GameDev Thoughts: Finding The Right Mindset For Self-Improvement

When you think of game developers or game publishers, what companies do you think of? Maybe Bethesda, Activision, Electronic Arts, etc. That’s because these companies are absolutely massive, and they hold a significant portion of the gaming market share. Well, what about the little companies? How could they ever hope to surpass one of these titans in the industry?

Becoming a major player in any space is simply a matter of doing what needs to be done, and doing it well. Successful game companies stuck to their guns until they hit a gold mine, and once they started mining it, it never halted nor depleted. Instead of aiming to be better relative to others, we should should aim to be better than ourselves some time in the past; after all, if you’re not improving over yourself, you’re definitely not besting others. As long as the improvement is continuous, there’s always a chance that one of your games will become a hit.

This same concept could relate to life as a whole if you want the truth; as long as you’re bettering yourself, don’t worry about how others are relative to you, just know that you’re putting in the effort to improve yourself and eventually good things will come out of it, even if these “superior” people are intimidating in the present.

Take a look at Devolver Digital. Its first four years were spent as the publisher for Croteam and its shooter, Serious Sam. They helped to bring Sam back from the grave, but they then decided to experiment with publishing their own small-scale, high-concept games, with their first major success being Hotline Miami. They were relatively unknown for their first several years, but after they succeeded in finding a hit, they were suddenly boosted to fame, and have continued to publish many successful games to this day.

Important Takeaways: Worrying about your company’s relative performance is not the right way to go about doing things. Who cares if Bethesda is a better company than yours? You have to put in the effort to go about improving yourself if you want to ever compare, but the real goal shouldn’t be to become comparable to anyone else at all. Instead, you should focus on improving. If you do nothing but improve, it can’t get anything but better, and so eventually it might be comparable to one of the titans in the industry. It’s all about self-competition, because, as Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”