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Announcing the GAMESbrief Freelance database

By on March 23, 2011
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The games industry is changing.

That much we all agree. Exactly how it is changing is a more contentious topic. I believe that the big are getting bigger, and that there has never been a better time to be an independent developer.

There has been a lot of talk about the emergence of the “Hollywood model”, whereby teams of specialists are assembled to create blockbusters, just like for movies. Huge development teams will be seen as a relic from a bygone age.

I don’t believe this is going to happen fast. The technology has not settled down enough and large publishers still prefer to work with proven established teams.

Screenshot from the GAMESbrief freelance database

On the other hand, publishers are not the only people making games any more. Games are being made by brands and by advertising agencies, by television companies and record labels, by book publishers and independent developers.

All of them need talented staff. They need experts in design and coding, in art and sound, in web front end and database backend. But they don’t need them all of the time.

In short, they need freelancers.

Today I am launching a database for games freelancers. It is designed to help connect companies who want to make games with the people who want to make them.

A minimum viable product

The GAMESbrief freelance database is very much a minimum viable product. After all, GAMESbrief is just me (with able help from Rob Schmitt of Blue Piccadilly). In this first version, you can:

  • Add your profile to the searchable database
  • Search for freelancers
  • Contact freelancers

I am trying to test if there is a market for this service. My key metric is “Are there 100 people out there interested in this service?” If there are, I will keep developing the service.

Next elements include:

  • Adding a “Jobs offered” section for companies seeking freelancers
  • The ability to purchase a “premium” slot, much like you can buy a big advert in the Yellow Pages
  • Improved profiles
  • More sophisticated search.

I need your help

To move the Freelance database from a minimum viable product, I need your help to get to 100 freelancers. Please spread the word. Tweet your friends. Like this post on Facebook. Forward the email to people who might be interested. If you show me that there is a market here, I will dig deep into my own pocket and build it.

And in the meantime, email me with ideas or suggestions for improvement. I think this database can improve the way games are made (and games professionals can find jobs).

I hope you agree.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com
  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the tip!

  • I think that’s a great idea. Added to my list

  • Is there any chance of an icon / button for linking to the database? This could be useful both for self-promotion (linking to a profile) and promoting the database itself.

    On my CV, I link to my IGDA and LinkedIn profiles. I can’t see a reason not to link to the freelancer database in a similar way.

  • Best way to get links (and more control over formatting) is to write the description in Word or OpenOffice and then copy & paste the text.

  • I think we will probably add LInkedIn style “%age complete” bars at some point 🙂

  • No, the whole database should be a mini-game.

    Can we get points for submitting our profile in a category? Can we play a mini-game to make our profile score higher than those of our colleagues?

    Or not. Great idea, anyway, and we’re going to browse the database when the need for freelances is there. Speaking of which, we need a graphic designer!

  • I hadn’t thought of companies like that, but you are not the first person to ask. The joy of an MVP is I can iterate to serve lots of different customers 🙂

  • Adam

    How do you define “freelancer”?

    I ask because many of the games-industry “freelancers” in UK are actually 2-3 person limited companies. Common setup is 1 coder, 1 artist, working together as a “technical artist team” kind of thing.

    I thought of “freelancer” as “single, lone individual” – but apparently, that’s not popular enough with UK games companies, and so this 2 person thing has evolved instead.

  • Keith Fuller

    Excellent idea with the db. Thank you! I’ll echo earlier recommendation for additional categories. I’m a production consultant and producer-for-hire…no category for me yet.

  • Curri

    From my part, I think you need two more categories: Localiser/Translator and Quality Assurance/Tester (I am both). Or even, I would add some more, also from “this part” of the development: Localisation Manager/Localisation Producer (it’s basically the same) and maybe even QA Manager or QA Lead…
    Think that all products will also need testing, and sometimes for testing a website or a mobile application, you don’t need to have the person right there at the office (even a console game. I have all consoles, so maybe a copy could be stored inside the console or a dev console sent to the tester). Or even use simulators (I am currently language tester for a company and I test their products using a simulator on a remote access desktop).

    What do other people think? I know the localisation tend to be the “least important” bit, but believe me, it can be crucial to have a good localisation (^_^)

  • Thanks very much for the feedback. All good points, and I hope to add them in the next pass.

  • Very good point. That’s why I’m going to iterate. developer is busy for the next 10 days, but I hope I can squeeze a couple of extra categories out of him.

  • You think I should have a gamification category?

  • thanks for the feedback, Curri. Do you think we need a new category? Localiser? Translator?

  • Curri

    I think this is a good idea. I am a videogames localiser and I believe on working directly with the companies, instead of requesting localisation to agencies (which, most of the times, subcontract to other agencies and therefore, having too many “middle-men”). So I am in!
    I have also tweeted it, and hopefully a few of my translators colleagues can sign up too 🙂

  • Nice idea and the results so far look viable. But no gamification? How sad.

  • Kevin Hassall

    Certainly a nice idea.

    But I note that there is no Category for Producers / Project Managers / Programme Managers / etc.?

  • Anonymous

    Couple of points:
    – There is no link from Gamesbrief to the db. You need to add this to your menu bar at the top, perhaps.
    – Keywords appears in the search results as “Technologies” (not “Keywords”)
    – I can’t put links into the db texts, but other freelancers have been able to – the link icon isn’t lit up, and I can’t use “a href” codes.
    – I don’t have a link to ‘contact me’, but other freelancers do
    Nice idea though! Interesting to see how this develops.