I enjoy reading about the early days of the internet. I have a strong feeling that only one guy really understood it. Only one guy really got what was going on, and what to do. I don’t mean Bill gates, or The google guys, or Steve Jobs. I don’t mean Woz, I don’t mean Tim Berners lee. I mean Jeff Bezos.
Jeff Bezos understood that the internet was like a big new country being discovered, where all the land was free. And soon, everyone would be emigrating there. Whoever owned all that land would be very very wealthy and powerful. He Realized he had to ‘get big fast’ and more importantly he realized that it was a long term win, where if you didn’t make money for a decade, in fact if you absolutely threw money down the drain for the first decade, it didn’t matter, as long as you won.
Gaming is pretty big, and it’s getting bigger. For a long time, gamers were just kids. Nobody over 30 played games. It was a niche thing. You wouldn’t make a living doing it. Then it became something that made decent money. then game developers started driving ferraris. Then Call of Duty started appearing on the news. The Minecraft happened. And so on…
Gaming is like a great big country waiting to be conquered, and right now, we do not know who has won. Some might say apple have won, because of the app store. others say maybe Microsoft win by default, due to the X-Box and Windows. or maybe Valve have won? or Zynga? The important thing right now is *we have no clear winner*. And long may that continue.
Thankfully, there is still a slight element of the free market in gaming. There is Kickstarter, Humble Bundle, Gamersgate, D2D,Steam and GoG, and that’s just third party PC game stores. We have some clear frontrunners but nobody has actually ‘won’ yet. I do have a great fear that the main word there is *yet*. As consumers, we will do absolutely NOTHING to maintain the free-market and level playing field. It’s just not in our nature. We worry that the supermarket will out-compete the local butchers, but we drive to the supermarket anyway because they have convenient parking. We are not the best guardians of free markets and competition. We are also, on the whole, oblivious of the fierce war being fought for our loyalty, our eyeballs, and our attention. Attention is everything. I *REALLY* want you to visit my site www.positech.co.uk and buy my games from there, or at least hear about me as an independent entity. If I could guarantee that you would buy my next few games from my website, it easily makes sense for em to offer you my current games for free, or even at a loss.
Indies don’t generally think like this. Especially with their first game. You normally have bills to pay, and getting into debt is scary. If you earn $1,000 in a month, the thought of spending that $1,00 on adverts to get people to come buy your current game at a loss…. that’s madness right?
That’s what Jeff Bezos did.
Me…I don’t quite have the balls for that, but I’m pointing out that the big boys out there who want your eyeballs do. There is a war going on for the attention of gamers. To the winners go huge spoils. It’s fascinating, exciting and frightening to see. I just hope there’s still room for little old me.