Ramblings on Game Platforms, HTML5 and Payment Fragmentation

PS3, Mac, HTML5/Flash, iPhone, iPad, Droid 4.0, Xbox360, Wii, DS, PSP and PC. I play games on each of these platforms in pretty much that order. It’s a frightening amount of tech devices when you see them written down and/or scattered throughout my house.

Is it too much? I think it is. A cheap (and likely ill thought) comparison with other entertainments would be the music, television and film industry. To consume media from those industries doesn’t require an arsenal of tech that resembles the bunker scenes from Wargames like gaming does.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the variety and as a gamer who remembers the Christmas I got an Atari VCS/2600 in the late 70’s it’s amazing. But as a developer building a game company it’s making wonder which platform’s the best target and specifically if HTML5 gaming can support itself.

This past week I’ve played Renegade Ops, Infamous 2 and completed Dead Space 2 on the PS3, played through Cave Story+ and Bastion on the Mac, Super Goat Wars on the iPad and Cavorite on the iPhone. What’s interesting is that I only paid specifically for the last 2 as item purchases on iOS as I used PSN plus and bought the Humble Indie Bundle to ‘play’ the former games. As an aside, I wonder at what point we’ll see the same discounted/grouping approach on iOS?

The bottom line there is I didn’t pay very much (perhaps £15) to play, what I consider to be, some of the highest quality games I’ve ever played. With PSN Plus it’s unlikely I’ll ever buy a PS3 title off the shelf – that could be down to my age and the fact I’ve become a little unmoved by marketing frenzy. What’s scarce isn’t money but my time to play all these great games – a subject covered by much smarter people elsewhere.

Gaming, for me, has become a Vegas-style all you can eat buffet and my concern is how that affects the developer. That is, how much of the money trickles down to the developer and does the developer choose their platform based on the demographic of the platform or build their game around a platform’s ability to maximise the profits they can get from it?

To help get some data on the subject I’m going to try and get a bunch of developers from the various platforms to take part in a Q&A session…maybe GameCity Nights could help 😉 ?

So first up, would you pay to play an HTML5 game or is there nothing of ‘value’ at the moment?

[polldaddy poll=6457783]

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