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This Developer's Life: Games in Education Summit Part 2...And More!

Alright, so this week I ended up talking a lot more about the recession and our industry's response than I did about GES. Pittsburgh will do that to you...

This Developer’s Life: Games in Education Summit Part 2…

Dear Reader:

Whew…we left off last week I think we had just gotten through with talking about my panel at the Games in Education Summit, now for the fun bit.

(Actually scratch that…this article turned out to be mostly about other things.   Funny how they get away from you like that…)

Detroit Cobras

That night we all packed up and piled over to Mr. Small’s Theater, this incredible de-consecrated church in the middle of homestead, to see the Detroit Cobras.  I’d go into full detail, but as this blog is supposed to be vaguely related to the games industry, I’ll keep it short.  Suffice it to say they were AWESOME.

If you’re ever at one of these things and have a taste for rock n’ roll, hit me up.  We usually find a way to drag the young and the fabulous in this industry (and the old and the fabulous to that matter) to a concert whenever we’re out. 

(I’ve gone back to referring to us as we.  This is what happens when I try and pen these things at 4am)

TORNADO

So I’m getting ready to leave Pittsburgh and there’s a freakin’ tornado.  Yup, conical air goin’ nuts.  So being brilliant, what do we all do?  Go storm chasing. 

My last night in Pittsburgh was filled with hail the size of chicken eggs, twenty five hundred lightning strikes per ten minutes (in the county) and massive flash flooding.  Were it not for the damage it did to the city, I’d say it was great…

It was like The Pitt, only with more Troggs. 

Some Serious Commentary

Great, now I’m done with all the exciting bits and I have six hundred words to blow.  I guess I’ll go on a bit of a downer jag.

The economy is terrible.  In the US the stated unemployment numbers are nearing ten percent, which means that the real number is closer to 12-13 percent (not because I’m a consperanoia nutjob who thinks they are mis-reporting, simply because of how the official number is calculated).  This is awful, but you know what, we make games and our industry is still growing, so why are so many of us unemployed? 

I’m fighting tooth and nail to employ as many people as I can (if you are an out of work dev, let me know), but I run a small studio, there’s only so much I can do.  But the one thing I’ve noticed is that the talent pool right now is fantastic.  High quality people are available more cheaply than ever before…so why isn’t more of the industry hiring?

Fear is one obvious answer.  Those with capital want to keep it.  Well, SITTING ON CAPITAL IS THE WORST THING YOU CAN POSSIBLY DO FOR THE GLOBAL ECONOMY.  Sorry, had to get that out.  But another one is simply the changing nature of the industry.   Many large companies used the recession as a feel good, guilt free way of doing some belt tightening.  They were often overstaffed and had failed to maintain a high quality bar for their employees.  They were working in the old ‘100 people to kick out a major console title’ model and needed to trim to adapt to the thing that are happening in the gamespace today.  Fair enough.  The problem is that they haven’t adapted.  They’ve simply greenlit less projects. 

If I were one for prognostication, which I am, I think you’ll see the layoffs of today have a major, industry changing impact four years from now as projects and companies get started by the un and under employed to fill the time.

Hire people!

(But on the bright side, this recession may do us as an industry some good) 

What I’m up to:

I got a letter from a reader last week that asked me to mention what I’m reading and what I’m playing, so here it goes.  Hope this helps.

What I’m playing: 

Demon’s Souls (fascinating “multiplayer” mechanic.  Brutally punishing, I’m not actually sure if it’s a good game)

Odin Sphere (the art alone makes this one worth picking up for the PS2, but it’s a good game that show what can be done with sidescrolling)

Dev Kit (way better than expected)

What I’m Reading: 

Books:

Democracy in America (Alexis de Tocqueville)

Articles:

(nothing great this week…now that I know I’m doing this, I’ll keep track of what I’m reading)

Manifesto Games Closes

Lest We Forget 

What I'm Watching:

The Prisoner (Yup, looks like the whole thing's available online)

Gotta Jet:

I’m off, but you can always reach me at [email protected]

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