Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Product design as it relates to love of product

I want to take a moment to speak about product design since this article has inspired me. A five step program to move beyond the game geek culture

It's been posted on slashdot and probably has a few game related blogs talking about it. One of the points he highlights, product design, really deserves a bit more space. Quote "Product design is a fascinating, successful field practiced by almost every consumer industry except game development. It deals with creating products for a vast and ever shifting spectrum of customers and seeks to meet needs that they may not even have expressed."

Anyone who watches the Apprentice will probably notice that a lot of the times the would-be-apprentices are given tasks in fields which they know nothing about, and yet if they succeed they do so based on basic principles of business, marketing, customer relationships etc. Often in our industry we believe that the love of games, and the belief in our product is enough. We'll make the games and then hope there's a market for it, since hell *we* like it (that is if you're not making something based on an established genre or IP). I don't think many people in game dev even look at the market at think hmmmm.. what would people like to play? I, myself didn't even really give it much thought before I read this article. Sure there were things I would love to try and make if I had a AAA team behind me, but never purely from the perspective of the consumer.

It is also the ability to divorce one's self from your product/market that has distinguished many great businessmen from legendary ones. I'm sure Bill Gates isn't much of a gamer, yet Microsoft is involved in games. One of the comments in that article talk about how people who like to make RPG's shouldn't go out and make Deer Hunter. This is a valid point. However there is usually a failure to at least understand if the RPG guys even like Deer Hunter. If they do great, they can bring many things to the table including a fresh perspective to the Deer Hunter umm *genre*, but at least ask. Just because someone has a proven track record in one area doesn't mean they can't do another, this is another basic tenet of business the game industry is ignorant of, if someone can make or like games, they can make any type of game since all games are the same? Most definitely not, but if the RPG guys don't like Deer Hunter or feel insulted that they get put on it then it won't result in a very good product, money gets wasted, time gets wasted, shelf space gets cluttered up, someone who isn't into games playing it for the first time will probably think all games are crap. You get the idea. In theory anyone with a modicum of business sense would realise that something like that is a bad investment from the get go.. again *in theory*...


Post a Comment

<< Home