Focus: the requisite for success in fields as diverse as war, business and politics. In the case of commerce, it is often those firms that remain resolutely focused on core activities that are successful. Conversely, companies that lack a clear sense of direction and which pursue multiple incoherent projects end up spreading resources too thinly and running into trouble commercially.
Does the principle of focus hold true in the world of video game development? To an extent. Game development businesses that focus on creating content in a particular genre include a number of successful companies. For example, Playground Games and Codemasters are renowned for developing racing games; Space Ape Games has a reputation for strategy games; Supermassive Games for horror; First Touch for sport; and Lockwood Publishing for 3d virtual world social networking.
Some studios can successfully develop games across a variety of genres. For instance, in 2015 Rebellion released Evil Genius Online (strategy), Raceline CC (racing) and Nazi Zombie Army Trilogy (action). However, this is perhaps one of a few exceptions to the rule as Rebellion is one of the biggest independent UK studios and adopts a portfolio approach to genres and platforms.
It takes discipline to stay focused in business, but concentrating on a niche, building experience, honing skills and establishing a reputation enables success. As Winston Churchill remarked, “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”