I’ve been a video/computer gamer ever since I was 5 years old. I can still remember my first game was Karateka. Quite a cool game (at least, it was a very cool game at that time). Since then, my parents have been supplying me (with constant nagging from my side) with countless gaming stuff – from a 286 PC386 PC…the first Nintendo video game….Nintendo Game Boy….Super Genius (some unknown brand)….Super Nintendo….P133 Computer….Pentium II and III computers….and lately (i bought for myself) a Playstation Portable and PC’s World of Warcraft. I’m planning to get Playstation 3 and maybe Nintendo WII in the future. 🙂 Yea, I’m a pretty serious gamer.

Well, I believe most of you people out there are gamers yourselves. And as expected, most gamers would want to be involved in a game development job…including myself.

Game development companies are rare. You have the famous Blizzard, EA, Bioware, the new Obsidian, Square Enix, Sony Entertainment, Irrational, etc… but other than that, the rest are basically unknowns. It’s pretty hard to get into these companies as a game developer since their requirements are pretty high (expected, since they’re the elites in gaming industry). However, you do have smaller game development companies…..like our Malaysia’s GameBrain and Phoenix Studio.

Anyway, let’s get straight to the point. I’ve been thinking about starting something for myself…my own business/company (not anytime soon.. maybe after 2 or 3 years, just to assure my boss in case he’s reading this) and I’ve given some serious thoughts about starting a game development business in Malaysia. However, I realized that it is no longer practical no matter how much I love games.

Think about it if you’re like me, a serious gamer. Do you like to develop games, or you like to actually play games? These are 2 different things. I can tell you, developing a game is very tedious. You need to go into very detailed stuff like stage design…UI design…character design…etc. It’s never easy. If you want, you can try to get your hands on SDK provided by certain games (for example, FEAR, Half-Life 2 or Neverwinter Night). Try creating some custom mods and see whether you enjoy the process. To be honest, I don’t. I’ve tried the Aurora toolset provided by Neverwinter Night…….and it’s a bit too tedious for me. I couldn’t even create a single map.

I gave up.

My passion lies with playing the games (and maybe designing the games), but not developing them.

Furthermore, the gaming industry is one heck of a competitive industry. You’re fighting with the likes to Blizzard and Sony Entertainment….Hideo Kojima…and even Microsoft. How competitive can that be? They got the cash, the budget…and you don’t. A normal game development project costs too much $$ and can take too much time…it’s never easy…and it’s never cheap as stated by EA Montreal boss in this article. Sooner or later, you’ll get eaten up by these companies.

Well, on the bright side (or not-so-bright side), game developers are not really well-paid. So you can possibly hire some good, passionate but cheap game programmers. 🙂 Game programmers talk about passions more than money. It is their burning desire which keeps them in this industry. But…ahem, you won’t want any of your game developers to quit since game developers are quite rare in the market.

Overall, I don’t feel that starting a game development company is practical for me. Maybe it is for you…but it’s definitely not my cup of tea. Try it out, and you might find that it is something meant for you (but do take into consideration the points I’ve stated above). 🙂

Remember, passion is one thing…..but to die of hunger due to your passion, is foolish. Be passionate, and be practical.