a16z: By Design

The business of games

Client: a16x x Danny O'Dwyer
Website: a16z.com

Danny O’Dwyer initiated a mission approximately seven years ago to unravel the mysteries of game development. The motivation for this undertaking stemmed from the creator’s previous involvement in a show called ‘The Point’ on Gamespot.com

In this earlier role, Danny expressed opinions on game design. However, upon interviewing actual developers, a realisation dawned that their understanding was not as comprehensive as initially thought. This realization prompted the departure from GameSpot and the establishment of Noclip to facilitate a deeper understanding of the game creation process.

Over the course of seven years, Noclip compelled developers to answer questions, resulting in a wealth of knowledge. Despite this, Danny decided to return to the realm of video essays. The opportunity presented itself when A16Z Games, a venture capital firm invested in numerous game studios, expressed a desire to showcase development and business lessons in modern games.

The proposal involved the creation of a monthly video essay show, named By Design, addressing significant questions confronting developers. The show provides insights into design, marketing, business development, and contemporary challenges in the gaming industry.

The inaugural episode of By Design focuses on the success of Baldur’s Gate 3, delving into the history of Larian Studios, the state of the role-playing games market, and its implications for the future of AAA RPGs.

Subscribe to A16Z Games for monthly episodes.