Don’t Fear the Economy, Start Your Company Now

When all of the headlines around you are blaring that the world is coming to an end, the economy will never bounce back, and “it’s different this time”, you should be backing up the truck, and be moving in the opposite direction.

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As the chart below shows, every company I have started was in a recession, and I think that is the best time to start. Computertutor (which was sold to eventually become Dynamix) was started in 1981, a recession year. Sierra bought Dynamix in 1990, also a recession year. GarageGames started in 1999, but did not get going until the end of 2000, which was the collapse of Web 1.0, leading to recession. Now we are starting Push Button Labs in 2008, now a recession year. I find that to be a good omen:)

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In a recession, all of the greedy people just along to make money drop out, so there is less competition. There is less “dumb money” from investors looking to make an easy buck also, so there is less capital to fund competitors. Employees are happy to have jobs, so wages go down.

In addition, I think games are pretty recession proof. They are small purchases that provide a lot of entertainment for the purchase price. In addition, they are a great form of escapism.

Anyway, damn the recession. Full steam ahead!

-Jeff Tunnell, Game Maker
Make It Big In Games

25 thoughts on “Don’t Fear the Economy, Start Your Company Now

  1. Really liked this post :)
    You always found the way to encourage and make people feel better.

    AND Im reaaally tired of hearing about the apocalypse (although I must say, would be a damn good ending, a la Al Capone: “humanity survived houndred of prophecies and environmental disasters… but economics are economics” ).

  2. Really liked this post :)
    You always found the way to encourage and make people feel better.

    AND Im reaaally tired of hearing about the apocalypse (although I must say, would be a damn good ending, a la Al Capone: “humanity survived houndred of prophecies and environmental disasters… but economics are economics” ).

  3. Great post Jeff. Historically, budget entertainment has always done well in bad economies. The boom of comic books, low budget theater serials, and penny arcades were great depression artifacts.

    People will be looking for escape if the economy gets bad enough. People will be more apt to go for that entertainment if they don't feel bad about the amount of money they are putting towards it.

    I guess this makes a better argument about learning Flash. People will be less ready to update their home computer and high budget games that depend on bleeding edge tech will be hurt the most.

  4. Great post Jeff. Historically, budget entertainment has always done well in bad economies. The boom of comic books, low budget theater serials, and penny arcades were great depression artifacts.

    People will be looking for escape if the economy gets bad enough. People will be more apt to go for that entertainment if they don't feel bad about the amount of money they are putting towards it.

    I guess this makes a better argument about learning Flash. People will be less ready to update their home computer and high budget games that depend on bleeding edge tech will be hurt the most.

  5. The Sunday paper here in South Africa had this in big letters on the front cover: DON'T PANIC. It was straight out of Douglas Adams. In small print, “…says leading banking and political leaders.” Life imitates art once again.

    When people are depressed, they want to escape. What better way than entertainment? What better entertainment is there than games that immerse you in a whole new world? When gas is up, crime is up, and more people are jobless and at home, what better thing to do at home than play games? Sad but true, recessions are good for the entertainment industry. When people are fat, they go do other things than play games (travel, spend discretionary income freely, etc). I think free/cheap game models will be that much more powerful in this “new economy.” People don't have $60 to spend on the latest shader overkill. $5 downloads are more like it. Wii got it right (World of Goo anyone?).

    I am reading about people taking all their money out of their bank account to buy gold bullion bars. I am doing the same. Except my gold bullion bars are my games. And I have been doing it all along. It's an investment that no banker can sink. Good game design is recession-proof.

  6. The Sunday paper here in South Africa had this in big letters on the front cover: DON'T PANIC. It was straight out of Douglas Adams. In small print, “…says leading banking and political leaders.” Life imitates art once again.

    When people are depressed, they want to escape. What better way than entertainment? What better entertainment is there than games that immerse you in a whole new world? When gas is up, crime is up, and more people are jobless and at home, what better thing to do at home than play games? Sad but true, recessions are good for the entertainment industry. When people are fat, they go do other things than play games (travel, spend discretionary income freely, etc). I think free/cheap game models will be that much more powerful in this “new economy.” People don't have $60 to spend on the latest shader overkill. $5 downloads are more like it. Wii got it right (World of Goo anyone?).

    I am reading about people taking all their money out of their bank account to buy gold bullion bars. I am doing the same. Except my gold bullion bars are my games. And I have been doing it all along. It's an investment that no banker can sink. Good game design is recession-proof.

    • “Employees are happy to have jobs, so wages go down.” – I don't think I see how this a good thing? I suppose if you are the one paying peoples salaries, then it would be a benefit.. but to the guy stressing about making ends meet, it's not really a plus.

  7. “Employees are happy to have jobs, so wages go down.” – I don't think I see how this a good thing? I suppose if you are the one paying peoples salaries, then it would be a benefit.. but to the guy stressing about making ends meet, it's not really a plus.

  8. Thank you thank you thank you ! I am in the process of starting another company too, and it is so nice to hear I am not the madman everyone around me would like me to believe !

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