It may seem like a strong headline, but it is the harsh reality. The Spanish video game industry has too many shadows, and it is based on a triumphalism from which one should flee.
Video games now occupy an important part of our day to day. Whether with a game on a console or computer, or hanging out with a mobile game, we all play video games one way or another. And the videogame industry, in this scenario, only grows.
And that affirms the ‘White paper of the Spanish development of videogames’, a report published by the Spanish Association of Producers and Developers of Videogames and Entertainment Software (DEV for its acronym, not to run out of air). The report states that in 2015 there were 480 video game companies, 20% more than in 2014. But, as we can read in EFE Futuro, this figure is false and belongs to a bubble.
The Spanish video game industry lives in a bubble
«If there are 400 studies, 200 or 300 may be opened every year to replace those who are closing»
Antonio Santo, coordinator of the Games Industry Forum festival, is blunt. «The video game has a serious problem in Spain: we live in a bubble». The problem is not that the industry is wrong, the problem is that we have no industry. If a video game developer loses his job in a studio, he has no other to send his resume to. There is no kind of industrial fabric.
Jon Cortázar (Relay Videogames) and Arturo Monedero (Delirium Studios), call into question the figures of the ‘white paper’. «If there are 400 studies, 200 or 300 may be opened every year to replace those who are closing». The study does not differentiate between newly created studies and studies that manage to endure more than two years open. And, according to Cortázar, this is because in Spain too much importance is placed on creative development.
In addition to the lack of business mentality, another big problem is triumphalism. Many insist that the industry is doing well because we have «A lot of creative talent» or what «We are doing very well». Stresses the lack of professionalization of the sector, and innovative vision.
There are good Spanish games (and apps), but that's not the point
But beware there are Spanish video games (and applications), and very good. Even Google Play has enough material to make a section of Spanish applications and games. Cannon Land, Train Crisis, Respawnables, NBA General Manager … there are many cases of good video games born in Spain.
The problem is that we put too much emphasis on creativity, but not so much on the viability of the business. We can have a Ferrari, but it will not run if you do not add gas. Has to there is a good financing cycle, publication and marketing. If all these conditions were given, great video games could be created in Spain. Games that left their mark, and were revolutionary.
We interview one of Angry Birds' parents, he tells us about the present and future of the saga
We have talked with Peter Vesterbacka about the progress of Rovio and Angry Birds, a brand that according to his words live more than one hundred years.
But, as it does not exist, Spanish studies are usually small. And they are dominated by the development of several games in a very short period of time. A trend to which mobile games have contributed, which require less development in comparison. According to Cortázar, «I have heard people say that‘ Candy Crush ’is crap that is breaking video games. I wish I had done it ».
The industry must be founded, from scratch
Both founders consider it crucial that there are success stories that act as tugs. Cortázar warns that «A strong sector cannot be supported by the word‘ indie '». We have to get rid of the idea that video games are a separate project to put to dead hours.
Y the government must support this industry, and not with subsidies: Encourage hiring and lower taxes is a good way to go. The truth is this industry must be founded from scratch.