Video game controller choosing between 5 of the best games of 2018.
January 15, 2019

What Do the Best Video Game Developers of 2018 Have in Common?

Game Development
Version Control

Video Game Growth in 2018

According to analysts, the global gaming industry generated almost $135 billion in revenue in 2018. That’s about 11% higher than 2017’s revenue.

Almost every industry segment grew, but console gaming led the pack. Sales for console game increased by 15.2% year-over-year — growing to $38.3 billion. Microsoft Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Sony PlayStation split the windfall.

That’s the quantitative state of the game dev industry — and it’s great! Now, let’s look at the qualitative.

Who Were the Best Game Developers in 2018?

The editors of CNET — everyone’s favorite consumer electronics and technology news site — picked the best “must have” games of 2018.

Clearly, this was an incredibly difficult assignment — there are so many great games. So how did they pick the best?  

  1. CNET brought together 10 of the biggest gamers on their staff.
  2. Each gamer chose up to 10 of his or her favorite titles.
  3. Gamers scored their individual choices, with 10 being the top choice, 9 the second choice, and so on.
  4. The lists from the 10 gamers were aggregated. And a list of 12 ended up being the “best of the best.”

Gamers, of course, have strong preferences, so the editors also included honorable mentions (another 10 choices). The honorable mentions include personal favorites from each judge. In total, CNET’s list of the best videos games from 2018 includes 22 winning titles.

There are some truly outstanding games in this list. The #1 game on the list was the blockbuster God of War. When it was released last May, it sold 3.1 million copies in three days.

Although CNET didn’t provide a breakdown of the results of their shootout, it must have been a close race. Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 came in second place. It was released this past October, and it had the largest opening weekend of any entertainment product in history. It sold $725 million in copies in three days.

What Makes a Video Game Great?

This contest was not about how much money the games made. The judges — all enthusiastic game players — have their own perspectives on what makes a game great:

  • Artwork
  • Complexity of the game
  • Nostalgia for an old favorite
  • Innovation

Of course, how much fun the judges had playing the games is also a consideration, and that tends to be an outcome of the above criteria. The criteria for what makes a game great is subjective, and the results reflect that.

The list includes giant commercial successes, like Marvel’s Spider-Man (which came in third). But it also includes several indie games, like Detroit: Become Human. New, cool sequels, like Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, made the list. And the longtime-favorite Super Smash Bros new creation, Ultimate (which was released for Nintendo Switch in early December) came in at #7. One of the other most fun driving games ever, Forza, released a new edition, Forza Horizon 4, and it made the list as an honorable mention.

What Do the Best Games Have in Common?

Many of these large, sophisticated games were constructed over several years. They’re made of terabytes or even petabytes of assets. During this type of lengthy development process, there are obviously many revisions to the code and artwork. And the changes need to be tracked at all stages.

Game designers and coders work in parallel. As the game starts coming together, the synchronization of work becomes more and more critical. DevOps processes are essential, and teams transition to nightly (or more frequent) Continuous Integration processes.

This volume and frequency of work is more challenging than most IT shops are accustomed to. There’s a gigantic amount of data (don’t mind our technical language), and the number of sites, designers, and developers accelerates as games near completion. So, in addition to massive work effort, what do the best video games of 2018 have in common?

All the games we’ve mentioned in this article — and almost all the games on CNET’s list — were built using Helix Core.

Global teams use Helix Core to manage code and non-code assets during the development of their highly sophisticated (and, of course, delightfully playable) games. We’re proud that 16 of the 22 best video games of 2018 were built using Helix Core.

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Why the Best Video Game Developers Use Helix Core

Helix Core’s ability to scale is essential for growing teams to work seamlessly. Integration capabilities prevent delays by accelerating automation. This lets teams use popular off-the-shelf tools like Jenkins, as well as their own build tooling and processes.

With the global replication capability of Helix Core’s Federated Architecture, every participant feels like they are working locally, but the entire team is collaborating on a single source of truth. This ensures everyone has the current, correct version of code and design assets.

Whether you’re developing games for AR/VR, consoles, PC, mobile/tablets, or even hardware/software applications, you can count on Helix Core’s integration with Unreal and Unity. And with our APIs, SDKs, and scriptability, you can customize your workflow. If you’re building your own engine, leveraging Helix Core’s architecture can make your dreams become reality.

In addition to the technical reasons that creative and successful companies use Helix Core, there’s another reason. Helix Core doesn’t get in the way of the creative process. Regardless of the role of the team member, build engineer, coder, designer, producer, system administrator — Helix Core runs in the background, seamlessly integrates, and connects everything.

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