1. Proposal

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST

Investigating the survival strategies of “Small and Agile” game studios

Jonathan Hallier

ABSTRACT

It is generally assumed that large, ‘AAA’1 video games are only feasible by large development studios. With the rising costs of ‘next-generation’ technology forcing many smaller studios out of business; the aim of this project is to examine the extent to which the “Small and Agile approach” can enable small Independent Game Developers (IGDs) to remain competitive, continue to innovate, and ultimately survive.

It will be proposed that by using case study, literature review, and interview methods, the suitability and effectiveness of the “Small and Agile” approach will be assessed regarding IGDs in the ‘AAA’ market. This will involve critically analysing the application of Agile Manufacturing in the relatively under researched area of the video games industry. Much of the data, therefore, will be gathered from non-academic sources, such as the opinions of industry professionals. This will be contrasted with academic theories and on agile manufacturing and case study data from other related areas, such as software engineering and small to medium-size enterprise (SME) formation. The research will then attempt to identify and recommend solutions to the key production issues which have to be resolved for an IGD studio to successfully implement the ‘Small and Agile’ approach, and survive in the ‘AAA’ next-generation market.

INTRODUCTION

[The] creative life has gone out of the industry. And an industry that has no creative spark to it is just marking time to die. …. I hear all sorts of arguments as to why “we don’t need to change our spots, we’re doing just fine the way we are.” And in fact, and this is a fundamental point, nobody changes unless they’re in pain. And the industry is not in pain. So it’s going to keep doing the same thing until it hurts” (Crawford, C. 2006)

Overview – The problem for Independent Game Developers

The tone of recent games industry conferences and insider publications suggests an uncertain future for Independent Game Developers (IGDs). It would seem that, as the games industry matures, the majority of IGDs are struggling to survive. While there have been several financially successful studios, such as id Software, Valve, and Epic Games; the general consensus is that the smaller IGDs are not able to compete with the financial resources of the growing number of publisher-owned development studios. Even successful developers, such as Rare, Lionhead, and BioWare, have sold off their studios to large publishers for substantial sums of money (Rogers, D, L. 2004.). Meanwhile, an increasing number of unsuccessful studios have either exited the ‘AAA’ market or gone out of business entirely. Consequently, survival has become the key topic at the various IGD conferences, raising concerns over rising production costs and consumer expectations (Costikyan, G. 2006).

The reason why IGDs are struggling is quite straightforward. Technology, competition, and consumer expectations are driving production costs to unfeasible levels. (Schoback, K. 2005). To be competitive, it is typically estimated that a next-generation, ‘AAA’ game will cost somewhere between $10m and $20m to develop. However, the total expenditure (including royalties, cost-of-goods, marketing, distribution, licensing, and so on) is closer to $60 million. Regardless of the rising cost; the wholesale price and release schedules for next-generation games are expected to remain the same as the current-generation of games — driven by competition consumer demand. Therefore, in order for games publishers to recoup their expenditure and make a reasonable profit, it is generally accepted that a ‘triple-A’ quality game has to sell-through at least 1 million units worldwide (Schoback, K. 2005).

The implications for IGDs, and the games industry as whole, are quite severe. As there is arguably no reliable methodology for guaranteeing a commercially successful game (Ip, B., Jacobs, G. 2006), critics have argued that most publishers are becoming considerably more risk averse (Crawford, C. 2006). Often, low-risk, formulaic, derivative projects such as tie-ins and sequels to previously successful game and film franchises are preferred over higher-risk original and innovative games. (Miller S. 2004)

Furthermore, it has been claimed that publishers use their financial leverage to ensure that any potential losses are subsidised by other parties, such as the developers. (Charne, J. 2003) As a result, only experienced IGDs with an impressive portfolio of commercially successful games can negotiate favourable contracts and be given the freedom to pursue their own game projects. (Roch, S. 2004)

Perhaps more disturbing, as the ‘ea_spouce’ article highlights (EA_spouse, 2004); many development studios are moving towards a ‘mass-production’ style of working practise to cope with unrealistic production schedules. Traditionally, IGDs are paid advances by their publisher upon the competition and delivery of predetermined development milestones (Miller S. 2003). However, critics have pointed out that this system neglects the iterative and creative nature of games software development. Publishers mitigate this risk by holding back the largest payments for the most significant deadlines, thus retaining their leverage over the developer and putting immense pressure on them to deliver. As a result, by linking payment with performance, many studios require their staff to work prolonged amounts of overtime, sometimes up to 80 hours a week (often unpaid), to meet the next milestone (ea_spouse, 2004). Not only does this style of working stifle creativity, motivation, and productivity; but it also raises serious concerns for the long-term health of the studio’s workforce.

Survival, therefore, hinges on the overall success of each project, and the ability for the studio to meet contractual milestones under less than ideal working conditions. Hence, new and small IGDs face considerably high barriers to entry in the games market, and further difficulty sustaining and developing their business. Perhaps it is not so surprising, then, that a successful development studio like Rare Ltd, would accept a $375 million deal to work exclusively for Microsoft Game Studios (Rogers, D, L. 2004.). The question this raises is what can IGDs do about it, and where does ‘small and agile’ approach fit in?

THE RESEARCH QUESTION

Specific Research Question

–To what extent will the “Small and Agile” approach ensure the future survival of Independent Developers of innovative ‘AAA’ video games?

The research question was determined from a number of factors. First, it was recognised that the games industry is facing a number of dilemmas, primarily the lack of innovation and the struggle of Independent Developers to compete in the ‘AAA’ market. While it would be interesting, and beneficial, to fully research all of the approaches undertaken by IGDs to overcome such challenges; time considerations required the scope of the research to be narrowed down to one specific approach.

Secondly, the “Small and Agile” approach is a relatively new concept for the games industry; which not only helps IGDs to survive, but does so by exploiting traits unique to small independent developers. This approach could be of significant interest to both the video games industry and academia in general, as it relies on unconventional and under researched principles.

Lastly, to justify the research, it was necessary to pick a research topic which was forward looking, and has wider implications for the industry as a whole; for which future study could be based.

Project Objectives

To fully address this research question the following objectives have been determined:

1.0. Examine the theoretical principles and past application of ‘Agile Production Manufacturing’ and ‘Small Focus’ in depth; and critically analyse their suitability to the mainstream video games market, with respect to the other options available to IGDs. 

2.1. Investigate how principles of the ‘Small and Agile’ approach might enable IGDs to develop both commercially and critically successful ‘AAA’ games; whilst lowering the cost, risk, and workload associated with such projects. 

2.2. Evaluate the new risks and challenges these principles pose for IGDs, at both team (micro) and company (macro) level.

2.3. Assess whether the “Small and Agile” model can give IGDs leverage over publishers; and to what extent this facilitates fairer contracts, equitable working agreements, and other business opportunities between IGDs and Publishers.

3.0. Hypothesise the overall impact of the ‘Small and Agile” movement, and whether or not it could shape the direction the industry; provide further opportunities to IGDs; and promote quality of life, design innovation, and excellence in video game production.

The first objective is designed to critically analyse the theoretical underpinning behind the “Small and Agile” approach in a broader context. The purpose is to draw from literature and case material from sources outside of the games industry, past and present, to provide a contextual basis for assessing the suitability of the approach.

The second objective concerns the practical application of the “Small and Agile” approach, in the specific context of the research topic. It is broken into three sub-parts, to fully assess the effectiveness of the approach and identify its limitations from different perspectives. The majority of the dissertation will be concerned with this objective.

The final objective is speculative. It is intended that the completed research project will not only answer the specific research question, but will also provide some insight to the direction of the ‘Small and Agile’ approach in a wider context, thus providing a foundation for future research.

Other objectives considered, but rejected for research, included: why companies choose to remain independent (as opposed to being publisher owned); what makes a commercially successful game; and the arguments for and against company growth. These questions are certainly relevant to the research area, but appeared not support the overall research or move the discussion forward.

The software development approach Agile Development (Scrum, extreme programming, etc) was not considered relevant for three reasons. First because it would increase the scope of the research exponentially. Arguably, Agile Development is worthy of its own research project. Secondly because, while agile development can play a part in the “Small and Agile” approach; it is not an essential component of it. Finally, the similarity in the terms agile development and agile production are likely to cause unwanted confusion for the reader.

LITERATURE REVIEW

[It’s] hard enough to make one hit game. Who in their right mind thinks they should try to make two or three hit games! And take my word for it, hit games are all that matters, assuming you run a studio that wants to become financially self-sufficient, and pry yourself away from the always pressing publisher thumb.” (Miller, 2004)

How can small independent game developers survive in a dynamic and rapidly changing environment, where costs, technology, and competition are rising? (Schoback, K. 2005) A climate where quality of life and financial security is low, and uncertainty and risk is high. How can IGDs exercise independence, creative control, and freedom when publisher consolidation appears to be the only viable option for security? (Rogers, D, L. 2004. ) Moreover, what future do video games have, as an entertainment medium, social movement, and potential art form; when innovation, originality, and creativity are considered ‘risky’ by publishers? (Philip, B. 2006,)

This problem is not helped given that video game production issues are frequently overlooked and under researched by academia. Presumably this is because it is a relatively new industry, and can often be disregarded as a sub-set of either the software development or entertainment industries. Perhaps also, the problem is partly rooted in the nature of games themselves. As Salen and Zimmerman observed (2004), despite their historical and cultural significance; ‘games’ and ‘play’ are still frequently disregarded as trivial activities unworthy of research; in comparison to other creative endeavours such as art, music, theatre, and film. This view can be reflected by society in general, as it has only been in very recent years that video games have become accepted by mainstream consumers. Furthermore, they note that, compared to other disciplines such as architecture; game design itself lacks the vocabulary to critically analyse games and explain how they function (Salen, K. Zimmerman, E. 2004).

With insufficient academic research in the production area; in order to examine and assess the research question, it is necessary to consider what IGDs themselves are doing to survive. Although we are primarily interested in the ‘Small and Agile’ approach, it is necessary to first consider some of the other options available to IGDs, for both contextual and comparative purposes.

Perhaps the most natural response to risk and financial uncertainty is gowth.

you can’t make a next-gen game with last-gen staffing levels. For Xbox 360, you need a lot of content. A lot of graphics, a lot of code, a lot of audio and a lot of people to make it. Bungie GREW. Faster than it ever had before.”(Bungie, LLC., 2007)

Professor David Storey (1994), a significant writer on the development of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), suggests that the key difference between small firms and large ones (besides physical size itself) is the greater likelihood for smaller companies to go out of business. Studies in the UK, Europe, and the USA, have shown that up to a third of new firms go out of business within their first three years of trading, and over two thirds within ten years. ( Barrow, C., et al. 2005) Storey suggests that firms not actively pursuing growth, expanding their customer base, or seeking new market opportunities were the most likely to go out of business in this time. ( Barrow, C., et al. 2005) (Storey, 1994)

Therefore, growth seems like a sensible strategy for most SMEs. However, the extent to which this is an effective long-term strategy is questionable. Just how does an IGD sustain long-term growth? Can growth generate other problems, such as organisation complexity; poor communication; and an increased staff overhead? Most importantly, does growth really address the problem of rising costs associated with technology? Clearly there are some complications with the strategy, as many IGDs are considering alternatives.

Some of the more creative solutions have revolved around a move away from the ‘AAA’ market (and the goal of achieving 1 million sales per game) to exploit emerging and niche markets. For instance, many IGDs are turning towards portable gaming platforms such as the Nintendo DS and mobile phone games. Others are having success developing ‘casual’ games distributed via the internet, for the PC, Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade, and Valve’s Steam online distribution platform. (Costikyan, G. 2006) Telltale Games (TTG), on the other hand, are trying to shift the perception of video games away from the ‘Hollywood movie’ analogy, and towards a broadcast television channel model. Instead of releasing large games on a yearly basis, they release smaller ‘episodes’ across a season.

Regardless of the method, the underline concept behind these movements is that simpler games can be just as fun and innovative as ‘AAA’ games, and hence, just as successful (Costikyan, G. 2006). This seems like an ideal solution, since these games can be developed quickly and on a smaller budget than their ‘next-generation’ counterparts. However, if Moore’s Law (broadly applied to games technology) holds true; then it could be argued that these coping strategies are merely delaying the inevitable – technology will still catch up with them (Moore, 1965). This can be illustrated by comparing the technology and scope of games designed for the original Nintendo Gameboy, to their modern equivalents on the Nindendo DS and Sony PSP. Even though portable games technology is behind consoles, it’s still moving forward. Furthermore, the question of whether or not such companies can still compete in the mainstream ‘AAA’ market still remains unanswered.

What is the Small and Agile approach?

These varied approaches to IGD survival certainly warrant further research themselves; however, the most ambitious response is the “Small and Agile” approach. (Drake. S. 2007. ) (Schoback K. 2007.) This method is interesting because it applies principles of ‘agility’ and ‘small focus’ at both team and company level, to take advantage of rapidly changing market conditions. It allows IGDs to develop innovative, content-rich, next-generation video games, with a small workforce. Rather than fear technological change, they can adapt and embrace it. (Seppänen, L. 2007.)

The “small and agile” approach is derived from a relatively new development in manufacturing called Agile Production. This area has attracted significant academic interest because research shows that in some industries, agile production may supersede the current manufacturing orthodoxy of lean/just-in-time (JIT) and mass production. (Hormozi, 2001) The notion of organisation ‘agility’ developed in the early 1990s when it was observed that traditional manufacturing firms were facing difficulties adapting to rapidly changing market conditions. In comparison, the agile firm is characterised as one which can “reconfigure operations, processes, and business relationships efficiently” to react quickly to, and exploit, changes in the market environment (Hormozi, 2001). Furthermore, by incorporating marketing into the design and production processes; an agile firm is able to quickly produce a high quality product, customised to the exact needs of the client.

The ‘small’ component of the approach is more straightforward, but slightly more controversial, since it rejects the conventional business wisdom of growth. While supporters of the ‘small and agile’ approach acknowledge the risks expressed by Storey (1994); they argue that to remain agile and innovative, it is necessary to remain small and focused (Schoback K. 2007.) (Drake. S. 2007.). Accordingly, ‘small and agile’ firms exploit the intellectual power of their employees, rather than the number (Hormozi, 2001); by rigorously selecting only the best candidates to join the team. The small team size also promotes efficient and fluid communication channels within the organisation, enabling the agile firm to quickly steer the company in new directions, as market opportunities emerge. Lastly, small and agile firms take advantage of globalisation, by strategically aligning themselves with other agile companies worldwide to form a ‘virtual corporation’. Hence, a virtual corporation can dominate the market, by channelling the specialised skills and expertise of several small independent firms, to produce a successful product that mutually benefits them all. (Hormozi, 2001)

At this stage, the appropriateness of Agile Production to the games industry may be becoming clearer; and already several small IGDs, such as Remedy Entertainment and Wideload Games, have begun to adopt its principles. (Drake. S. 2007) (Seropian, A. 2006.) However, there is no credible research available concerning the specific application of agile manufacturing to the games production context. How agile production can be successfully adopted by IGDs, and to what extent it can address their dilemma needs to be examined in more detail.

While some developers, such as Bungie (2007) argue that studio growth is necessary to develop next-generation games; many larger studios lose money during the period of downtime in-between projects, because they are paying wages for unused/auxiliary staff. (Ford, S. 2006.) In comparison, small and agile studios, such as Remedy and Wideload, can put this money towards their next game, reducing the dependence of publishers for funding.

Indeed, Remedy strongly asserts the value of investing this money into outsourcing and middleware providers, to fill production gaps in their core team. They consider the recruitment of full-time staff, for generic aspects of game development, as an unnecessary cost when there are more experienced specialist companies willing to provide this service.

Cars, for instance, will always look like cars whether the 3D models were produced at Remedy or someplace else, so why waste the time of key personnel on modelling them?”(Pelit Magazine, 2006)

Instead, they carefully hire experts in the key areas identified as central to the success of the game (programming, art, design) in order to develop a ‘critical mass of talent’. (Dubé L. 1998) (Seppänen, L. 2007.) This application of the ‘virtual corporation’ theory of agile production aims to spread the workload across several other specialist companies; displacing the physical burden of developing a ‘next-generation’ game away from core development team. This enables an IGD like Remedy to retain its focus of “shipping a masterpiece”; giving them the flexibility to pursue original and creative design directions, as the opportunities arise (Seppänen, L. 2007.). In other words, by focusing on ‘quality’ and ‘innovation’, an IGD can increase the likelihood of making a commercially successful game (Miller S. 2004,). From there, a strong portfolio of successful games can be developed, giving an IGD some leverage over the publisher, allowing them to secure more equitable contracts. (Philip, B. 2006,) (Roch, S. 2004)

An examination of these issues suggests that the “Small and Agile” approach can help IGDs in theory. However, we have barely scratched the surface; and few of these principles, while sounding promising, have not been fully researched within the context of the games industry. Therefore, to answer the research question, we need to go beyond the literature to discover what is really happening in practise. For example, can the “Small and Agile” approach only work in a unique set of circumstances? What new problems and risks could this approach create for small IGDs, and how can they be avoided? What are IGDs experiences with outsourcing companies? Indeed, what is the publisher’s view of this approach? Above all, will it secure the long-term future survival for IGDs; and if it can, what impact will this have on the video games industry as whole? These questions form the basis of the research methodology.

THE RESEARCH METHOD

1. Research design

Using case study, literature review, and interview methods the suitability and effectiveness of the “Small and Agile” approach will be assessed regarding IGDs competing in the ‘AAA’ market. The research to be carried out will be of a qualitative nature; that is to say, the purpose of the research is not to carry out an experiment, gather statistical data, or produce a report. The questions and their associated objectives are strictly of an analytical nature, exploring the attitudes, theories, expectations, and experiences of the “small and agile” approach, with regard to its application in game production. As this kind of data is prone to subjectivity, and cannot be controlled per-se; it is not the intention of the research to measure it. Furthermore, because the ‘small and agile’ approach is a new development, there are insufficient IGDs available to form large enough sample groups. Instead, the data will be critically examined, by considering different perspectives from a variety of sources; and weighing up the various arguments to come to a conclusion and make insightful predictions concerning the future application of this approach.

2. Strategy and framework

During the preparation of this proposal a large amount of preliminary literature has already been gathered on topics including agile production manufacturing; independent game developers; the current state and future predictions of the games industry; team and business structures; and other material which may bear relevance to the question. To begin with, in January 2008, if not before, it will be necessary to examine this material in more detail, and ascertain its relevance to answering the proposed research question. It may also be necessary to collect more literature, if there remain any unanswered questions.

This literature will be supported by available case study material from the games industry, illustrating some of the practical considerations of implementing the ‘small and agile’ approach. The website Gamasutra, in particular, will be used because it contains a large database of game development ‘post-mortems’. A post-mortem, in this context, is a retrospective document, describing some of the challenges faced on a specific game development project, and the approach the studio took to overcome them. While inherently biased, game development post-mortems provide a crucial insight into the area of games production, which is otherwise unfilled by academic research. For the purpose of this study, it will be necessary to identify post-mortems by IGDs which are attempting the “small and agile” approach (or variants of it); as well as some which are not; for a useful analysis and comparison.

Lastly, it is the intention of the study to supplement the literature and case evidence, with interviews, where feasible. Once the theoretical basis of the first project objective is established, the views and opinions of various industry professionals from a variety of perspectives can be considered in more depth. The relationship with publishers, for example, is often portrayed negatively. However, to present a fair and balanced argument, it will be necessary to consider their perspective towards ‘small and agile’ development studios as wel.

3. Data collection and Analysis

Specific data collection will come from a variety of sources. Relevant textbooks and academic journals, where available, will be prioritised over other sources, because they are put through more rigorous assessment procedures before being published. This is especially relevant for journal articles concerning Agile Production Manufacturing. For games industry specific materials, the websites Gamasutra.com and IGDA.org will primarily be used because they offer a large archive of articles, interviews, and case studies concerning the production and business issues faced by the games industry, from a range of different perspectives. While not academic, they are by far the best equivalent, and provided some critical objectivity is used, should not be overlooked. Other sources, such as the personal websites of notable industry figures will also be used, if they are considered to be making a relevant contribution to the research. Lastly, interviews will be conducted primarily via electronic mail (email). This enables a wider range of participants to be consulted around the world. Naturally however, several ethical considerations will have to be made, which are outlined towards the end of this proposal.

4. Limitations

First, the “small and agile” approach is a new development, and as we have already highlighted, there lacks a reliable and valid way to measure it in a controlled and balanced manner. This will be compensated for by amassing considerable research from other related areas, such as Agile Production Manufacturing.

Secondly, because the available academic research in this specific area is minimal; a significant amount of the research will be based on the views, attitudes, and arguments of games industry professionals. Therefore, some of the views expressed will be prone to expressing their subjective opinions and perspectives, rather than fact. Consequently, it will be necessary to take extra caution in presenting a fair and balanced argument.

Finally, for both of these two reasons, many of the conclusions drawn from the research will likely be of an analytical and speculative nature, and subject to the limitations of the research. As a result, a considerable degree of thoroughness and objectivity will be required of the researcher.

It should also be briefly noted that the research question specifically focuses on the ‘small and agile’ approach as response to the problems faced by IGDs – other approaches will be looked at for comparative purposes, but not fully explored.

SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY

As we have seen, there is little to no academic coverage of the unique challenges facing independent game development studios. However, we must remember that, historically, it’s still an important area, as many of the successful companies today began from humble beginnings – epitomised by the bedroom and garage development studios of the late 1980s. Beyond this, the continued survival of independents may make an important contribution to the direction and vigour of the games industry. Not least because they may still play a key role in driving innovation, originality and creativity forward; possibly leading to the creation of new game genres and sub-genres. Thus the implications of this research are relevant and meaningful to both academia and the games industry.

What role the “Small and Agile” approach will play in this, has yet to be determined; and this is the primary purpose behind the research being proposed. What we can tell at this stage is that this area is perceived as cutting edge; largely untested; and often controversial for rejecting conventional business norms and accepted the orthodoxy of games production. We also know that the stakes are extremely high for those directly engaged in the “small and agile approach”. It’s almost too easy to forget that companies are gambling the futures, financial security, and the quality of life of their employees (and their families), with this approach. By looking at the past and present; and by contrasting theoretical principles with case and interview materials; it is hoped that the resulting predictions and recommendations of the research will aid IGDs in making an informed choice, before committing all of their company resources to an under researched strategy. Last but not least, it is hoped that the study will contribute to the growing research of Agile Manufacturing, in the context of a unique and exciting industry,

ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS – CONSENT, ACCESS AND PARTICIPANTS’ PROTECTION

As the investigation primarily concerns itself with literature and case study material, it is unlikely that this qualitative aspect will pose any ethical problems. While some of the principles of the ‘small and agile’ approach have been described as ‘controversial’, this term is used strictly within the context of ‘going against established business orthodoxies’. Outside of this context, the actual issues raised by the research, while important to those they concern, are unlikely to cause offense or distress.

However, the interview component of research will need to adhere to the University of Abertay Dundee’s ethical codes of conduct. Particular attention will be paid to ensure that participants are fully informed of the research project and have the option to decline/withdraw at any time. Confidentiality and data protection will also be respected; and the option for anonymity will be offered before any interviews take place. It is anticipated that, along with requiring the participant to sign a consent form; the researcher may have to sign a non-disclosure agreement, to protect trade secrets of companies accidentally being revealed during the course of the research. In the event of this, advice with the relevant university staff will be consulted, before any formal interviews are conducted.

It is not expected that health and safety concerns will apply to either the participant or researcher; as it is anticipated that most interviews will take place via email. However, should the need arise, reasonable care will be used to ensure the health and safety of the researcher, the participants, and any other incidental parties.

References and Appendices

Barrow, C., et al. 2005. Enterprise Development, [s.l.]: Thomson Learning pp109-112

Bungie, LLC. 2007. The History of Bungie. [online] Bungie.net. Available from: http://www.bungie.net/Inside/content.aspx?link=HistoryofBungie_p8 [Accessed November 16, 2007]

Charne, J. 2003,Famous Last Words, [online] IGDA. Available from: http://www.igda.org/columns/lastwords/lastwords_Oct03.php[Accessed on December 6 2007]

Costikyan, G. 2006. Games, genres, and why independent games are vital [online] Texas Independent Games Conference. Available from: http://www.costik.com/presentations/texasindie06.ppt [Accessed on December 6 2007]

Crawford, C. 2006. Video Games are Dead: A Chat with Storytronics Guru Chris Crawford. [online] Gamasutra. Available from: http://gamasutra.com/features/20060612/murdey_01.shtml [Accessed Novemeber 30, 2007,]

Drake. S. 2007. The small and agile approach [online] The Escapist. Available from: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_109/1332-The-Small-And-Agile-Approach {Accessed December 6, 2007]

Dubé L. 1998. Teams in packaged software development. The Software Corp. experience. Information Technology & People. 11 (1), pp. 36-61.

EA_spouse’. 2004. EA: The Human Story.[online] Available from: http://ea-spouse.livejournal.com/274.html [Accessed November 30, 2007]

Ford, S. 2006. What’s wrong with the games industry (and how to make it right) [online] Gamasutra. Available from: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/1804/whats_wrong_with_the_games_.php?print=1 [Accessed on December 6 2007]

Hormozi, A. M. 2001. Agile manufacturing: the next logical step. Benchmarking: An International Journal. 8 (2), pp. 132-143.

Ip, B., Jacobs, G. 2006. Quality in the games industry: an analysis of customer perceptions. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management 23 (5), pp. 531-546.

Miller,S. 2003, Royal Tease, [online] Game Matters. Available from: http://dukenukem.typepad.com/game_matters/2003/12/royalties_and_a.html[Accessed on December 6 2007]

Miller S. 2004, Going once… going twice… sold!,[online] Game Matters. Available from: http://dukenukem.typepad.com/game_matters/2004/03/going_once_goin.html [Accessed November 28, 2007]

Moore, G. 1965. Cramming More Components Onto Integrated Circuits. Electronics, 38 (8).[online] Available from: http://www.intel.com/museum/archives/history_docs/mooreslaw.htm [Accessed December 6th, 2007]

Pelit Magazine, 2006, Birth Process Of Alan Wake.[online] Available from: http://www.alanwake.com/forum/showpost.php?p=18698&postcount=1 [Accessed November 28, 2007]

Philip, B. 2006, How important are independents? [online] Game Matters. Available from: http://dukenukem.typepad.com/game_matters/2006/04/how_important_a.html[Accessed on December 6 2007]

Roch, S. 2004. The New Studio Model [online] Gamasutra. Available from: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/2155/the_new_studio_model.php [Accessed on December 6 2007]

Rogers, D, L. 2004. The end game: How top developers sold their studios part one [online] Gamasutra. Available from: http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20040303/rogers_pfv.htm [Accessed on December 6 2007]

Salen, K., Zimmerman, E. 2004. Rules of play: game design fundementals, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press pp1-3

Schoback, K. 2005. The economics of a next-gen game [online] IGDA. Available from: http://www.igda.org/biz/GDC05_NextGenEconomics.ppt [Accessed on December 6 2007]

Schoback K. 2007.Nordic: Remedy’s Myllyrinne on large games from small teams [online] Gamasutra. Available from: http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=13988 [Accessed on December 6 2007]

Seropian, A. 2006. Postmortem: Wideload Games’ Stubbs the Zombie[online] Gamasutra. Available from: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/1846/postmortem_wideload_games_stubbs_.php?print=1 [Accessed on December 6 2007]

Seppänen, L. 2007. The future of innovative studios: team and tools behind Alan Wake [online]. Available from: http://shinyidol.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!3323B4AFE60951C5!174.entry?_c=BlogPart [Accessed November 28, 2007]

Storey, D. J. 1994. Understanding the small business sector, [s.l.]:Thomson Learning

1 The Games equivalent to the Hollywood ‘blockbuster’ film; characterised by high production values and the utilisation of the latest computer technology.

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(c) 2007 – 2013 Jonathan Hallier

Part 2: SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST – Investigating the survival strategies of “Small and Agile” game studios

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