Over the years I’ve been writing about video games, I’ve often seen a peculiar division drawn that separates the process of making games and the methods of distributing and monetising them.
Game design, art, coding, audio, and other such specialties are rightly considered defining parts of the process of creating a game. Monetisation techniques, user acquisition technologies, and retention theory? Those specialties form part of the ecosystem of distributing and maintaining a game. It goes without saying that developing a game and maintaining one aren’t exactly the same thing. Yet they have become intimately integrated disciplines.
In the modern era, where so many video games exist as live services, it seems counterproductive to emphasise development and maintenance as entirely detached crafts. At a time when the work on a game does not end with its release, the pair are part of a single process. A game’s design should consider that title’s post-launch evolution; and implementing monetisation techniques and technology should start long before release. The most exquisitely designed game in the world will struggle to thrive without considering its distribution and maintenance as part of that design. And the most accomplished ad tech and user-acquisition strategy will rarely deliver if a release’s gameplay underwhelms.
Game design, distribution, and maintenance can and should be part of a single process.
And that’s why I’m delighted to be taking the reigns as editor of TheGamingEconomy going forward. It’s a chance not only to spotlight trends and opportunities in monetisation, ad tech, user acquisition, and more, but also a means to explore the relationship those methods share with games making.
Not that a great deal will change under my watch. You can still consider TheGamingEconomy an essential source of news, insight, and expertise with regard to ad tech and monetisation. They will always be this website’s prime focus and strength. But I hope to bridge the gap between those entities and game design and development. Because to truly understand best practice and cutting-edge approaches to ad tech and monetisation is to simultaneously consider their relationship with how games are made.
What qualifies me to take on this role? I’ve been writing about games as a journalist for over 11 years, serving national publications like The Guardian and The Observer, as well as gaming-specific outlets like Edge, Eurogamer, GameSpot, Kotaku UK, and VICE’s Waypoint. My real speciality, though, has been serving a games industry readership. I was editor of Develop magazine and its website for several years, and have been a contributor to GamesIndustry.biz, MCV, PocketGamer.biz, and more.
I’ve also written numerous reports and white papers for the games industry and served as a game script editor, copywriter, speaker, events curator, and consultant. Additionally, I’m a frequent awards judge, serving the BAFTA Games Awards, the Develop Awards, and the TIGA Awards, in the latter capacity.
I certainly adore games. Sat writing this, I’m surrounded by arcade cabinet parts, custom-built console controllers, and thousands of games. As much as you might find me competing in an arcade tournament, you’re equally likely to catch me prodding at a vintage games console with a soldering iron and an unsure look on my face. I really am that entrenched in this medium. But I adore the community of the games industry as much as the medium itself. It’s a friendly, enthusiastic, passionate, creative, and thriving space, and I feel exceedingly lucky to make a living being part of it.
And you can bet I’ll be at every industry event I can manage. So, I’ll hope to meet you at a conference or gathering soon. Keep an eye on TheGamingEconomy Twitter feed for updates on when we’ll be attending an event. Equally, if you can endure my constant enthusing about gaming and my other hobbies – yes, I really am a 2018 UK yo-yo champion as well as a grown adult – feel free to say hello on my personal Twitter feed.
I look forward to getting to know as many of you as possible – and please, if you have ideas on topics you’d like covered, thoughts about how we’re doing, or even want to contribute an opinion piece, do reach out. I’m here to serve you, and collaborate with you. So get in touch, and here’s to the future of TheGamingEconomy.