Game development used to be something that was incredibly inaccessible for most. Whether it was cost prohibitive because of the tools involved, or access to the information required to create the content - creating a game required resources that many folks didn’t have.
Today though, it’s all changing. Whether it’s access to Photoshop on a cheap monthly cost or access to entire game creation suites for free or low cost, anyone can try their hand at creating their dream game and can do so with the resource power of the internet behind them.
Perhaps nothing better exemplifies this than with what Unity 3D has done. Splitting their professional game development suite in two, anyone can download and begin developing for Unity 3D. Best of all the engine is multi-platform supporting Windows, Linux, Mac, Xbox 360, One, PS4, Wii U, Android and iOS. Oh, and that’s all with the same code base.
Unity (the company) makes money in a few ways. Several high end features that professional developers want to use that involve some content pipeline tools and high end graphics rendering are locked behind seat based licenses. There’s also a content store which people can contribute graphics, sounds, textures, 3D models, scripts, and entire game templates for other people to purchase to ease their own development.
While Unity has pioneered this approach, we’re seeing previous industry leaders in engine development follow suit with both Epic Games (Unreal Engine) and Crytek (Cryengine) announcing their own engine development tools and assets available for low monthly costs.
All of this means we’ll have more developers out there creating content on every platform. The incentive to work you way up in the industry as part of a corporate development machine with the hopes of having your dream game created are becoming smaller and smaller. You can do it yourself or with a small team.
These cross platform engines are the key to sustainability for video games. And while many of them support consoles today, they are also making consoles less important.