Game Business Essentials: 2008 Edition

Embassy Multimedia Consultants' Scott Steinberg talks with industry execs Mike Wilson (Gamecock), Martyn Brown (Team17) and Josh Resnick (Pandemic) to reveal everything you need to be successful in the brave new world for the gaming business.

Happy New Year!

With 2007 a record-setting fiscal year for the interactive entertainment business – according to NPD, total industry sales were up 52% to $2.63 billion in November alone – hopes presently run high for market leaders' continued success in 2008.

But with the waxing and waning of the calendar also comes a changing of the guard in terms of executive mindset. The dawn of an entirely new era for the sector is upon us, one in which game industry professionals are sure to find themselves facing previously unseen challenges including:

  • Increasing consolidation, as evidenced by EA's recent purchase of BioWare/Pandemic and Activision/Vivendi's merger, fueled by an ever-more hostile commercial climate that's also prompting the shift to more online-ready direct distribution and marketing efforts.

  • The advent of Web 2.0, heralding a golden age for social networking, ad-supported gaming, digital merchandizing and viral promotions, as well as a renaissance for user-generated content.

  • Rising production costs and shrinking shelf space, even as technological overhead on software development projects falls following the maturation of current hardware lifecycles and a ramp-up in next-generation PC/console development.

  • The shift to more mainstream-friendly traditional and mobile content, per the rise of the $2 billion casual game sector and Nintendo's family-friendly Wii.

  • A need for greater transparency in the development, publishing and (most importantly) advertising and branding process, as evidenced by the "Gerstmann-gate" controversy, which shook public confidence in the medium to its very core.
  • Thankfully, we're confident that today's market leaders will rise to the occasion. With 2008 having just arrived, we can't think of a better time to pause and reflect upon the business mistakes of the past – and how you can ensure a brighter tomorrow for your company using the lessons learned from these stumbles.


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