Thursday, 14 April 2011

The Games Middleware Investment Opportunity

This article was first published on on 14 April 2011. 

“Middleware?” you cry.  “Isn’t that the really boring stuff that game developers don’t want to do?”
And that’s the point.
The reason we like middleware is because it is the really boring stuff that game developers don’t want to do. And before anyone gets hot under the collar, we actually don’t think it is boring stuff either.
Let’s start by defining what we mean by middleware.
There are any number of dictionary definitions for middleware: “software that occupies a position in a hierarchy between the operating system and the applications, whose task is to ensure that software from a variety of sources will work together correctly” (Oxford), “software that mediates between an application program and a network” (Webster) etc.  In relation to games, middleware typically means a games engine, providing tools for rendering (2D or 3D), animation, physics, collision detection/reaction, artificial intelligence, sound, networking, streaming and so on.
For our purposes, what we mean by middleware is anything which makes it possible to develop, manage and commercialise games. Simple.
Actually before the rise of online and mobile games, middleware did look like a relatively simple part of the market. But today the middleware market has become more diverse and fragmented, which together with high growth in online and mobile games has created a great opportunity for the company that gets it right.