DICE GM: It's about the games, not the business models

Karl Magnus Troedsson tells GDC Europe great games will survive change

DICE general manager Karl Magnus Troedsson has told developers that their number one priority should be creating entertaining games, rather than technology or business models.

"It's about the games, about the entertainment and about the fun," Troedsson told GDC Europe attendees.

"It's not about the business model, it's not about the platform we're building on - it's about how much fun we the gamers have when playing the game, and that's been a real thread throughout the company's history."

Troedsson's keynote also addressed changing technology, namely platforms and cloud gaming.

"Business models will come and go, and platforms will be born and they will die," he said.

"Is the future dedicated hardware or is it streaming from the cloud? It doesn't matter - if you have great entertainment and you create great games, this will span all that, and it will survive all the transitions, because one thing's for sure - things will change."

He admitted that business models like DICE's premium servers couldn't be ignored, but added that they shouldn't get in the way of the entertainment, for those who choose to use them or don't.

"We need to be able to think about these things, and we can't just not think about business models because then the company might not be here in the future. If you look at the Premium servers that we have out there now, I would definitely not argue that that gets in the way of having fun."

"There are some premium features that the people who take part in this service get and that other people won't, and of course they could feel that they're left out or they might feel disappointed, but I don't think that the argument's correct that it gets in the way of the fun of it."

He also referenced DICE's own experience reacting to customer feedback, after it faced negative responses to its server set up.

"The dedicated servers on console, for instance, there was a big cry out in the community that after we released the rent-a-server programme on console there were no dedicated original servers. We heard that, we changed it and we tuned it back. Sometimes we do something and we have to scale it back."

DICE, also known as Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment, was founded in 1992. It was acquired by EA in 2004, and is best known for its recent work on the Battlefield series.

Via Eurogamer.

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Latest comments (6)

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
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Leo Wakelin Community & Social Media Manager, Fatshark5 years ago
He does make good points indeed. What strikes me as odd is that he is GM for DICE. DICE rarely hear their community, they do not focus on making Battlefield 3 (their most recent title, with some stiff competition to boot (COD anyone?)) the best it can be, but seem to focus on milking it dry - squeezing every scent of profit out of the (potentially amazing) title over providing a stable platform for the PC user to play from (Battlelog). BL is quite possibly the most inconvenient and unstable means of launching a game I have ever experienced.
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Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer 5 years ago
What happens when the business model impedes the ability to create great games?

For example, here's a business model that has not "come and gone". Project-based, art patronage. It has only been reponsible for the Renaissance and all the tradition of western art, and film, and music, and architecture.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Tim Carter on 13th August 2012 8:29pm

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Brian Lewis Operations Manager, PlayNext5 years ago
He is absolutely correct in this article... this is how a developer should think.

However, there should also be a business component assigned to the game, to make sure that when the developers have built 'fun' that everyone can still get paid, and make enough money to create the next new game. if your developers are thinking about the business model... then you are wasting their talent.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
Geezuz Cripes. I've been saying this for YEARS. Make good games, people - the money will come later. Make a business model and wrap a game into that and it's doomed to fail once users see through it and stop paying.
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Sandy Lobban Founder, Noise Me Up5 years ago
In my own personal opinion.....

I understand the point of view being made here, and itís the correct motivation you should have as a games maker, but I don't think itís as clear cut as that in a business sense.

Itís true to say that the software experience is the key, but hardware interfaces are the way in which users access the software and interact with it. Input methods change (touch screens for example). When something like this becomes the widely accepted method of interaction for an audience, then your game design can become more relevant/less relevant/ a success/a failure depending on how fluid and fun the device and your software work together. This means that hardware is important in the equation of a great game. Different games play to the strengths and weaknesses of devices and human interaction methods. I would say FPS games are pretty much pointless on a tablet for example, without thumb sticks, where as games like World of Goo work really well. If everyone has a tablet and that's the market, then maybe this impacts on your game design, you make different design decisions and ultimately make a different game experience as a result. Similarly it can swing the other way and everyone might have a console with thumb sticks, or run games from the cloud where slight lag is not detrimental to the game experience, so then your design changes to suit this hardware.

Great software for a given piece of hardware is the key for me, but hardware or platforms will always come with a business model. Itís worth considering I think, but yes you should always focus on engaging, fun experiences whatever the platform.
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