Before we start estimating the market size for game engines, let's decide exactly what we want to find out - is it the VALUE game engines generate, or the REVENUE?
REVENUE is the about of money spent on game engines, VALUE is how much value, in dollar-terms, game engines create. VALUE is the REVENUE potential for the game engine industry. (Note: it is possible for REVENUE to exceed VALUE if the value chain around the industry has the capacity for it.) REVENUE is determined by how much of that value is captured by game engine companies today.
For example, you hire a personal assistant to help you draft an email. You pay the assistant $25 for drafting the email, which would have taken you half an hour if you were to write it yourself during your work day. If you make $120 per hour during work hours, the personal assistant has saved you half an hour - which has the value of $120x0.5hr=$60 (VALUE generated by assistant). However you only paid the assistant $25 for the work (REVENUE).
If you are like me, you spend your days with images of what can be in your head. You see things morphing into newer things. You find the possibilities of what can be created anew exhilarating. The missing imagination in mundane everyday things not only bores you, it infuriates you. You know it can be made better; they can all be, and you find it difficult to stop wanting to build, to shape, to create.
Due to an unforeseen event, I am staying in a village in the heart of England for an extended period of time. For someone who has lived in big cities primarily, the village life is new to me. The buzzing streets and rush hour traffic jams are replaced by endless green fields, horses on the road, and farm/wild animals. A different way of life, and plenty of lessons for the technology-obsessed me:
Running games on mobile are popular; Canabalt, Temple Run, Mirror’s Edge are great examples of the genre (we even prototyped one ourselves in 2011). The basic premise of an endless running game is simple. You run sideways or forward continuously, and avoid obstacles by tapping and swiping to jump and turn. The game is over when you run into an obstacle, and it gradually gets harder with increasing speed. The goal is to survive as long as possible and collect as many shiny objects as possible.
We love our smartphones and tablets and thin light air-inspired laptops.
We love the shiny new app that makes everything faster, easier, cheaper, and more stable, more secure, more intuitive.
We love the new features with the upcoming version that promises to automate everything we don't want to do, to turn us effortlessly into amazing artists, photographers, programmers, designers, to create things magically with a click of a button.
I just got back from Demetri Martin's book reading & signing at Elliot Bay Bookstore. I went because I love the way he thinks, the wacky perspective on things, the comedy. But I learned more about his creative process, and that what makes great creatives is a power and complete control over one's work, in combination with great vulnerability - the part that makes it human, the part that makes it authentic.
You see Angry Birds generating millions of downloads, becoming an international sensation out of nowhere. You say to yourself, heck, I can make that too. So off you go, building the next physics based puzzle game with cutesy animal characters. Three months after the release, you realize your game is not going to be the next Angry Birds. You run out of steam and capital and close up shop.
I had an anger inside, much like Nick in the sitcom New Girl with a persistent, almost comical, fire burning internally.
It took me some time to realize what I was angry about - an anger stemmed from the sharp contrast I’ve observed between the Opportunists and the Craftsmen.
I operate in two related yet different worlds - the passionate, enthusiastic intellectual developer community, and the financially motivated fast-talking business world. Each group has its own sub-groups and individualities, and some developers are very business-savvy while some business people are very product focused. But if you pick one person from each group and put them in a room, it wouldn’t take you half a second to know which world they belong. In the developer community, people talk about technology, tools, interaction and experience design. In the business community, people talk about money, markets, and opportunities.