Shopping lists this holiday season may be full of more video game titles than ever as the gaming industry continues to dominate the entertainment dollar. Sales figures show that Americans purchased more than 2.8 million new video game consoles during the Thanksgiving/Black Friday week alone, with hot titles such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
, WWE '12
, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and Just Dance 3 making their way to Christmas stockings across the country.
In a marketplace crowded with name brand video game hits, smaller indie studios must fight to compete for a piece of the pie. One such studio is Xona Games
, publisher of indie titles such as Score Rush, Decimation X3 and Duality ZF.
Twin brothers Jason and Matthew Doucette founded the company, taking a lifelong hobby of programming that started on the TI 99/4a home computer into a publisher that has won awards and hit the top of popularity charts in Japan and Canada.
"The biggest challenge is the lack of resources," said Jason Doucette, Xona's lead programmer. "In general, you only have a few people, and those few have to wear many hats, including ones no one likely wants to wear: the business hats. Further, converting a hobby into a business without losing the soul and passion of it is a tough thing to do."
While lacking the financial means of mainstream gaming studios, Jason states being an indie publisher does have advantages.
"We have the advantage of less risk," he said. "The only people you can harm is yourself. We also have the advantage of a more free flow of ideas and innovation. We can prototype quickly and try ideas out. We can move freely into new markets and test the waters with original thoughts that may or may not be risky."
In developing game concepts, Jason Doucette says he finds new inspiration in a variety of places.
"Almost every game I’ve played inspires me, especially the good ones," he added. "Whenever I play a title, I’m always thinking I could fix something or do it better. Some of these thoughts are unfounded, but sometimes we’re in a situation to put some of them to the test. Some succeed and some fail. You throw out the bad, and move forward with the good. It’s an evolution."
Xona's current projects include porting Score Rush to the Turbulenz platform, allowing gamers to compete against one another on global leaderboards.
To learn more about Xona Games, hit their official website by clicking here
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