Addictive Games, Games Design, Money and Business, The 80s

Innovation in Concept and Games Design

People, including Miles Jacobson, kindly mentioned that in its day my Football Manager was innovative in concept and design. There was nothing else like it and it set a new direction and genre of games. I was unfettered by having to match what is popular, and trying to vary on that. Before smart phones came along and disrupted the games industry business models there was a lot of “playing safe” with designs. It’s understandable. If you are investing millions into a game development, then you want to be sure of a return on it. Whilst being radical in design will perhaps (that is the point, perhaps!) produce a better game, playing safe and cloning a current games model will at least guarantee that a percentage of the market will like it.
I didn’t have to play safe then and I don’t have to play safe now. I am not trying to copy anything else, I am just trying to produce something I am proud of, and to my own standards. It’s pretty damned healthy motivation actually! 🙂

Life, Thoughts, Philosophy, Money and Business

30 years ago Football Manager – Cash up front!!

I was running the company selling Football Manager, we had a number of companies distributing our product. It was not an easy environment because the whole industry was new, nobody had a track record you could check.

I hired a woman in sales and she found a new distributor for the game. They wanted to order 3,000 units, a nice starter order! But they wanted to be on credit and pay later (typically 60 to 90 days later!). I told my new sales woman that we must get cash up front for the first order as a sign of goodwill and that they are solvent – with no track record for companies because they were new, you could not credit check them.

She went back to the company and came back to me “They won’t do cash up front it’s against their company policy”. I reminded her it only applied to their first order and insisted. The distributor would not budge on this.

My sales woman said to me “I got the sale for 3,000 units and you are blocking it!”. I stuck to my policy. What happened next was interesting. My saleswoman was busy overnight and the next morning as I walked in, 3,000 units were stacked and boxed in reception with the distributors address on it. I didn’t budge and had to step over those boxes every day for 3 weeks.

What happened after 3 weeks? The distributor went into liquidation.

My sales woman never argued with my policies again!! 🙂



Life, Thoughts, Philosophy, Money and Business

SOPA and PIPA are not the way to stop Piracy

I have had my own intellectual property pirated(I have heard all the excuses and justifications). It’s tough to take, but, the solution being put through the US law process at the moment is wrong. It will mess with the Internet and damage freedom of expression. Big, powerful companies will exploit it to bully and get what they want, just as they do now with Patents etc.

Here is a good explanation of why it is bad law

Life, Thoughts, Philosophy, Money and Business

2012 the Year of Positivity

Why should it be? Because we are surrounded right now by doomsayers. The demise of the Euro, global recession, austerity measures, no future for young people, the coming year will be the worst, etc etc.
Let’s make a football analogy. If you send your team out saying they are going to lose and there is no hope, what will happen? They will lose.
But what if you say the other team is vulnerable, that if we raise our game we can beat them. Then you might just win.
The point is, inspirational leadership is needed. And we lack that right now. Leaders yes, no inspirational leaders.
So I think we have to lead ourselves. My resolution for 2012- try and see the positives and ignore the gloom merchants!! Have a great year! 🙂

Life, Thoughts, Philosophy, Money and Business

The Cloud (iCloud) and Banking

It’s going to put us all through a decision. Apple are well under way with it for iOS and many other companies are adopting it. – Putting all our files on remote servers(the Cloud). Then we can synchronise different machines from it, our files are available everywhere, and when our computer fails, we don’t have to panic about whether we backed up.

But, all of our files held by someone else? Can we trust them? What if they misuse our files? What if THEY lose them? Some of these things have already happened.

I’ll tell you what I think – we’ll have to treat it like banking. We put our money in banks for them to look after for us. We trust them, but they do fail. So we spread the money around different banks to reduce the risk, and we keep some at home too, for emergencies.

So spread, and duplicate too, your important files into different clouds. Keep critical copies at home. And always think about what happens when your Cloud supplier(Bank), no matter how unlikely, fails!!



Life, Thoughts, Philosophy, Money and Business

Putting games out – the business models

I do believe games creation is an art form, a technical art form. We are in an era now, where there are similarities to when I started writing games. Individuals are writing and publishing games themselves. Of course people have always continued to do that, with flash games for example. But often for no financial return. It’s a romantic idea the struggling artist, but it’s not great for productivity and continued output.

The ‘someone publishing for me’ is a model that has been around for a while too. Sadly I have seen many cases where that did not work too, with artists not being paid having made sometime millions for their publishers.

Maybe in this Internet enabled world we are going to see viable self publishing models develop. What a great boost for artistic output it will be if we get that to work.

Games, Money and Business

The iPhone/iPad Market

I have recently been reading about app entrepreneurs- those who have made their businesses based around the App Store. It’s now evolved to the state where people are wondering where it’s going to go from here. Judging by my experience in the early computer games market it will start consolidating now. – Some companies will combine to gain economies of scale, and some, with weaker ideas and products, who just jumped on the bandwagon of the App Store, will disappear. Over time the market will have the stronger and the better.

But, there are differences. It’s possible to have an app in the App Store without doing much investment in it. It can just tick over and be present. So the company selling it can continue quietly.

And, whatever happens, it’s still great that individual developers with great ideas can sell direct to their customers at a low distribution cost, and therefore they don’t have to sell themselves to a publisher to get their ideas to market.