Why Build a Game Creator?

Several people have asked me, "Why would we do this?" They imply that there are so many better things to do. I typically speak about it in terms of increasing the potential universe of people who can create -- developers of a sort. And I've made the argument in the past that something like Popfly is competing for attention with things like TV or Xbox more than something like Visual Studio.

Courtesy Jon Udell, I found a much more articulate way of thinking about this: a blog post from Clay Shirkyon called Gin, Television, and Social Surplus:

Let's say that everything stays 99 percent the same, that people watch 99 percent as much television as they used to, but 1 percent of that is carved out for producing and for sharing. The Internet-connected population watches roughly a trillion hours of TV a year. That's about five times the size of the annual U.S. consumption. One per cent of that  is 100 Wikipedia projects per year worth of participation.

I think that's going to be a big deal. Don't you?

Yes, I do. If we can get even 1% of the casual-game-playing population to try to build a casual game -- to move from consumer to producer -- we've done a big thing.

Oh, and the other reason I love this post is that it defends Lolcats:

It's better to do something than to do nothing. Even lolcats, even cute pictures of kittens made even cuter with the addition of cute captions, hold out an invitation to participation. When you see a lolcat, one of the things it says to the viewer is, "If you have some sans-serif fonts on your computer, you can play this game, too."

I have a soft spot for Lolcats.

Technorati Tags: Popfly, social surplus, participation