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Feature: 'Event Wrap Up: 2005 Indie Games Conference: Casual Games'

In Gamasutra's main feature for today, we present another article (following the main wrap-up) re...
In Gamasutra's main feature for today, we present another article (following the main wrap-up) regarding last week's 2005 Indie Games Conference, focusing on the casual games content at the conference, addressing changes and trends in the casual games market. In this extract from the piece, the speakers in a casual roundtable at IGC are addressing some of the key business points regarding casual gaming: "The speakers in the roundtable also discussed issues such as game developer revenue, IP rights, and loss of creative innovation. According to Reflexive's Smith, the growing popularity of casual games is negative from an innovation standpoint, because it will erode indie freedom. In the past, developers were either completely owned by a publisher and lost IP rights, or were independent and struggled to achieve self-support. But now there is a middle ground for negotiating testing, globalization, and funding. Dave Nixon of Oberon Media disagreed, saying that casual games are still relatively small in terms of costs and that many publishing options exist. Some games are owned by publishers because the ideas come straight from the publishers, whereas ideas that come from indie developers can either split costs with the publisher and retain IP or hand over the IP in order to attain complete cost coverage. There are built-in safety values in the industry that prevent a monopoly, unlike in retail. PopCap's Gwertzman advised indie developers to view publishers as a starting point that they can split costs with, because one game hit will give a developer leverage to multiply influence and reputation. Playfirst's Dinkin recommended finding partners to prevent getting smaller. However, he cautioned against making a hasty choice. Developers need to make sure they find a publisher that complements them and shares their vision." You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject, including lots more information from the roundtable, as well as views from indie developers regarding casual games (no registration required, please feel free to link to the article from external websites).

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