If a game developer I was to approach a venture capitalist and say that here’s the situation:
- The game is in alpha state (meaning it’s still in very early development)
- The game has blocky graphics
- The game has no tutorial, but you can check some youtube videos players make
- The point of the game is to place blocks around while running away from skeletons (or something)
- The developer has no company (no time to mess with the legals side of things yet)
- The game development is done like this: “There’s no design doc, but there are two lists; one for bugs, and one for features I want to add but think I might forget.”
… I think the venture capitalist wouldn’t say “that sounds like a recipe for a game that’s sure to make 3,5M+ euros! I’m sold!”
Back to earth
I don’t really know why Minecraft is so popular but here’s couple of things that caught my eye:
- First of all, it’s based on already fun game, Infiniminer. Minecraft dev said that this game idea looked fun, and saw that it could have tons of potential.
- Secondly, the game idea itself is about building/creation/exploration. People like these things. Think of Sims, or think of Farmville. Or think of older games: Civilization 1 for example. Or even older, games like Populous. Man is good at destroying things, but there’s something strangely satisfying in building something. (Since you get the bragging rights).
- Thirdly: I don’t know exactly how, but Minecraft got good publicity from Steam (and was selling pretty neatly before that too) and then “Paypal froze 600 000 euros” story, then Twitter and everywhere. Of course this probably wouldn’t happen unless the game was phenomenonal, but I think also marketingwise things worked out pretty slick.
I look at Minecraft development and think that it’s just… amazing. Everything around it. It does things differently. Every advice I’ve got about “doing things by the book” really are ready to be thrown out of the window.
Really makes you stop and think for a moment.