How GDPR affects me as an indie game developer?

If you think Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) doesn’t affect you (wherever you are) as an indie game developer, you’re wrong.

GDPR

The regulation, seven years in the making, finally comes into effect this year, on 25 May, and is set to force changes in everything from medicine to banking, advertising to technology, and of course, this includes games. Besides the regular GDPR, there is also the GDPR-Kids, specifically written to protect the data privacy of children (defined as under 16) online.

Individuals – as users, gamers, clients – will now have the power to demand companies reveal or delete the personal data they hold, which is a lot, since it’s common to hand in so much information about our personal lives to them without even noticing, companies end up having a lot of data about us in their hands.

How can this affect you as an indie game developer?

The GDPR applies only to the EU and its citizens, but because many companies that are outside of the EU offer goods and services to EU citizens, they have decided it’s easier to apply GDPR’s terms globally.

As 25 may approaches, gaming companies are adapting their marketing efforts to adhere to the GDPR requirements.

Companies will now have to prove they have a lawful reason to keep the data they request from their users, and if they don’t follow the rules, the potential penalties are massive: up to 4% of a company’s annual turnover. So, this affects everyone.

How can you comply with the personal data collection and retention requirements?

If you want your games to be played all around the globe without worries, you better stick to the rules. Here are some tips on how to do that:

Think about it now

As a developer, it would be wise to consider data protection matters during the game development cycle and not as an afterthought.

Less is more

Online games such as MMO, mobile games and location-based titles, once collected a great deal of information from users, for example, Pokémon GO, a game that collected not only the location of the player, but tracked each step and filmed in real time where the player was going; you probably should think twice before developing a game that needs this type of data. Now less information is more safety for your players and your company.

Be clear

It is now necessary to write your privacy notices and policies so that all notices are transparent, concise and comprehensible by both parents and children.

Choose your audience

Now is the time to decide whether your game will be a kids-directed game or not: If your audience is ‘family’ or includes under-16s explicitly or implicitly, you’ll need to commit to a kids strategy.

The ads and the cookies

Now, profiting from ads is going to be more difficult. Gathering personal data from users for the purpose of profiling for marketing is no longer allowed. For all those monetizing with ads this will be a huge change. The solution will be to audit and in many cases replace their existing adtech providers. Critically, this will also mean removing social media plugins, which are one of the top culprits for capturing data on kids.

Do your homework

Privacy by Design, Right to be Forgotten and Data Portability are key concepts you have to grasp and implement in your games if you have or intend to build a playerbase in the EU. You can learn more about GDPR here.

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NESmaker will allow you to create your own NES games

 

If you are a hardcore retro gamer, you’ve probably played NES a lot. Now, what if you could create your own games for this classic platform? Well, thanks to Austin McKinley and Joeseph Granato now you can!

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NESmaker is a software that allows you to create your very own NES game using your own graphic assets and, better yet, store it into an actual, playable cartridge! Wanna learn more about this amazing project? Check NESmaker page on Kickstarter:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1316851183/nesmaker-make-nes-games-no-coding-required

A New Year in Indie Gaming

Every year is different in the gaming market; since the first game ever programmed, each year or decade has its favorites or more popular games – in all categories, including indie games, the ones that we are going to talk about here – and of course, in 2017 it’s still the same way. Today, we are going to talk about the best indie games – or the most popular ones – from Brazil, Latin America and the World.

Foxhole

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First game on the list of best indie games of 2017 (players choice), according to the 2017 Indie of the Year awards from IndieDB. Foxhole is an MMO (massive multiplayer online) real time strategy game developed and distributed by Clapfoot. It’s a game where you work with many other players to shape the outcome of a persistent online war. Every player contributes with building, combat, strategy and much more.

Foxhole is available at Steam for US$ 13,99 and at HumbleBundle for $19.99.

Distortions

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Chosen best Brazilian indie game at 2017’s Big Festival (Brazil’s Independent Games Festival), according to IGN. This game is still being developed by a Brazilian company from São Paulo called Among Giants. The game is described in their official website as a “musical psychodrama” with various genres in one game, where you play as a young woman on her journey of self knowledge, exploring an open world full of memories, wonders and puzzles to be solved. The unique aspect of the game is that the only “weapon” in the game are the songs played by a violin, an instrument found by the young woman, wich will help her in her path in many different moments and ways.

The game will be available soon for PC at Steam and Windows Store for pre-order in February, 8 and for regular purchase at February, 15.

The Deadly Tower of Monsters

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Chosen best Latin American indie game at 2017’s Big Festival, according to IGN. This game was developed by “Ace Team” from Chile, the same developers behind “Rock of Ages”. The game is a science fiction, action packed adventure, with lots of good humor. The game is set in a giant tower where the player fights against various monsters in order to save the world from a tyrannical emperor.

The game is available for PS4 and PC at Steam for US$ 3.74, HumbleBundle for $14.99 USD, and Playstation Store for $14.99 USD.

Now, what to expect of 2018? There is one way to know! Check out some of the gaming events that are going to happen this year, in Brazil, Latin America and around the World.

Brazil Gaming Congress

The Brazil Gaming Congress is an event focused on the discussion of important aspects for those who wanting to enter the gaming market. Latin America is growing in the gaming industry and Brazil is up front with great projects; there has never been a greater need for information and discussion on subjects like the processes, taxation, regulations and such regarding the gaming market; and BGC 2018 will be a great opportunity to learn about them and also to meet people interesting people in this growing Latin American gaming market.

The Brazil Gaming Congress will take place in April 22-24 in São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, click here to visit its official website.

Game Developers Conference 2018

Known as the biggest event for game developers of America, this international event provides the opportunity for gaming industry professionals to interact, expand their network and promote their products. It’s also perfect for developers to find publishing, distribution partners, service providers and so on. Publishers and distributors can find new games and look for projects with potential, as well as service providers and international partners. Service Providers, on the other hand, can find publishers, distributors and developers looking for services.

It’s also worth noticing that Brazil is going to play a huge role in this event; Abragames (Brazilian Association of Digital Game Developers) is going to be there with 80 entrepreneurs from 26 brazilian companies. Check Abragames’s calendar here.

This event will happen in March 19-23 in San Francisco, USA. For more information, click here to visit its official website.

“AAA games are same old, same old with prettier pictures”

Creator of Deus Ex, Warren Spector talked with IGN Unfiltered about the game industry and confessed he isn’t especially interested in the future of AAA games.

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According to Spector, when comparing the game industry of today with that of the 90s, “we’re seeing an awful lot of same old, same old with prettier pictures”.

Spector doesn’t see a lot that interests him in the AAA space, and stated that high costs and big teams have led to a creative stagnation.

 

The creator of Deus Ex thinks indie developers are a beacon of creativity and stated he is more interested on events like Game Developers Conference than those of mainstream game developers. He also expressed high expectation towards the indie game Cuphead.

While development of AAA games stalled, indie games have been improving at an impressive pace thanks to diversity of ways to express the games we love.

Sources:
Eurogamer.pt (Portuguese)
Why Warren Spector Isn’t Interested in the Future of AAA Gaming – IGN Unfiltered