From Magnesium Games

Laying the Foundations #1 – The Core Principles +2

Welcome to the first Laying the Foundations column. In this series of articles, I’ll be looking at the reasoning behind Magnesium Games’ online presence and what we hope to achieve.
To start things off, I thought I’d talk about the core philosophies which Magnesium Games operates on. For those wondering how this ties in to our online presence – the decision to have an active online presence and to make the online portions of our business the most active and important aspects have their roots in these principles.
Last week I mentioned that we have five underlying principles. I’ll go through each in no particular order.
Magnesium Games will strive to be as open as is practical. This doesn’t mean that we’ll tell you everything there is to know about everything we do. It does mean that we’ll tell you a lot more than most people would.
We won’t tell you everything for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there are some things that can’t be told for security, privacy, or legal reasons (for example, no one is going to want us to tell everyone all the details we collect when you sign up to our website, password included). Secondly, as every Weaver and the majority of Players know – the right amount of anticipation at the right time can be a vastly enjoyable experience. Thirdly, it’d take a lot of time to tell you everything and that’s less time we’ve got to spend on making games or improving the website.
Oh, and chances are very few people will want to know everything that we’re doing.
Openness also means that we’ll make our products and services as readily available as we can, which means at as a low price and in as many formats as we can, as well as striving to make the best possible use of Creative Commons licences to allow derivative works.
Times change. Markets shift. It’s survival of the fittest, and that generally means those most able to adapt to change. Magnesium Games will strive to be very quick to react to, well, everything. Many organisations seem to take forever to make even simple changes to the way they do things. Often because to get one thing changed you need to get approval from numerous people. I once worked with an organisation that required seven people to sign off on fixing a single typo on a form. It took three months to change. For three months the form read ‘shit to’ instead of ‘ship to’…
Magnesium Games is designing its internal processes with a strong view to keeping them highly flexible and as easy as possible to adapt without compromising on quality or security.
Respect is the foundation of all human interactions and is the second most important of all the principles (see below for the most important). It’s a fairly simple concept – Magnesium Games will act in a respectful manner towards all those it has dealings with and expects to be treated with respect in return. This will, no doubt, be the cornerstone of our forum rules.
Despite what you may be thinking, this principle is not specifically about being environmentally-friendly. It’s about being viable. The business must operate such that it does not run at a loss and such that it can pay all of its suppliers and employees in a timely fashion. It needs to turn a profit only if it needs to build capital reserves so as to either expand to achieve better economies of scale or to ensure that it has sufficient reserves to survive unexpected events.
This is the most important of the five underlying principles. It’s also the easiest and the hardest to explain. Easiest because it is what it says it is – Magnesium Games will always endeavour to act in a good way. We won’t cook babies. We will help little old ladies cross the road.
Hardest because enumerating exactly what is evil and what is good often gets far blurrier than any of us like to think it does. It’s also a principle we expect to find easy to live by- the gaming industry not being one that is fraught with moral perils (at least, not outside of our games and imaginations).
The Extra Two
There are two other principles that are worthy of mention. Though I’ve not included them in the core five yet, it is likely that they will be included in an eventual revision to them.
The first is the principle of moderation. Extremes tend to be bad. And that holds for seemingly good things as well as for obviously bad things. So it applies to all our principles as well. You can see it in Openness where we promise to protect our member’s privacy despite our commitment to being as open as possible.
The second is a trickier concept to verbalise, but one that will underpin all business ventures I take part in. Unfortunately, I don’t have a single word or short-phrase for it just yet. Suggestions are welcome. Economists have a concept they call externalities. If you’re not familiar with the concept, Wikipedia has a decent explanation. In all the decisions we make, Magnesium Games will endeavour to do so from a Social Benefit and Social Cost point of view rather than a Private Cost and Private Benefit point of view. I could talk on this subject for several pages, but will refrain from doing so here. If you want to know more about what this business model means, drop a note in the comments.
Final Thoughts
The astute amongst you will have noticed that this was not the article that was promised a fortnight ago. I decided that detailing these principles was of far greater importance and far greater benefit to understanding what Magnesium Games hopes to accomplish, than the original topic would have been. The next Laying the Foundations will feature the originally intended “Importance of Community” topic.
Thanks for reading!

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