I'm starting a game company and looking for a co-founder.

by Alexei2 min read18th Mar 201280 comments


Personal Blog
Summary: I am looking for co-founder(s) to start a game company with me. If you, or anyone you know, is interested, please contact me. (Alternatively, if you want to invest or provide funding, that would be very nice in its own right.)

It  recently occurred to me  that if reducing existential risk is indeed the most important goal, then I ought to actually do something about it. Turns out, for most mortals (including myself) the best option for reducing ex-risk is through donations. With that in mind, I'm going to start a game company. "Why a game company?" you might ask. Well:
* I've been making games since I was 13.
* I've hit my 10,000 hours of game programming a while ago. If I want to make a game, it will be made.
* I've studied a good amount of game design theory and have had some opportunities to put that knowledge to the test with success.
* I've worked for two different game companies. I've written games for computers, handhelds, and mobile devices.
* I've funded, designed, programmed, and published my own game.
* I am very familiar with the process of developing games. Everything from team structure to tools to game design.

I hope it's clear why starting a game company makes sense for me. Now, you might ask, "Why will you succeed?" Well, I have an answer for that too:
* Leverage all the rationality skills I've learned from LW.
* Leverage all other scientific knowledge: from psychology to statistics.
* I'm not attached to any particular game genre or game idea. Whatever gives the most ROI is good.
* There is a lot of low hanging fruit in terms of what games are easy to make and are almost guaranteed to be profitable. (Most people don't choose these ideas because they are easy, have been done before, or the people want to make other games.)
* Focus on making games as cheaply as possible. (Leverage 3rd party tools and other companies.)
* Have a structured approach to designing and developing a game, rather than an adhoc one like most companies have.
* The company will be built around scientific principle. (A/B testing is just one aspect of that.)
* The company will measure and analyze everything (or as much as possible), not only in the games it makes, but also in the company itself.
* The company will be completely transparent on the inside. If everyone knows everything about the company, it's more likely that they will find new creative ways to improve it.
Anonymous feedback for every employee (especially founders). 
* The company will hire the best people. Since it's well knows that the best people are at least 2x more productive (that number is much higher for some positions, e.g. programmer) than average, there is no reason not to let the salary (and benefits) reflect that. I think paying 10%-20% higher than competitive rates is justifiable and will help bring in the best talent.
* Every employee's goal should be to automate their position: either by replacing themselves with a program or another employee of same/lower skill. (This way each employee can focus on higher level problems.)
Some of these ideas are untested, but the point is to create a company that is open to experimenting and testing things out.

My personal goals:
* Create a highly profitable game company.
* Become more experienced in starting and running a company.
* Gather more data on how to start and manage a company.
* Create connections within the game development world.
* Sell this company as quickly as possible. (Since this will be my first startup, I anticipate a lot of mistakes. There is no reason not to start anew as soon as a good opportunity presents itself. Selling the company, or most of company's IP, would be ideal.) (Going public is possible, but very unlikely.)
* I'm thinking ideal route would be: Incubator -> Angel funding -> VC funding. Focus purely on development, while contracting out the publishing.

If you are interested in joining me on this mission, please contact me. If you know someone who might be interested in this, let them know. All points I listed above are open to negotiation.
I'm looking for:
* Someone who can contribute a lot to the company from the first day. (This will most likely be a business person or a game programmer.)
* Willing to commit to this and to work overtime.
* Able to start this year. (If we get enough runway funding, we should start in a few weeks.)
* (Bonus) Experience in game development field.
* (Bonus) Located in The Bay Area. (Though I'm potentially open to relocating.)
* (Bonus) Experience with starting and running a company.
* (Bonus) Versed in the art of rationality.
* (Bonus) Also wants to donate to SIAI or other ex-risk reduction organisation.
* (Bonus) Can contribute seed capital.

If you know anyone who is interested in funding the company, please have them contact me as well.
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Good luck, man. I already did that, and it really paid off. I did it mostly alone, with my brother as musician, with no investment. But it isn't easy. I gone for ensuring success, which meant making a complicated piece of software that is unique and for which i can be certain there is some market without having to second-guess the audience or compete with anyone.

Going the path well walked, gets you competing with all the 99.9% remakes that are entirely invisible. The most profitable game may be cow clicker, but there's thousands upon thousands of other cow clickers that are not profitable, and which you don't see. When you say you look at 'success rate' of X, don't be looking at the % of the successes which are X, that's your basic application of rationality to this decision right here. The simple toy games are not even exercises in game programming. They are exercises in marketing (and blind luck). If you had 10 000 hours of marketing experience, then you totally should go for them.

0Alexei9yThat's a very good strategy. If I wanted to make my own company, and keep it around for a long time, I would probably do something very similar. Start small and grow sustainably. You're absolutely right about the cow clicker games. I think their business model has been validated to be used, but the overall game design needs to be refreshed.
3Dmytry9yStill, with that kind of games, there's extreme oversupply of all sorts of designs. Here's this issue: one needs very carefully controlled trials to select the best of the alternatives. Market does not do this. There isn't a magical mechanism that turns the best of competitors most profitable. Competition among too many products is a lottery. When you make something that everyone else can make - do research before you just conclude nobody's doing this, you'll see a lot of people are actually trying to do it. Minecraft made a lot of money, right. Was it original and unique - hell no, a lot of other voxel editors existed before Minecraft. You can't outthink others by two steps of second guessing - "okay, everyone can do this, so everyone thinks so, so nobody will do it, so I will do it, and be the only one". Plenty of people follow that line of reasoning as well. If you want high probability of significant return i would recommend looking for something that other people can not do - find your superpower, use it. If you have people-prediction-superpower, sure, you can make the next minecraft. But rationality is probably not your unique superpower (or not the one that'd help a lot for predicting others). There's people who don't for a second have a trouble for e.g. mony hall problem, and whose Bayesian reasoning is almost inborn. They just got lucky this way (edit: and they may actually be fairly bad at predicting other people because they don't understand other people's reasoning very well). The ability to program well looks much more like your unique superpower, at one in thousands level or better.

Your company plan sounds very much like how Valve is structured. You may find it challenging to maintain your desired organizational structure, given that you also plan to be dependent on external investment. Also, starting a company with the express goal of selling it as quickly as possible conflicts with several ways you might operate your company to achieve a high degree of success. Many of the recent small studios that have gone on to generate large amounts of revenue (relative to their size) (Terraria / Minecraft / etc) are independently owned and bui... (read more)

1Daniel_Burfoot9yI'd be very interested in a post on the corporate structure, culture, history, etc of Valve. It seems like you guys have figured out a lot of things about how to run a good software company.
1Alexei9yI'm not sure I would want to keep the company as flat as Valve does, but that's something I will only be able to judge from experience. If having the explicit goal of selling the company quickly will turn out to be harmful, then I will abandon that goal. I don't follow your reasons for joining Valve. It won't give me the amount of money I want, and it won't give me company managing experience faster than actually starting and managing a company would. Also, I'm not trying to invest or build a rational organization. I'm completely comfortable with not doing direct work on ex-risk reduction. The best method I could come up with in reducing ex-risk indirectly is donating money, hence the startup. I'm not interested in having a career, I'm interested in making lots of money.
1endoself9yI don't have enough domain knowledge to evaluate this advice that well, but couldn't a company earn much more than an employee, even after accounting for risk? See the discussion at 80 000 hours [http://80000hours.org/blog/12-salary-or-startup-how-do-gooders-can-gain-more-from-risky-careers] for relevant research. Statistics might be different for games than for the industry average, though. 80 000 hours is generally a good resource for evaluating altruistic career decisions. You can, and maybe, depending on your current state of knowledge, should, talk to a member [http://80000hours.org/chat-to-us] before starting your company.
0[anonymous]9yI wouldn't advise him to go work at any random company. Most game companies -- particularly large ones -- are structured in a way that doesn't mean you'd have a good chance of individual success (versus working anywhere else or doing something else). At Valve we have one of the highest profits per employees in the world, are owned by our employees, and believe employees should be paid according to the value they generate. So my advice is specific to considering an application to Valve. The potential value of investing in an interview is high given the cost to him is low. Er, I didn't mean to retract it, but reword it. We need an unretract feature.
0Squibs6yAre you still intrested in making this company?

Two pieces of advice.

Firstly, write a formal business plan with the numbers as accurate as you can make them, not to show other people, but for your own consumption. How much equity do you want to have at the various stages? What skill sets or experience will the VCs be looking to see in your first 2 hires? What pay structure will you need to offer them to secure that? What skills don't you have, that you'll need your co-founder to have? Once you've got a few variant plans that seem plausible to you, apply your rationality training to them. (For exam... (read more)

5NancyLebovitz9yJust found this: How to Explain Your Game to an Asshole [http://www.pentadact.com/2012-03-17-gdc-talk-how-to-explain-your-game-to-an-asshole/] .
1Viliam_Bur9yGood article, but it must be modified for the audience. An equivalent "How to Explain Your Business to a Venture Capitalist" would probably contain "Explaining your game" as one of the mistakes.
2Alexei9yThank you for actually giving useful advice, rather than just raw criticism. :) Can you expand on that?

Is anything known about the success rate of people who mostly design games which fascinate them vs. the success rate of people who mostly follow what's known about the gaming market? How about success magnitude?

5gwern9yI'd personally like to know more about the reasoning behind
1Alexei9yIf you look at the top iOS games, there are many remakes of the same ideas, that nevertheless continue to be very profitable. This shows that the business part of those ideas is solid. I think tweaking those games slightly, going outside of the saturated themes (city/farm games), while adding core elements from other popular games is guaranteed to result in success.
2CronoDAS9yYou're not going to be building a cow clicker, are you? :(
1Alexei9yMy stance is: "If a slot machine game gives the most ROI, then I'll make slot machine games." So, if a cow clicker gives the most ROI, then I'll build a cow clicker. :)
4cousin_it9yGiven how little money the average gamer spends, it seems to me that earning N dollars from FarmVille might even create more disutility overall (in the form of wasted time) than obtaining the same N dollars by robbing somebody. If that's true, then LW readers who adopt your strategy but start with a different background (e.g. combat instead of game-making) should start robbing people and donating the proceeds to SingInst. ETA: on further thought, disregard this comment, it's wrong. If you completely ignore the cost to society, then saving the world by robbery still requires an opportunity to make lots of money from robbery. Otherwise getting a high-paying job seems more cost-effective, and starting a startup even better than that. I'm sorry. Continue doing what you're doing :-)
3Viliam_Bur9ySo this is why Eliezer is always priming his readers with "rationality as martial arts"! :D Beware the X-Rational Ninja -- he will extrapolate your volition and steal your money! Then he will give you two boxes and you can choose to take one or two of them. If you choose one box, it contains all your stolen money and an authographed edition of HP:MoR; but if you choose two boxes, the first one is empty. (The second box always contains a yearly free subscription to a Rationalist Cow Clicker, where you can click on cows representing your cognitive biases.)
3wedrifid9yIs making games the right industry for you?
1Alexei9yI don't know for certain, but this is where my strengths lie, and this is where I have experience and connections. If the right opportunity presented itself, I would gladly start another company that promised to be as profitable. However, this will not be the only company I start, and starting a company in the same field (i.e. games) will increase my chances of success. If I start a company in another field, I'd have to stick to that field to keep this kind of advantage.
0adamzerner7yIt sounds that your goal is to make money to donate to efficient causes, like existential risk prevention. If that is so, I suspect that you aren't being strategic [http://lesswrong.com/lw/2p5/humans_are_not_automatically_strategic/] about it, because it doesn't seem like you explored enough other startup options aside from games. What is the expected value of you exploring other options? I suspect that it's greater than you working on games now, but that the returns diminish somewhat quickly. Here are some ideas that I thought of if you're interested: https://medium.com/on-startups/6ecc143afe65 [https://medium.com/on-startups/6ecc143afe65].
0Unnamed7yNote that Alexei (the author of this post) later wrote this post [http://lesswrong.com/lw/hd1/maximizing_your_donations_via_a_job/].
0adamzerner7yI just read it, and I think my point still stands. To be more concrete, here's what I would, and did, do: spend some time coming up with startup ideas (following Paul Graham's advice [http://www.paulgraham.com/startupideas.html]), after some time, look through them all, come up with their expected values, and choose. I think that there are a lot of ideas that Alexei has the technical skills to build, and the insightfulness to discover. And I think that a lot of these ideas are orders of magnitude more profitable than the game startup. At the very least, I think that the chances of these two above statements being true are high enough where it's worth thinking hard about, instead of saying "I'm good at game development.... I'll do game development."
1Alexei7yHey adamzerner, Wow, I'm surprised you commented on a post that's so old. I've left the game industry completely since then and have now been at Google for 7 months. I agree with you that startups are great and very high EV (measured in $), quiet likely higher than any salaried job. However, for various reasons that I mentioned in my job search post that Unnnamed linked above, I chose to pursue immediate donation from salary. If you want to discuss this further, I'd be happy to PM you my email address.
1Risto_Saarelma9yThen shouldn't you look for a co-founder who salivates at the idea of luring a massive population of weak-willed casual gamers into Skinner boxes that make them send a constant cash stream at your company, not people who like playing games and want to make games they themselves find compelling? -- Tim Rogers, Who Killed Videogames [http://insertcredit.com/2011/09/22/who-killed-videogames-a-ghost-story/]
3moridinamael9yI would pay one hundred dollars a month for a game that "compulsion traps" me into doing what I'm supposed to be doing in the manner described in that article.
0Alexei9yWho said I was looking for those types of people? *Edit: thanks for the link. I've seen and read that page multiple times, but I only now realized it's actually a multi-page story. And it's good. And Tim Rogers' other writings are good. It's certainly showing things in a new light. Very thought provoking...
0Dmytry9yha, my users demand that sorta features from me (achievements). You can crowdsource that kind of stuff if you have good filter.
1CronoDAS9yHeh. As long as you know you're being evil by doing it [http://insertcredit.com/2011/09/22/who-killed-videogames-a-ghost-story/], I won't mind. ;)
0Alexei9yIt's for a good cause, so it's okay, right?
0gwern9yThere are remakes, yes, but how do you generalize from that to 'very profitable'? If remakes are cheap to make, then any obviousness of success would incentivize still more clones and cannibalize profits. If remakes are makable even by the less-competent, doubly so.
1Alexei9yGoogle top 10 PC games. It's almost all lists like this. [http://www.gameranx.com/features/id/1100/article/top-10-pc-games-of-2011/] Now look at how many sequels there are. Here [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_PC_video_games] is a list of best-selling PC games. Notice that almost half of the top 10 are sequels. Note that I'm not saying making a sequel is very profitable. I'm saying if you have a very profitable game, then making a sequel of it is very profitable and safe.
0gwern9yOh. OK, that makes sense.
3CronoDAS9yIncidentally, video games usually manage to avoid the problems that movie sequels have; movie sequels are usually not as good as the original [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Sequelitis], but video game sequels usually manage to improve on their predecessors [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EvenBetterSequel].
0falenas1089yBut there are also a lot of games that are very similar to the top selling games, but never become famous precisely because they are too similar to previously existing games.
0Alexei9yRight. What I'm saying is: keep the business part (for example the way the game monetizes the players), but change the theme and improve the gameplay. I would have to go into specific examples of how that could be done, but that's not really what this post is for.
1snarles9yAnecdotal evidence: Sirlin [http://www.sirlin.net] seems to have 'made it' recently.
1katydee9yTo be fair, Sirlin had already been both a competitive gamer and a competitive game balancer/designer, as well as a prominent blogger, prior to selling his own games. Many consider him one of the best game designers in the world.
0Alexei9yI don't have the numbers, but I'd tend to roughly classify people who "design games which fascinate them" as indie, and people "who mostly follow what's known about the gaming market" as savvy business people. If you look at the success rate of the companies and games, most fall within the latter category. People who focus too much on the game often forget that making the game is only half the work in actually getting it out to the players. However, savvy business people often forget how to take risks, and end up creating sequels and clones, which is not optimal in its own right.
[-][anonymous]9y 3

Given the high failure rate of video game start-ups, you'd probably be better off going to work for a company.

The amount of money I can make working for a company isn't even close to how much money I want to donate. There are multiple reasons to believe I will succeed, some of which I've listed above. Another reason for doing a game startup comes from Michael Vassar's advice: "Find something that inside view says you'll definitely succeed at, and outside view says you'll definitely fail it. Do it and see what caused the discrepancy." This is the fastest way to fix your perception of the world.

Starting a successful company is not magic. There is a set of skills, and I'm planning to learn and master them. Will my first startup be successful? May be not, but there is no reason to stop after the first failure, especially since I'll have so much more experience after it.

3MichaelHoward9yPlease could you link to this? I want to read the background to it but can't find anything like it via google.
2Alexei9yIt was said in a personal conversation.
3[anonymous]9yThis kind of reasoning is worrying. On one hand, based on the high failure rates, it can be argued that start-up founders are insane. On the other hand, rationality shouldn't automatically preclude you from taking high-risk, high-payoff bets. Another rational way to approach this would be to actually figure out what separates successful start-ups from the failures and then just do that.
9[anonymous]9yStart-up founders are hardly insane. From my perspective, it's the intersection between video games and start-ups that is the problem. The things that make video games good (good writing, good graphics, good sound effects, good gameplay, etc.) are easier to accomplish when you have a decent amount of staff and enough money to throw at the problem. The video game market is horrendously saturated, with a large segment of the population not even finishing games once. (I don't have any hard statistics for this, but it's a trope that is well-attested on r/gaming and the game blogosphere, e.g. "You Gonna Finish That? [http://www.1up.com/features/gonna-finish]"). To make matters worse, the market is also infamously critical of everything -- fail in one category, and you basically get panned. For example, Mass Effect 3 is getting a lot of flack for having a "bad" ending, despite being otherwise a well-polished game with a budget the size of Missouri. One could subvert some of this by developing for phones, but the iOS market has notoriously finicky gatekeepers. Android, perhaps -- I don't know much about them.
3Micaiah_Chang9yI don't see why Alexei should be concerned about most of your points, because they're based off of several unexamined conditions. Not finishing the game only matters if he plans to implement DLC or microtransactions, the customer has already paid for the game, why should the seller worry then? Of course, the main point is that if the customer hasn't finished the games he has, why should he pay for more games? While this seems like a reasonable assumption, I don't quite think it's quite clear cut. Anecdotally, I've seen people with 50+ game backlogs continue to purchase new games. On top of that, I don't think it's clear to think a backlog of any amount game precludes or even dissuades a consumer from all games; just because I have a 80 hour long jRPG unfinished on my PS3 doesn't mean I won't purchase a cheap iPhone game like Angry birds. So we need to look at rapidly growing sections of the industry where relatively few startups have been formed. I don't view criticism as a major problem. You can't criticize a game until you've purchased it for one, and considering that most video game sales take place within a narrow timeframe of release (two weeks I believe), large amounts of criticism on forums appears to be a mark of successful video games! Of course, this isn't including hits that become successful after a long period of time due to word of mouth--Disgaea [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disgaea] coming to mind, but Alexei is aiming for a more short term strategy rather than a long term series so word of mouth is not a strategy he would want to employ. Mass Effect 3 in particular is a bad example, because Bioware is likely going to profit off of the complaints [http://kotaku.com/5894186/mass-effects-producer-promises-well-keep-listening-and-new-content-that-brings-closure] (Read: We made a mistake, now you're going to give us money, I'll admit I'm simplifying this because I'm ignoring opportunity costs incurred for working on other products.) This isn't inclu
3[anonymous]9yGranted, he's only considering a short term strategy. As far as I can tell from the Unofficial YComb list [http://yclist.com/], there have only been three video game startups through them: MinoMonsters [http://minomonsters.com/], Koduco Games [http://koduco.com/], and OMGPop [http://www.omgpop.com/]. MinoMonsters runs a pokemon clone with four stars on the App Store. Koduco Games made two clones and an iPad port in two years. OMGPop seems to be a reasonably successful arcade portal. Of the three, none have very high PageRank. None of the three have exited. Now it's true, none of them have completely failed either. But I would be very surprised if any of them except possibly OMGPop has really made it. They also have been around for six years and have a comparatively large staff. Of course, this is a really small sample. The most charitable way I can interpret this is that if the OP wants a startup incubator and a short-term exit strategy, they shouldn't try Y Combinator. The most charitable explanation for the dearth of YComb video game startups is some internal bias in their screening process.
1Alexei9yI agree. While I have all respect in the world for YC, it's just not the place for game startups. I was thinking more along the lines of Joystick Labs [http://www.joysticklabs.com/].
0Alexei9yYou're correct. Doing the 'send it to a brick and mortar store and hope it sells' stategy doesn't work. You need a lot of developing and publishing muscle to pull it off. Not to say you don't need the publishing muscle even if you go with free-to-play, but it's certainly a lot easier to develop, and a lot easier to publish. It's certainly a nice entry point for a startup, and one I'll be taking a close look at. By the way, using my name in your comment makes it feel very nice and personal. Well done. :)
1Dmytry9yThe few sane people that make startups usually succeed, the less sane people make startups and usually fail, that's my theory. Basically, there are the sane people who have a good reason to think they succeed, and they make startups, and they succeed (usually), and there's also much larger number of people who don't have any good reason they'd succeed, and out of those people, those who are less sane, try to make startups, and fail. You can't generalize the sanity of two vastly different populations (those who fail and those who succeed) from average.
0NancyLebovitz9yWhat would you say are good reasons to think you'll succeed?
0Dmytry9yReading reasons off a list may not help the less sane (or simply a small fraction of decision mistakes in a large population) from proceeding anyway, and i'm very biased towards my approach. Basically, technical excellence, having previously created a profitable product as spin off from a hobby, having positive feedback on products of the hobby, if that is present, the success is much more likely than average, especially if you stick to the customers whom you understand. I'd be very skeptical about practical ways to apply explicit rationality to anything but ordering of the todo list, sorry. There isn't a lot of data, and even though Bayesian statistics looks like garbage-in-best-conclusions-out process, it is still a garbage-in-garbage-out process.

Please re-read _Purchase Fuzzies and Utilons Separately_.

If you want to reduce X-Risk, go for it.

If you want to make games, go for it.

If you want to make lots of money, great! Go for it, it's great doing what you love and you can always buy some of the other two later.

Choose what's most important for you, because I fail to see how these three goals converge. Game development has awful ROI. Look at venture capitalists: who is backing game startups? Noone. Game development, like show business, is very hit-or miss and the fact that many successful studios hav... (read more)

4Alexei9yOkay, first of all let me say that I agree with your argument, but I think you misunderstand a couple of things. The only goal I have is to reduce x-risk. Now, it seems that the best way to do that is to make money, and it seems that, given my skill set, the best way to make money is to start a game company. I've carefully thought about this, and this is the decision I've reached not because I want to make games (in fact, the games I would be making for money are not at all the ones I would want to make for any other reason), but because that's what I do best. Outside of the gaming world it might seem like it's a tiny niche, but, trust me, on the inside there is a lot of funding to go around, and the field is much bigger and wider than you think. Anyway, I don't want to tear apart every point you made. Just know that I appreciate your concern, and I've thought these things through.

Need anyone to write, edit, or proofread?

0Alexei9yNot right now, but thanks!

Do you plan to make it known either to investors or to customers your intent to donate to X-risk reduction?

5Alexei9yOnly if I think it benefits x-risk reduction. Which is to say: I'll let investors know only if it might be more beneficial for both of us for them to donate. As long as money gets to the organization of my choice, I don't really care who gives it. As for customers, I doubt it. It'll probably just confuse them, and make the company seem weird. We wouldn't want that. :)

I WILL HELP!!! Send me an email.

I've had an idea that tried to tie together game development and X-Risk reduction.

  1. Earn some money
  2. Hire Eliezer to write an online Singularity-themed Visual Novel that will draw more attention to the activities of Singularity Institute.

Alas, I stumbled on stage 1. But I think it could work. Eliezer is known to love writing, anime and I think visual novels too; and I think money plus the chance of advancing the cause could have seduced him into this project.

This was before Eliezer started Methods of Rationality. It turned out to be more successful that ... (read more)

2Alexei9yHire Eliezer?!?! One doesn't simply hire Eliezer! :O He has better things to be doing. Realize that the problem of mixing goals is you have to compromise a lot, and that sacrifices a lot of edge you could have if you focused on just one goal.

I have a company, I even have the product and customers. What I need are more of the latter, worldwide.

It is a geek business, contact me if you feel to.

EDIT: former-->later (thanks to CronoDAS)

EDIT: later-->latter (thanks to CronoDAS)

0CronoDAS9yMicroeconomics 101: If you have not enough product and too many customers, raise prices. ;)
0Thomas9yNot enough customers.
2CronoDAS9yThat makes more sense. (Nitpick: "Later" vs "latter" [http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/latergloss.htm])
0wedrifid9yLatter? More of the former I imagine you can produce through existing methods.
0Thomas9yNot in this case. I am reluctant to discuss it here more, you (or anyone) can ask me privately - whatever you'd like.

I'm not attached to any particular game genre or game idea. Whatever gives the most ROI is good.

To take a line from Avenue Q, "the only stable investment is porn." Just sayin'.

8CronoDAS9yActually, porn has gotten a lot less profitable recently. There are lots of sites on which you can see lots of different clips without paying anything. It's also dirt cheap to make; all you need is a camera, someone to hold the camera, and a woman who's willing to do sex acts on camera. All the competition makes it very hard to make a living in the porn business these days; demand hasn't fallen, but supply is way up, pushing the price down.
1Alex_Altair9yI was implying he should make porn video games. Since rendering people is relatively recent, I don't think that market is saturated yet.
1CronoDAS9yWe've been able to have games that include drawings of people for a long time. There are plenty of H-games [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/H-Game] made in Japan; most are Visual Novels [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/VisualNovel]. You can get English versions of some of them, but they aren't exactly flying off the shelves, as far as I know. Part of the problem is that video games tend to be included in the Animation Age Ghetto [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AnimationAgeGhetto] and are also subject to censorship. Apple won't approve porn apps for the App Store, and good luck getting Nintendo or Sony to allow you to make a porn game for one of their platforms. Governments, too, get into the act. [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BannedInChina] And if you're making a porn game, you're still competing with all those other people making very cheap video porn, as well as those sites giving it away for free with wanton disregard of copyright laws.
3Friendly_Smurf9yHere's some more data on the eroge situation in Japan: History of Visual Novels [http://shii.org/geekstories/eroge.html] Summary: Written from the perspective of an industry insider. Era 1:The PC-98XX series of computer's success, despite its inadequacies in processing power and special features had erotic games (Eroge) on floppy disks contributing to its success. (Note: He may be overstating its influence, but the (super?)majority of PC games sold in Japan are eroge, the PC game market is so abysmal that Fallout 3 had to get a fantranslation). For the most part, the eroge just consisted of go to girl -> pick up line -> sex, but this quickly got old. This persisted utnil a company relased Dokyusei (同級生 - Classmate) in 1992 which was the first to implement 'routes' and stop being a simple porn game. The sex was delayed until you had sufficiently wooed a single girl by picking enough correct choices. Each individual girl had a story associated with them and you couldn't just have sex with anyone you met. Era 2: Hard drives are invented, Eroge acquire more of a story focus, with the release of Denpa [http://vndb.org/g960] game Kizuato in 1996 and ToHeart a year later. ToHeart is mostly notable for being the FIRST instance of a relatively story focused eroge becoming successful, so much it's considered a classic to this day. This paved the way for the modern Visual Novel: Greater focus on story and emotional involvement by the consumer. Era 3: 'Crying games' are invented. Members of 'Tactics' stumbled on a formula, where a comedic and romantic first half is contrasted by a dramatic, depressing second half. They thought they had something, so they spun off into a studio named Key and made Kanon, a game famously well known for making people cry. it's in this era when the porn becomes less and less of a relevant element. Era 4 and Era 5 mostly talk about how successful eroge have become, including exploitative examples of console ports (if you think DLC is bad no
1Alex_Altair9yVery good points. You've changed my mind on the profitability of such a thing.
0CronoDAS9ySome of this might not apply if you're Japanese, because such games do get developed commercially there. It's the "mainstream" English-speaking market that's hard to sell to.
0listic9yI would like to understand what's the reason behind this. Japan has tradition of manga, USA has tradition of comics. But visual novels [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_novel] get developed commercially in Japan, but not in the USA.
1Dmytry9yReminds me of something that a sunk startup i worked at 7 years ago tried (not my startup, not managed by me). Adding the support for 'poser 3d' content into package. The poser 3d basically is a porn renderer. It's creepy as hell for some reason, but some people like it. Too bad it didn't work out (that being said, touchscreen realtime porn... that just might work.
0Alex_Altair9yWell researched;http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley]
0Dmytry9yI don't think its so much uncanny valley as plain bad art though. Crappy subsurface scattering = creepy skin, theres something wrong inside, and it shows through too much. No subsurface scattering = a lot of makeup. And there's an odd convergence, now that everything is photoshopped more than ever before. edit: Also i recall nvidia demo that was in realtime, and wasn't this creepy.