Chris Delay of Introversion has been posting a rather worrying, yet absolutely fascinating entry on the Introversion blog about how 2008 has been a troubling year for one of my favourite UK developers. Among the things mentioned are Microsoft, the demise of their distributor Pinnacle and their Channel 4 project Chronometer which sadly never quite came to fruition.

We knew the money issue had to be addressed directly, and quickly. We were on track to be bust in just a few months. We made some hard choices, and seriously considered closing up for good. In the end we closed our office in London Bridge, and moved into somewhere a lot smaller and a lot less cool in Elephant&Castle, south London (where we are still based today). We tightened our belts across the board, bringing all our monthly expenses right down. This was probably the lowest point for me personally. For the first time since starting Introversion, I Googled for jobs around the Cambridge area, making it as far as actually clicking on some links before having to fight back tears. The company we’d founded together out of university was almost dead, the Directors took it in turns to lose the will to continue for a few days at a time, and it all looked pretty bleak for a while.

I’m really glad it ends on a more positive note, as I don’t think there would be anything much sadder than the death of Introversion – I do enjoy their games, even if I am among those who didn’t really get along with Multiwinia as much as perhaps I should have. It’s also fascinating to read about just how hard it really is for any developer – not just an ‘indie’ one like Introversion – to be successful. The brutal honesty makes for some eye opening reading. If you’ve got any interest in games developers and the industry I implore you give it a look.

It’s in three parts: Here’s a link to One, Two & Three. – and I really do wish them well in the future, hopefully 2009 will prove to be a much better year.

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2 Responses to Last of the Last of the Bedroom Programmers?

  1. Lambo says:

    That’s really very worrying. I still love uplink…. At least, as you said, it ends on a positive note.


  2. Mike says:

    I think it’s partly down to some bad business moves on their part, though. In general, bedroom coding is extremely healthy and there’s a submarket that’s just as accessible as it was decades ago. I think what people often miss is that ‘bedroom coding’ doesn’t thrive for the big commercial market, because that’s not where it started. Bedroom coding has been kept alive by the Internet and mobile gaming, and I’m really excited about what those platforms hold for the future.

    If Introversion go under, it’ll be sad – primarily because Chris was doing some very interesting work. But I think it’s entirely reasonable for it to happen – they were trying to play with the big boys, and it’s not easy to do.

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