Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Game Jam: As a Business Model

 A game jam is where a game developer or development team tries to make a game in a short period of time. The format doesn’t necessarily have a standard amount of time or a specific  number of participants. The game jams in which I have participated have lasted for 6hrs to 48hrs and ranging from two to six man teams. There is a variation of the game jam that I term as the game storm, which focuses on only creating game concepts. In the past game jams were a form of geekathlon, but this iron geek event is no longer just to showing off. But seen from a different perspective game jams offer new business opportunities. In the following I use scenarios to describe my theoretical usage of the game jam and game storm.

Scenario 1: A city or a region wants to stimulate industry growth. Solution, hold a game jam. Help the winners to obtain subsidies and/ or loans, as well as consultants that can help them with a business plan.

Scenario 2: A company is looking for talented game developers. Solution, hold a game jam. Have your recruiter at the game jam. Not only will you get an impression of their hard skills, but also an impression of their soft skills, such as their ability to work with others and their enthusiasm for making games.

Scenario 3: A game studio or publisher is looking for inspiration or innovation. Solution, hold a game jam or a game storm. Good old fashion brainstorming might just not cut it, why not invite some fresh blood to get your blood boiling again?

Scenario 4: You or your organization are interested in potentially using applied games, but you don’t really know how a game can be applied to your domain or goals. Solution, hold a game jam or a game storm. Use students and companies to show you how they would potentially  handle your problem with a game.

Scenario 5: Your studio has just hired new employees in the middle of a project and need them to be up to speed as soon as possible. Surprise! Hold a game jam. What better way to indoctrinate people into the company’s way of working.

Scenario 6: You have a game event, and you want live entertainment. Surprise, again! Hold a game jam. You could also tie the game jam to different sponsors where the jammers need to use their technology to show it off.