Monday 22 January 2018

'I'm an artist - not a businessman' - Forbes' 30 under 30 Irishman

BRIGHT FUTURE: Game developer Terry Cavanagh
BRIGHT FUTURE: Game developer Terry Cavanagh

GAME developer Terry Cavanagh is hatching several new projects and extending the platforms on which his award-winning games are available.

The Monaghan man, who was namechecked in Forbes' latest '30 under 30' list, lives and works in Shoreditch in London's hip East End, where his company Distractionware is a one-man game creative talent base.

Cavanagh studied maths at Trinity and then worked as a risk analyst for AIB. "It wasn't what I wanted to do," he said. "Gaming was a passion I wanted to pursue."

When he had saved enough money, he took the risk and decided to work on his passion full-time. It paid off.

"I always had an interest in games," he said. "We had a Commodore 64 at home and I learnt to programme with it when I was around eight, having begun using it at four. Friends had Sega and PlayStation, I had a Commodore."

His two free-to-play commercial games are VVVVVV and Super Hexagon, which both took around six months to develop. He sells direct to PC, iPhone and Android platforms and on popular gaming platform Steam. His VVVVVV game is also available on Nintendo DS.

Independent gamers typically sell what they make at a flat rate and then receive royalties from the app stores and other platforms, which amounts to a percentage of what the game makes. The Apple app store pays around 70 per cent of revenues to developers.

It can be lucrative, a decent Christmas season surge can bring in €150,000, but like a lot of creative professions you're only as good as what you're putting out there, Cavanagh points out.

He has had approaches from the major studios, but he wants to remain an independent developer. "I'm far happier doing what I'm doing, I'm an artist really, not a businessman."

Roisin Burke

Irish Independent

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