Our Utopian Dream

Posted on  
October 9, 2013
Sarah Woodrow

Woody said something to me this morning, when I wondered if we'd make enough money to make this business work how we want it to. It is a Utopian dream after all. He said “We’ve always made our other dreams come true, what makes you think we can’t make this one come true?”

I know he’s my husband and I am supposed to say this, but how awesome is that? He just comes out with this stuff all the time... although it does normally involve a quote from Jurassic Park or Wayne’s World... and sometimes Terminator 2.

When we talk about how it feels like it's our time to start acting like 'adults' and in the words of Frank Turner 'inherit the earth', he will inevitably quote Goonies at me... "Because it's their time. Their time! Up there! Down here, it's our time. It's our time down here."

This is us taking control of our future.

We are all just trying to find our way out of the maze of modern life. We don’t want to spend our lives commuting, sitting in front of a computer from 9-5, 5 days a week, going through the motions, until we die. We don’t want to spend our lives worrying about money or if we’re going to look back at our lives and think about how we only ever went to work, came home, watched TV, slept and then did it all again the next day.

We know there is more to life than that. We want to have a purpose.

We want to spend our days thinking about the people we care about and how we can make them happy. We want to care about a lot of people. We want to be a part of something good that makes people’s lives better.

People need happiness, they need love and they need each other. We want to make things that make people happy and bring them together and make them a part of something awesome. This is what we do. If we believe that something other than a game will fulfill those needs we’ll pursue that just as hard. If something feels wrong to us, if it feels like it does harm in some way, we won’t do it.

One of these things is free to play games. We've thought about it carefully and listened to a lot of opinions on it. We don't want to do it. We want people to pay for the content that they can afford, no deception, no confusion, no manipulation. Just up front honesty, "here's a product that we hope you will love and value, this is how much it costs". We just want to make good games that you will want to buy. As we add more content and spend more time on it, then we’ll ask for more money.  We think this is an honest way to do business and we don't believe charging what something costs does harm to anyone because the choice is in our players hands.

So we aren’t obsessed with profits and we don’t have a five year business plan. We are learning how to make this work as we go and we change what we're doing based on evidence. We have big dreams, but we're taking little steps. People often give us advice; "1. Kickstarter 2. Apple store 3. Profit???" ;) we take it on board, and then we do what we think is the right thing to do.

It may seem idealistic or naïve but we’ve always believed that if we live what we believe, with no regrets, if we never compromise on what we think is the right thing, that we may not get millions of pounds but we would get enough money to keep going. We want to build a name for ourselves that is clean, honest and true to what we believe. Then hopefully people will want to support that name.

The big reason we have chosen to take the route of self-funding is that we don’t want it to become all about business. We believe in putting people first. That doesn't mean that we don't care about money, it's just that all our money decisions will be "people decisions" rather than "business decisions". Our goal isn’t to make millions of pounds; our goal is to be sustainable. This is us doing what we love, for the people we love so that we can build a world we love living in. No compromises. No regrets. Only the hope that what we’re doing will pay off and we’ll be able to keep trying to make people happy for the rest of our lives.

Along with all of his movie quotes, Woody has taught me that achievement is all about persistence. You can achieve anything as long as you can weather the storm getting there. It'll be scary, you'll make mistakes, you'll doubt yourself, life will be hard and it'll be tempting to give up and do something easier, but it's only the people who persist through all of that whose dreams come true and actually end up making a difference.

We want to be a sustainable business that does good, we want to show that this is a viable way to run a business. One day we want to be able to pay talented people to make awesome things to make people happy. This is our dream. Even if that day never comes, we’ll always have the hope that it will eventually. Who wants to live in a world of compromise and no hope?

We want to do things the way we believe they should be done, not the way that they have been done in the past. We are choosing not to be like everybody else. We are choosing to be free.