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Swen Vincke on why Larian isn't making Facebook games

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Swen Vincke on why Larian isn't making Facebook games

Editorial - posted by Zed on Wed 8 August 2012, 13:14:45

Tags: Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

Swen Vincke of Larian Studios has updated his blog with an entry called Seeking the Golden Path. A journalist got Swen to think about low budget vs. high budget, and why Larian has chosen to remain in the AAA-playing field. Why are they afraid of switching to a low budget market? Here's why:

Oversimplifying and slightly misrepresenting things, this reasoning is what lead to the following business strategies being implemented in the past: Quality of X360 too high for you? No problem, make a DS game. Quality too high there too? Try making an Iphone game. Can’t manage that either? Well how about HTML5 ? That getting too crowded? Perhaps it’s time for a serious game? Too tough a market? Have you tried gamifcation? Etc…

I’m only half-kidding, because the track records of many developers who disappeared from that big game-industry-map they send around each year (which doesn’t include Larian for some stupid reason), indeed show that several of them followed the strategy sketched here, and then perished…

Faced with more complicated and thus more expensive development as a result of technological innovation, the survival strategy these developers adopted was to look for the path of least resistance, preferably in growing markets, in the vain hope of making it big there. Admittedly, this worked for some, typically the pioneers, but in most cases it didn’t work at all, especially when inevitably the competition in those markets started increasing.

Larian did exactly the opposite last time we had a generation shift. Instead of turning our eyes to simpler things, we decided to go full monty and dived blindfolded into next-gen-console-development-hell, creating the monster that was Divinity II: Ego Draconis, and eventually polymorphed that into Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga. That we burned ourselves pretty badly in the process shouldn’t come as a surprise, but in hindsight, it wasn’t such a bad strategy.​

He's got a point. How many developers have fallen off the radar because they've chosen to switch to markets where the audience doesn't really give a shit and the developers are basically marketing agencies? Imagine where Brian Fargo would be without Kickstarter.

Read the rest of Swen's blog here.

There are 41 comments on Swen Vincke on why Larian isn't making Facebook games

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