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Friday, July 25, 2008

The Absurdity of Game Publisher "Competition"

Steve Cole Observes:

Can you imagine General Motors calling up Ford Motor Company and saying "Hey, where can I get a good cheap price on steel this week?" or Apple calling Microsoft and saying "Tell me how your new chip works" or Xerox calling Canon and saying "I can't make it to the trade show in San Diego next month. If I ship one of my printers there, will you display it in your booth for me?

And yet, this happens every day in the variously called adventure game, wargame, or roleplaying game industry.

I just saw a note on an industry mailing list where some other game company I don't even know asked "Does anyone have a good fast box-making company for my new product packaging?" and within five minutes he had two good contacts from me and three more from two other people.

This industry we have is unique. None of us, not one of us, wants to be a game publisher. We want to be game DESIGNERS and cannot get any other publisher to print our games. So, it's publish or get out of the industry. Being amateur businessmen, we pass around this kind of information all the time. Where to get good prices on die cutting, box making, printing, plastic pieces, whatever. I have had game companies buy some of my empty boxes and some of my surplus stock of packing foam. It's no big deal.

We don't compete because it's all about ideas. I am the only one doing star trek games so it's not like the guy who may now use my favorite box company is going to be "competing" for shelf space with his star trek game.