The relevance of Agile development methods to the games industry

I had a question come through on my LinkedIn account, "I am curious as to how relevant Agile development methods are to the gaming industry?". For posterity, here is my reply:

"Agile and Scrum are extremely relevant to games development as well as to the web portals that market and support them."

"The games industry generally works on a publisher-developer basis where small dev studios produce a game concept which is then taken up and published by a larger publishing company (compare to films with producers and directors, or music with bands and record companies). By using an Agile process the independent dev studio may be able to better manage the negotiations with the producer over what has to produced and by when. Often it is unclear exactly how a game should work until it exists. The eventual aim is to make something that is 'fun', 'easy to pick but difficult to master' which has a way to be monetized. How this is achieved doesn't matter, but it must be achieved for the game to be successful and I believe that Agile will help to focus on the desired result rather than the path. I'm not sure how many studios actually do this yet, but Agile is definitely taken hold internally in studios."

"When it comes to web site and systems creation (billing systems, e-commerce sites, etc.) I have used Agile to negotiate with the business how to apply limited programming team resources. By planning every 2 weeks it has made us more able to adapt to changing requirements and has let the business feel more in control over what is built."

agile games
It's All In The Game blog (c) 2005-16 by Jez Nicholson