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The difficult balance of creating games in Brazil

Brazil has a newborn but thrilling game development industry, with it's own challenges that are not for the faint of heart. Does that make us brazilian game developers crazy, passionate, or both?

As you can assess with any Brazilian friend, creating games in Brazil isn’t easy. Not that it’s easy elsewhere, but our local industry is relatively young and have so many particular challenges, that we still have a long way to call it “mature”. But, as tough as it may seem, in my opinion this leads to an interesting side effect: almost all our Brazilian game developers fellows share an undeniable passion about what they do, and are gaining experiences that will prove valuable in the long term.

We have a lot of articles in career websites about self-motivation and how one should pursue his or her own happiness in their jobs by doing something that they love to. Sure, most of us (me included) have bills to pay and need our jobs for survival reasons, but in a deeper level we human beings want recognition for a work well done, and can only achieve that by loving what we do. Myself, I love publishing games and would like to do that all my life, so I better think how to get good financial recognition for my team efforts so I can provide for my family and keep the dream going.

The point is that by having a newborn industry, Brazil doesn’t offer that many opportunities for people who love developing games to have high financial returns – be it as an employer or an entrepreneur. There are remarkable exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of Brazilian game developers either give up their dreams after the first or second attempt of self-publishing, or gravitate to other activities like corporate software development – which pay better but give much less satisfaction to them.

In my opinion, the paradox and challenge that Game Development brings is that it is, at its core, a “Creative Industry” and as the name itself implies, good games (and companies) need a very high degree of artistic creativity to succeed, as much as it needs financial and enterprise structures (after all, it IS an industry).

It’s a little bit sad to see here in Brazil most people gravitating strongly towards one end of this equation – talented people or teams that value only the artistic side of games, and by thinking that “money is dirty” and not planning their efforts (and not accepting help from outside people or companies), killing their own opportunities of doing games for a living; and on the other side, companies and investors that started to hear about how gaming companies are very successful in other countries, and without a single bit of passion trying to dominate the market only by the power of money.

My vision is that the answer, as is the case of almost everything in life, lies in the balance of the two approaches. Having seen so many efforts fail in the Brazilian market, the ones that I saw succeed all share this great equilibrium of passion for videogames and a strong sense of professionalism and entrepreneurship, in a good way. These companies and indies are starting to get worldwide attention, and my personal opinion is that if they had to overcome such big challenges locally, going global now is going to be a boss fight that they will win with extra lives to spare – if they keep their professionalism and their passion.

 

 

This article is inspired by a longer, deeper portuguese-brazilian article by the same author that was originally published in the BR Jogos website.

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