Ever wonder how video games are made or been curious about making games yourself? If so, you’re not alone. You might be surprised who’s making and playing video games nowadays!
Myth 1: The Typical Gamer is a Geeky Teenage Boy
The entire gaming industry has been turned on it’s head over the past decade with casual gamers overtaking traditional hard core gamers and mobile devices overtaking traditional game consoles.
If you imagine the typical average gamer today as being a geeky teenage boy, you’d be completely wrong. Try thinking middle age females over forty! Nowadays that gamer could be your 6 year old nephew, your 90 year old grandmother, and everyone in between.
Children as young as 5 are learning their alphabet via games designed for mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone. Housewives looking for a momentary escape are playing puzzle games and seniors are engaging in games that stimulate and maintain their brains.
Myth 2: Only Big Companies with Deep Pockets can Afford to Create Games
While the realm of commercial games was pretty much off limits for most people less than a decade ago, things have changed quite a bit since then.
Technologies that used to cost tens of thousands of dollars have now become inexpensive or free. Today just about anyone can get their hands on game development software like Unity 3D, UDK and the iOS and Android SDKs and begin the process of learning to create games for Macs, PCs, the web and over 1 billion mobiles devices!
Myth 3: You Need a Degree in Computer Science to Be Making Games
While creating games used to take a great deal of technical knowledge and experience, nowadays it has never been easier to learn and use. If your goal is to make your own games, there’s no need for a 4 year university degree. Today, individuals with average computer skills can pick up a game development tool like Unity 3D and begin to learn the basics of creating 3D games in a matter of days or in some cases even hours. While programming experience is helpful, these skills can be learned by anyone willing to put in a bit of time and effort.
Myth 4: Only Big Game Studios Make any Money with Video Games
This new wave of game developers not only has access to incredibly powerful and easy to learn tools, but also has access to online marketplaces and app stores that just didn’t exist a decade ago, empowering them take their ideas and games and turn them into real revenue opportunities. Today anyone with a game idea can create a game and submit it to places like Apple’s App store and be exposed to hundreds of millions of users looking for something new. With Apple, the developer receives 70% of every sale, with Apple taking 30% and prices ranging from 99 cents to well over 10 dollars.
Not only are we using games to have fun and relax, educators and researchers are now recognizing the power of gaming to change human behaviour, inspire social change and enhance the way we learn. Even the business world is paying close attention to the benefits of gamification. There’s never been a better time to be an independent game developer.
Myth 5: Video Games are All the Same
The very question of what constitutes a game is being challenged on a daily basis. Who would have thought that a game about farming would go mainstream or that slingshoting birds would take the world by storm, but they did!
As more and more non-gamers are being converted, they are not only playing games for the first time, but quite a few of them are also learning how to create their own games!
In the future we’ll continue to see gaming expand and spawn whole new genres. Games can be inspired by just about anything, so that wacky game idea you have in the back of your mind may not be so wacky after all.
Myth 6: Video Games are Bad for Kids
Hey I’m a parent too, and yes I screen what my kids play, but I don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I think video games can have beneficial effects on kids and their ability to learn, and I’m not alone. Researchers like Daphne Bavelier have found some surprising results in their studies of the impact video games on kids brains.
So whether you’re young or old, male or female, the world is waiting to see your unique twist on games. What are you waiting for? Why not give in to your curiosity and start learning to make games today.
About the Author
Richard Hart is a technology instructor at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and author of the popular Udemy course Anyone Can Learn to Make a Game with Unity 3D.