The Minecraft Problem
Now that the rumors have started circulating about the next generation of game consoles, everyone is starting to realize that they might not matter anymore. Ben Kuchera at Penny Arcade recently coined a good name for the issue: The Minecraft Problem.
We’ve certainly seen it at our house. Peter had some fun learning to program his XBox, but he quickly realized that it was a dead-end for exactly the reasons that Natbro recently described in Stupid, Stupid xBox!!. The entire game console business has become some sort of clone of the old music industry. It’s hard to guess why they’ve headed down this path when it clearly isn’t working very well for those old record companies, but I suppose that they got addicted to a particular revenue model and found it impossible to imagine a way out.
So if you’re a wannabe game developer, what should you do? Look for platforms which pass what Chris Kohler calls The Minecraft Test. There are plenty of them out there (e.g. HTML5 or ADT). Yeah, you grew up wanting to write the next big console hit, just like the musicians who came up wanting to sign that big record deal, but the new world actually has more opportunities than the old one did.