After almost 13 years of being part of Ubisoft’s biggest games, I’ve decided to resign. I will be working for my company, Quantum Theory, full time starting 4/10/2015.
In recent years, the game industry has a made a dramatic shift in accessibility for ambitious developers. The cost of development has hit the floor. Publishing a game has gone from tens of thousands to almost free. Advertising costs to get your game in front of millions are almost non-existant. Games that are profitable and enjoyed around the world are now commonly made by small groups, sometimes even an army of 1. High schools, colleges, and universities now offer degree programs for game development. And more recently, with the unprecedented investments in VR by numerous Fortune 500 companies, I can no longer stand by and watch.
Games are ubiquitous now. 10 years ago it was a big industry. Last year my retired mother downloads the lastest free-to-play games from the AppStore while my aunt tells me about Minecraft. These are babyboomers, brought up mostly in an age where color television was revolutionary. Now young kids are enrolling in summer camps and programs that use Minecraft as a means to understand programming and logic.
4 years ago while I was working on Rainbow 6: Patriots, a buddy of mine on the team mentioned how he was publishing his own art content online in places such as the 3D Studio, Turboquid, and the Unity Asset Store. As a 3D Artist, I was familiar with those outlets but never took them seriously. In my hubris, it seemed to me that AAA game development and art was so respected and highly coveted that these efforts were nothing more than a sideshow; only kids or bargain-basement advertising agencies would use these services. I didn’t expect a king’s ransom in revenue, but I asked him how much he was earning.
“100-150 bucks a month or so.”
Given my arrogance, you might think I would’ve laughed or at least balked at the response. I think many people would, but immediately something kicked and I said, “Wow. That’s a pretty high credit card bill.”
I tend to dream a bit big. It just stuck in my head. I can do a lot with 100$ a month; buy a new laptop, new software, new camera. I can start a business and deduct it all. Of course I would first need content to publish.
Before long, things really started to roll in the Unity Asset Store. A year from that conversation, I had 3 packs available. My fourth, the Urban Construction Pack, is what really planted the seed in my mind that I may actually be able to do this full time. I kept updating, publishing, marketing, researching, learning, and now 4 years later I’m where I want to be, and it’s all been done part time on nights and weekends.
This entire gaming evolution excites me. I always wanted to make my own game, not just participate and contribute to someone else’s. The industry has matured to the point where I, and my family, can do it without eating bologna sandwiches and iced tea mix every night for the foreseeable future. My head is replete with ideas not just for games, but art projects that other game developers would find useful or inspiring. It’s immensely empowering to know that I will have 100% control over what I do, how I do it, and when it goes out. I just can’t wait.