It’s a thought that has undoubtedly crossed your mind at one time or another:
“What if someone steals my idea while I’m developing my game?”
It’s the reason why so many people fail to talk about their game ideas in public and actually fail to market their game properly before launch. Heck, I’ve spoken with indie developers that have said this exact same thing! They’re afraid that if the wrong person hears about their game, like a thief in the night the person is going to rush over to their computer and release a game before they do.
That original idea you have?
- It’s probably not that original to begin with.
- Other indie developers probably are not as impressed with the idea as you are.
Harsh to be sure, it’s the reality of the situation.
“But I think it is original.”
No, it’s not. Believe me when I say that every video game ever released – and every single game in the future – owes a little something to the games before it. The phrase, “standing on the shoulders of giants,” is appropriate, because every game ever released could not have been possible had it not been for the games of the past. Even games that seem the most original have borrowed concepts and ideas from other games.
In the words of Ezra Pound, “make it new.”
In other words, the true mark of a great game is not how original it is, but how interesting and fun to play the developer makes it. Think your idea is original? It’s not, but you will be able to find new ways to make your indie game feel like a breath of fresh air all the same.
Again, make it new.
“But I think others will be impressed.”
The ideas that we have are usually not as awesome to other people as we think they are. For instance, look at The Sims. When you hear someone explaining the concept of the games, they sound like the most boring games ever made. Who wants to watch simulated people go to the bathroom, read the paper, and go on a date anyway? It sounds boring!
Even so, millions of people have enjoyed The Sims for well over a decade. Personally, I don’t enjoy it, but when I watch my wife play, I can why so many people enjoy them. Do you think Will Wright had to worry about people stealing his ideas for The Sims? Not a chance. It sounded boring, but Wright knew he had a hit on his hands. The concept was awesome to him, but to outsiders? It sounded like a glorified dollhouse simulator.
Your vision is what counts
It’s easy to have an idea for a video game. Ask any player if they have an idea for a game, and they’ll shoot off at least a handful of ideas regarding games they want to play. Ideas are endless, and they’re actually quite worthless when you think about it. I’d love to have a robot companion that cleans my house from top to bottom every day, but this idea is pretty worthless in my hands, and you know why? Because I don’t have the vision to make the idea come to life.
Believe me; nobody can steal your vision. Anyone can steal an idea, but if they don’t have a proper vision for the idea, it isn’t going to do them any good. If a dozen people stole the idea for your indie game, it doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, you have an idea in mind for how you are going to properly bring the idea to life. The individuals that stole your idea? They probably don’t have a clue.
There’s no need of being fearful that someone is going to steal your idea. In the end, there’s nothing to worry about. Speak openly about your ideas and market upcoming games without being afraid that someone is going to come along and steal the concept. In the end, your indie studio will be better for it.