Democratizing Game Development
There was a day in the not-so-distant past when developing a video game required a team of programmers, artists, musicians, and more. Expensive software and equipment were needed. And required budgets towered far higher than what any average person could afford.
Those days are over.
The past twenty years have brought innumerable changes to the video game market, but none has been quite so revolutionary as the democratization of game development. Today, it’s possible for a single indie game developer to create a full featured video game experience with almost no budget at all.
Any doubters only have to look at the story of Stardew Valley and its creator, Eric Barone, to see what’s possible today. Barone single handedly developed his award winning game, creating every sprite, song, and piece of dialog. Since its release in 2016, his game has gone on to sell more than 15 million copies. Those sales numbers are better than some AAA titles.
But Barone’s story isn’t unique. Thanks to the democratization of game development, indie game creators are becoming the norm rather than the exception. And this is something that the game industry as a whole has begun embracing.
David Helgason, the founder of Unity Technologies, has been open about his vision to “democratize game development, and to develop technology and business models for the next generation of the games industry.” Unity has played a major role in the democratization of video games, putting robust game development tools into the hands of anyone with a computer. But Unity hasn’t been the only player in this revolution. Microsoft has also thrown their weight behind the movement, launching the ID@Azure program. This program makes “it possible for indie developers to get free access to our tools and support, and any developer can participate whether they have existing tools or if they’re just getting started.”
But Unity and Microsoft aren’t the end of this move towards democratization in the game development space. They’re only the beginning.
Blockchain technology and the innovations it’s given birth to are poised to make game development flatter and more accessible than ever before. Blockchain-based video games — including play-to-earn games — are putting control of game development fully into the hands of players. By offering players the chance to purchase unique game-based tokens, thereby providing them with membership to the game’s decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), blockchain games make the complete democratization of games possible. The future of a game’s development will be in the hands of the players as they vote on key decisions, from which players to include and how they’ll be designed, to which levels or quests to create. There’s even the possibility of giving players the chance to create unique content for the game and for the entire community to vote on its inclusion.
While this may sound like a far off future to many people, it’s already happening in hundreds of games launching on platforms like Starter.xyz. There, users can discover all kinds of blockchain-based games, investing in them and getting a voice in their DAOs.
Thanks to the democratization of video game development, the future of the industry looks brighter than ever. It’s a future that looks to offer more opportunities to play and create than ever before. And it’s already here.