I’ve long had close connections with the games industry, though it’s around eight years since I was full-time employed within it- and it’s always been very volatile.
Historically, this has been for a few major reasons:
- Developers are always chasing technology, pitching their code ahead for an upcoming platform, or to sit happily alongside an as-yet-unseen generation of software.
- The games industry has grown big very rapidly- large budgets mean risk, and (certainly from ~1990-2005) those in charge have had to adjust from their beginnings as a lonely coder in a back bedroom to large studio boss.
- The output isn’t particularly stable. Most games don’t make money and publishers spread this gamble across titles, hoping to have picked one that goes supernova.
- Publishers and developers have a complicated, usually antagonistic relationship with each other.
Alongside this, there have been shifts in distribution. From self-duplication to industrial scale- and now to digital. This latest shift also brings questions about how to market, since retail is declining and word-of-mouth via internet channels is a large and complicated animal to harness.
It’s genuinely depressing to see large cutbacks at good studios, particularly ones who are creating games for games players rather than pandering to risk expectations. It’s also deflating to see a studio in trouble because of unlucky planning decisions.
Good luck to those who will be ‘formerly Denki’, and to the studio itself. I hope you can rebuild.
To announce the news clearly and openly on a corporate blog is admirable- I’ve heard too many times of staff being led blindfolded to the guillotine. More info from Denki’s blog post.