Friday, November 21, 2008

Gameloft on DSi and Digital Distribution

The mobile publisher plans to be "more aggressive" on the DSi Store. Gameloft also talks about digital distribution on PSP, WiiWare, PSN and XBLA.

by John Gaudiosi on Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gameloft on DSi and Digital Distribution

PARIS, FRANCE—French mobile game publisher Gameloft is the leading mobile game publisher in the world today. But with the proliferation of digital distribution channels opening up across Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and WiiWare, as well as the PSP Store and Nintendo DSi Store, the company is bringing many of its franchises to new platforms.

One new focus for the company, which has released 10 Nintendo DS games over the past three years, will be the Nintendo DSi Store. Gonzague de Vallois, senior vice president of publishing at Gameloft, who recently spoke with GameDaily BIZ about the success the iPhone has brought the company, took some time to talk about Nintendo's new portable, which is out now in Japan and will be released around the globe next year.

GameDaily BIZ: What are your plans for the Nintendo DSi?

"...our teams are brainstorming on what they can do with DSi in terms of sound and using the camera to integrate the players into the game."

Gonzague de Vallois: We're preparing for the North American launch. There's nothing official on when this will be. We've heard spring-summer. We've heard Q3. I believe from Nintendo's perspective there's no hurry to release the device in North America because DS is still selling extremely well. If the DSi and DS are close in price, the DSi will kill DS sales.

BIZ: How will you support Nintendo DSi?

GdV: We'll support both Nintendo DS and DSi. We're working on some games that we'll release at retail through our distribution partnership with Ubisoft. These games will come in a single package and will work on both DS and DSi, with the DSi version taking advantage of additional options like the cameras and advanced sound capabilities. We'll be much more aggressive with the DSi Store than at retail.

BIZ: What are your developers' thoughts on what Nintendo DSi will open up in terms of gameplay?

GdV: We're getting the official SDKs in December so our teams are brainstorming on what they can do with DSi in terms of sound and using the camera to integrate the players into the game.

BIZ: Who will be your target audience for Nintendo DSi at launch next year?

GdV: Nintendo's goal with the DSi is to add the new DS to the family. We'll learn who's going to buy it. I think at first it will be Nintendo's hardcore fans, so we'll get titles that appeal to those guys and then we'll extend games based on how it expands to maybe young girls or 30-year-old women over time.

BIZ: How will you treat different markets with releasing DSi games?

GdV: We'll be very global. Our strategy on this is to learn on the platform and see who's there. The Japanese market is very specific. We can look at what's worked with Nintendo DS, as well. TV Show King worked in all three territories. There are some universal titles that we'll focus on first and then we'll go to local games. We're also looking at allocating resources to support the Japanese DSi next year to test the system early.

BIZ: How big a part of your business will Nintendo DS/DSi become?

GdV: It's not a core platform for us. We know it's a crowded market so we try to come out with titles that can make a difference with value. We work with Ubisoft with distribution; our core business is digital.

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Jason Kiwaluk

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