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FelipeBy Felipe

Should You Keep Making Games?

Posted 3 months ago

It's monday morning and I am looking out my window, staring at the trees whistling in the wind, the birds chirping about, the sun shining bright, and nothing in particular. I have a double espresso in my hand, my legs are lazily stretched over my keyboard, and I just dropped a small cholula-covered piece of a breakfast burrito onto my white shirt.

I am wondering about the future of the gaming industry.

I'm holding my breath in preparation for the AI storm that looms over our uncertain tech horizon. I think many of us are.

I continue to stare at the trees.

Whenever I feel like I might be staring at some uncertain future, I ask myself: What is the worst thing that can happen?

The gaming industry has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years, with millions of online players nerding out as I write this. League of Legends alone (which I'm not very fond of personally) claims to have an active player base of over 150 million per month! Online multiplayer games such as Fortnite, PUBG, COD Warzone have taken the scene, and even simpler games like Among Us and Fall Guys have had their time in the spotlight.

At the same time, the industry has changed completely from what it was just 10 years ago. There are thousands of developers out there, shipping thousands of games, and the market is saturated. It's hard to get noticed, and it's even harder to make a living out of it. It is a well-known fact now that most games on steam barely make 1000 dollars.

And yet, despite all of the obstacles ahead, we want to make games. We want to make something fun, something that people will enjoy, and we will be proud of. We want to live through the famous developer stories behind legends like Super Meatboy, Fez, or Braid. The tale of the underdog success story runs deep through the veins of American Culture.

So we press on, keys and eyes against the screen, and we keep on making games.

And now, in what feels like a breakneck speed, AI tools are advancing at such a pace that fearmongers and technoprophets are screaming about the end of all tech. There will be no more jobs, there will be no more creativity, there will be no more room for humans, and certainly, not for humans making games.

Do you believe that?

Let me ask you something else:

Do you want to get rich, or do you want to make your dream game?

I'll tell you what's on my mind. As AI grows and becomes more effective at producing high quality content, the value of human involvement will become even more valuable. In the same way that you would care about a guitar autographed by Jimmi Hendrix, but not about a machine that can make perfect replicas of famous autographs, we care about humans doing human things. The novelty of AI gives the appearance of value, but after a while the shine wears off, and in the end it is just a machine with business value.

Yes, the bar has been lowered. We can now work faster and with a lesser degree of effort, and game development is accessible to more people now than ever. But I think the numbers will remain the same. Most games will still be lazy, sloppy, and unoriginal.

Developers looking to make a quick buck will rarely win acclaim, but will fall to the digital scrapyards of the internet.

The good games will still be good, and the memorable classics will continue to fascinate us in the same way they have before, inspiring generations of creative people who want to someday make their dream game. Oh, and the number of devs who can get through an Apple App store review process will not change either.

My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends— It gives a lovely light!

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