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GDC08: Bigger is not always better

Chris Chester

One good thing about being in such a net-savvy industry is that when you miss something, like the GDC presentation by NetDevil's Scott Brown and Hermann Peterscheck, somebody will inevitably put the powerpoint online for everybody to see. The NetDevil guys, currently working on Jumpgate Evolution and LEGO Universe, are well-known for their honesty and candor. So when they lay out their model for the future of the MMO industry, we're inclined to listen to them. Their premise is that the exponential growth that has been observed by many parties within the MMO space may in fact be somewhat illusory. While revenues for the industry as a whole continue to sky-rocket, the money and subscription numbers continue to be concentrated in only a few, extremely successful games.

Take one look at all the canceled titles and commercial failures that litter the landscape. They have a point. The advice that they lay out for burgeoning developers is to forgo huge teams, shiny graphics, fancy rec-rooms, and other accoutremonts for a lean team, lower minimum spec, sensible work conditions, and a realistic development timetable that won't lead to costly delays. Perhaps most importantly, they say that trying to take on the big boys with a $4 million budget is tantamount to suicide. Smaller development teams can actually make more money than big budget titles in the long-run if they find their niche and stick to it. Or as one slide says, "A little greatness is always better than a lot of mediocrity."

Gallery: GDC08: Small teams big dreams with Netdevil | 18 Photos

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