Indie Hardware?

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by jdshad, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. jdshad

    jdshad New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I'm Currently interested in making my own game system and before I goto school for hardware, I'd like to know how likely it is that I can make my own system to one day sell? I was wondering what it takes to actually make a system. I basically want to create a system that is basically something like a PC with a controller(Have a bunch of idea's for a system), that I can make games for and maybe one day sell. If anyone ever made a system or has experience making systems I'd love to hear from you.
     
  2. Gary Preston

    Original Member

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    Buy a copy of the "Black Art of Video Game Console Design" by Andre' LaMothe, read it through, digest it and design/build something. You'll likely be able to answer your own question then.

    Chances are once you've worked through that book, you'll decide it's not feasible* to design/build a new console and make money selling it, let alone selling games for it (at least without funding and even then...). But, don't let that stop you learning, aside from been great fun, you may find a way to sell other types of hardware or enjoy it enough to pursue a career in hardware.

    If however, you're more interested in selling games, you'd be better off creating them for existing and established platforms, Windows/Mac/Linux/iOS/Android...

    *as with all things there are exceptions, although I'm not sure if they're making money yet, but they have designed/built and are selling a custom handheld. In fact, their story shows how much time/effort/cost and issues can occur once you've finished the design and are ready to manufacture.
     
    #2 Gary Preston, Apr 26, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2011
  3. oNyx

    Original Member

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    Forget about it.

    There are some homebrew handhelds which are based on the SoC hardware found in mobile phones (and similar devices) like the GP32X, GP2X, GP2X Wiz, GP2X Caanoo, Dingoo, Odroid, and Pandora. The Pandora is probably the most indie one, given that it was some kind of community effort. However, the road was very rocky and there is no money to be made. The margins are puny.

    Also keep in mind that consoles are typically heavily subsidized. There is no way to compete with existing consoles in terms of hardware power if you don't want to lose several hundred dollars per unit.

    The only sensible option is something like those ARM based single-board computers like the BeagleBoard or PandaBoard, which are kinda like super beefy smartphones from the future. You'd have to pay $150-180 for the board alone and compared to other consoles it would be still very last gen (think Dreamcast or PS2).

    Who would buy such a system for $250+? Who would develop for it?
     
  4. jdshad

    jdshad New Member

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    Think I'll try reading that book. Maybe if I started off making something just for myself to play around with would be better? I really wanna gotot for hardware. Besides that book is there a way to really get into how to build a system. Everything from just starting off to sucess stories of other indie systems. Cant find much on indie hardware.
     
  5. mwtb

    Original Member

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    There are a few people who seem to have some sort of indie business for themselves hacking together custom hardware out of standard parts (think steampunk keyboards and retro consoles turned into handhelds) but I doubt they're making enough to live on.

    The only example that comes to mind of an independent hardware hacker putting together a "console" that achieved market success is Jeri Ellsworth and her C64 emulator joystick. I'd say that finding a niche like that or producing peripherals/enhancements for mainstream platforms is likely the only way to go.
     
  6. ManuelMarino

    Original Member

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    own game system? without a team, a big company behind and, many many funds? anyway, i remember there are modern jukebox that practically are PCs inside, so you could put together something similar.
     

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