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The end of the game developer

By on September 20, 2010

I’m calling it today.

The end of the game developer.

It’s an anachronistic term, and I’m going to try to stop using it. (I’m bound to fail – I spent ten years trying to teach anyone who would listen the difference between a developer and a publisher. It used to annoy me so much when investors called Argonaut a publisher or Eidos a games developer.)

But those days are gone. It’s time to end the distinction.

From now on, we’re all game-makers.

All of us. The business types and the creatives. The coders and the artists. The community managers and the business development executives.

We’re involved in this great endeavour we call making games.

I made an impassioned plea for an ending to the fighting, rivalry and distrust between management and developers in response to Jimmy Mulville’s lecture at the Edinburgh TV festival. Luke Halliwell has laid at least some of the blame for RealTime World’s failure at the door of a “silo” mentality. And I’ve lost track of how many coders pretend that business doesn’t matter, or managers that pretend the game artistry and craftsmanship doesn’t matter.

Sometimes words matter. The names we use and call ourselves. So I’m going to try to stop talking about publishers and developers, and talk about game makers instead.

Am I mad?

(and is there a better term? I’m not sure game-maker is the best, but it’s all I can come up with right now.)

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: