Avoiding Redundancy 2

I very recently wrote a post entitled ‘Why Does Redundancy Always Happen In Game Development?’ that kinda hit the spot with a few people and I think it needs more context so I thought it worthwhile giving a separate update.

It’s a tough topic to discuss and it always has negative connotations but it’s a fact of life and ignoring it and not being prepared is a bad thing.

GamesBrief Job Loss Tracker - 3/Sep/2010I can totally see how the provocative title and lack of context could have riled some people so here’s some context. Redundancy is obviously a real and horrible event that happens and it can be mitigated by properly running a business but it’s largely inevitable.

My recent experience is based around running mid to large-scale teams of 30-80 people across multiple projects and the level of commitment that goes with that. My focus is on quality, delivery and profitability of all the work I do. The original post was intended to make people aware of the fact that if they do not consider what happens at the end of a project and blindly go off on a creative whim then don’t be surprised if your business fails. This is obviously fine if you’re motives are purely hobbyist and you never intended to be a business, or stay really small anyway.

Outside of the hobby developers making video games is an “industry” about making money, for which you need to “shift boxes”. As much as we like to think we’re being totally creative, most people in video games only do this so they can pay their bills. After all, we all need to live somewhere and pay for food for which we need money, that we get from making games, that people buy.

It’s actually a “box shifting creative industry”, I completely support that as it’s ultimately creativity that sells games and the 2 are intrinsically linked. There is 1 more important criteria though, which is quality. Quality sells games like hot cakes and there are many factors towards driving quality upwards. Oh, and marketing, good marketing will sell the most un-creative/poor quality things as I’m sure you’ve witnessed. Oh and the aqueducts. :)

During my career I have seen all the problems occur in business time and time again from big businesses through to small businesses, I’ve occasionally been part of the mess and more frequently seen others get caught up in the demise of a company. In pretty much all of these cases it’s been avoidable.

Businesses, regardless of what they’re doing, need to be agile and able to cope with the ebb and flow of the demands during the production lifecycle. Smart use of outsourcing, freelance / contract staff in the right place and prove fruitful and help you’re business remain stable and able to weather the storm. I have strived to ensure that projects and I run and businesses I’m involved with consider this and mitigate the risk of redundancy where possible.

Thankfully, redundancy always presents new opportunities and it’s time to pick yourself up and get back on the horse. After all, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

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