Ribera

      Posted 09/04/10 07:42:00 am  

So you have been developing your brand new game for... 3 months, 6 months, 1 year?

You are a small independent team: you can't afford to develop a multiplatform game. Maybe you can launch your game in 2 different platforms, but... take a look at some gaming platforms:

- Sony: PS3 retail, PSN, PSP, minis, Home.

- Microsoft: 360 retail, XBLA, XBLIG, WP7.

- Nintendo: Wii, WiiWare, DSi, DSiWare, 3DS.

- Apple: iPhone/iPod, iPad, Mac.

- PC: Steam, Direct2Drive, Bigpoint, etc...

- Social Networks: Facebook, Newgrounds, etc...

You look at them and think "ok, there are a lot of platforms, how many of them can we target? Maybe iPhone and minis? Going the PC route? Social Networks?".

Usually, we are, as developers, looking in excess to the technical reasons to target the game for one platform. That's not even the problem. The big question is, "how many players can I get to play my game on every platform?".

So, with platform fragmentation, user base is highly... well, fragmented. Users can't be on 2 platforms at the same time. Then, every new platform is reducig user base for the other ones.

Take a look at the social networks: every social network/portal tends to have its own leaderboards, virtual currency, payment solutions, achievements... For an independent developer, it means that you have to work on different leaderboard and achievement implementatios for every target platform. That means time and higher development costs to reach, maybe, the same user base and earnings if it were only one target platform.

How many platforms can target a small independent developer? Will all the efforts become profitable?

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