You don't make a top-tier video game overnight. It takes years of work by hundreds of designers and engineers. And it can run into the tens of millions of dollars to develop—not counting marketing, which has its own astronomical price tag.
If the game falls flat, the studio that produced it can go belly up. Which is why many game studios have eschewed risky experimentation and turned to incremental innovation. As in the film industry, sequels abound and truly original games are a rare find.
The reluctance to take risks opens the door for "indie" game developers. They know that players aren't just looking for games with more realistically rendered environments. Today's players are hungry for original voices, creative flair and new, more exciting challenges. This new breed of game developers are willing to prove that you don't need the kind of big teams typically found in major companies to bring freshness and excitement to games.
Helping to fuel the indie scene is the game-design program at UC–Santa Cruz. Seeking to attract more students to its campus, the university launched the largest games-research program in North America. It included 350 undergraduates and 20 graduate students. With dozens of small game projects ongoing at any one time, professors are constantly challenged to be as innovative as possible. Here, students and staff eagerly exchange ideas, pushing the envelope and thinking outside of the box to develop exciting new games. The program is truly an incubator for creative game development.
For an additional perspective, check out this video:
Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs at and view additional job postings on Nexxt.