Nine Dots aims at developing games that will drive the industry forward. To achieve this, we treat developers like human beings and video games like art rather than toys.
We want to develop games for various niche markets, mostly toward the more mature and educated gamers. The video game industry is currently afflicted by issues both in what we produce and how we produces it. Now, this doesn’t mean that we don’t like gaming. Everyone at Nine Dots is passionate about video games and that it why we want to see the industry evolve into something even better. There is just too much potential, it has to be explored further. We’ll lead by example and try to find and apply solutions to the issues affecting our industry.
The problem with what the industry does
Any art form has to evolve. At the beginning of cinema, TV shows were recorded just like theater pieces: the camera was idle in front of a stage. Moving the camera around revealed a whole new dimension to film making. Video games are currently done using an “idle camera”. Rather than explore the content of video games, the industry focused on exploring the container. Instead of tackling different subject matters, we tried different input methods, from game pad to motion control to touch screen. We have more RAM, but do we have that much more meaningful experiences? We care too much about technology, not enough about the message we could deliver to our audience. Video games’ greatest strength is interactivity. Our audience isn’t passive, it has an impact on its experience. We should strive to increase this impact as much as possible. The users must shape their experience through customization, expression and exploration. These will always be in the forefront of the Nine Dots experience, and we’ll try to explore a variety of themes along the way.
The problem with how the industry does it
Did you know that on average, game developers quit the industry after only 5 years? A worrying number when you think that developers studied about 4 years on average to get in. This situation is mostly due to poor working conditions and the inability to conciliate work and family. Here’s a small sample of issues very commonly observed: unreasonable amounts of overtime, lack of transparency from upper management, working on uninteresting projects or always working on the same franchise, poor selection for leadership positions, etc. Of course, complaining alone won’t change anything, so what are we going to do about it? The key is to be in control as much as possible. We get to choose our projects, our deadlines and our priorities. We also impose a limit of 52 hours of work per week, but we very rarely go over 40. We have strict internal policies that allow everyone to voice their concerns about the game or the management. Essentially, we do everything we can to make sure the whole team is on the same page and working on a project they feel is their own.
We’ve published our pilot project, Brand, in February 2012 on Xbox Live Indie Games and released the game on PC in May 2012. We then moved on to a new project, GoD Factory: Wingmen, which was picked up and published by Bandai Namco in August 2014. We are now in development on Outward, an open world RPG.