Do We Need Boutique Developers?

Michael Abbott has another little thought provoking post over at the Brainy Gamer on whether or not we need 'boutique' developers — just like the heavies of the film industry have divisions that deal in 'boutique' titles:

Portal is a boutique studio project. Valve could have made it bigger, longer, and splashier and unveiled it as their NEXT BIG IP. Or they could have simply bought the team and plowed all those great ideas into the next edition of Half-Life. Instead, they made a game that was just the size it needed to be with just the amount of attention it required.

We need more boutique developers. I believe there is a vital market for such games and an enthusiastic community of gamers hungry for such experiences. Not every game requires a 3-year $100 million development and marketing effort. And there's something to be said for allowing gamers to discover a game and push it forward ourselves. This was a big part of Portal's success, in my view, packed as it was into The Orange Box with much bigger and more recognisable titles.

I'd venture a 'yes, that would be nice'; the question is, would more studios be willing to follow the Orange Box path?

Do we need boutique developers? [The Brainy Gamer]


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