Video game development is the process of creating a video game. The effort is undertaken by a developer, ranging from a single person to an international team dispersed across the globe. Development of traditional commercial PC and console games is normally funded by a publisher, and can take several years to reach completion. Indie games usually take less time and money and can be produced by individuals and smaller developers. The independent game industry has been on the rise, facilitated by the growth of accessible game development software such as Unity platform and Unreal Engine and new online distribution systems such as Steam and Uplay, as well as the mobile game market for Android and iOS devices.
The first video games, developed in the 1960s, were noncommercial. They required mainframe computers to run and were not available to the general public. Commercial game development began in the '70s with the advent of first-generation video game consoles and early home computers like the Apple I. At that time, owing to low costs and low capabilities of computers, a lone programmer could develop a full and complete game. However, in the late '80s and '90s, ever-increasing computer processing power and heightened expectations from gamers made it difficult for a single person to produce a mainstream console or PC game. The average cost of producing a triple-A video game slowly rose, from US$1–4 million in 2000, to over $5 million in 2006, then to over $20 million by 2010.
Mainstream commercial PC and console games are generally developed in phases: first, in pre-production, pitches, prototypes, and game design documents are written; if the idea is approved and the developer receives funding, then full-scale development begins. The development of a complete game usually involves a team of 20–100 individuals with various responsibilities, including designers, artists, programmers, and testers.
The game revenue from retails is divided among the parties along the distribution chain, such as — developer, publisher, retail, manufacturer and console royalty. Many developers fail to profit from this and go bankrupt. Many developers seek alternative economic models through Internet marketing and distribution channels to improve returns., as through a mobile distribution channel the share of a developer can be up to 70% of the total revenue and through an online distribution channel almost 100%.
F.A.Q about Games Development
How important are games?
The popularity of smart gadgets like smartphones, tablets etc have opened up a new avenue of entertainment in the software industry and that is the domain of the mobile gaming sector. And now the games market is a big part of the mobile ecosystem and is estimated to reach $14.4 billion by 2017.
Which are the gaming platforms available?
Different smart gadgets are running on different operating systems or platforms and the popular ones are:
- Smartphone: Apple iOS, Android, Windows;
- Desktop: PC (Windows), Mac & Linux;
- Online: Browser and Facebook games.
How I will get revenue from games?
As soon as your game is live, you will start earning your revenue and profits by selling your game (paid games) and in-app purchases.
How to start my game development project?
For staring your own game development project, you just need an initial spark or a core idea that will be worked upon by a team of developers to transform it into an addictive gaming experience.