Ideas are worthless, by Adrian Hofman

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Melbourne software engineer and ex-Visceral/Transmission Games programmer, Adrian Hofman, has written a thought provoking commentary on ideas and why they are worthless. He points to the critical success of Halfbrick Studio's Jetpack Joyride, a recently release iOS title which had a rather luke-warm reception when it was announced as Machine Gun Jetpack, as an example of a game that, whilst not entirely original, excelled because it was polished and greatly executed.

When Toucharcade posted the news and the first appearance of Machine Gun Jetpack (which is now called Jetpack Joyride), it was followed with a lot of initial doubt, even in the commentary sections of our own corresponding news item. Those concerns, however, were nothing compared to some of the more scathing remarks around the web, including Toucharcade's commentary on the news. The general summary of everyone's concern was that Machine Gun Jetpack didn't offer that much of a leap in the endless runner / cave flier genre and seemed too similar to their previous entry, Monstar Dash. Many gave opinions on what they should do to fix it.

The problem here is that everyone has ideas, Hofman argues, including people who have no idea how to implement them. He claims that had Halfbrick listened to all the naysayers about Machine Gun Jetpack and followed through with appeasing everyone from the feedback and suggestions they received, Jetpack Joyride would have likely ended up as a terrible game. Thankfully, they didn't. From Hofman's commentary...

(Hofman) It turns out the game (Jetpack Joyride) is awesome. I freaking love it. I can't put the thing down – and it seems I’m not the only one...

The moral of the story here is that original ideas don’t really count for shit. Halfbrick certainly didn’t have the idea for the “cave flier” game genre – the idea has been around for ages. The game is successful because its just so beautifully done. JJ was apparently under development for around two years – quite a while for such a relatively simple game. They clearly put in a hell of a lot of effort to make sure that the final product was as polished as possible, and the results speak for themselves...

Ideas are completely worthless on their own. You need a whole lot of effort, vision and determination to execute properly on an idea and build some value from it. I have about a hundred ideas a day (each of which I ramble on about in detail to my poor wife) and I’m certainly not rich.

Jetpack Joyride is currently sitting in the #1 position on the Australian App Store paid Iphone app chart. Head on over to Adrian Hofman's blog for the complete write-up.