Yesterday morning I attended Gotham Media Ventures Digital Breakfast panel. Hosted by , the panel included:
Ben Feder CEO, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
Lewis Kofsky Partner and Producer, Curious Pictures
Alan Gershenfeld Co-Founder and Managing Partner, E-Line Ventures
Peter Marshall Senior Vice President, DeWitt Stern
Wade Tinney Founder Partner, CEO, Large Animal Games
It was interesting and also reassuring regarding what we are experiencing here at Zemoga (and how we are approaching gaming online). The topics ranged from the impact of the economic crisis on the industry to how to educate and game-for-good. The panel featured a good selection of industry speakers and they had many interesting takes on the topics. While discussing the current state of the industry Ben Feder, CEO, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. said “The economy is actually helping us”. He also touched on the global aspect of creating and marketing games. His company has development offices around the world and must maintain in some cases different versions of it’s games for certain audiences (like Japan’s where there are slightly different tastes in gaming). Now one interesting thing that was mentioned (that I tend to disagree with) was something that Lewis Kofsky mentioned about outsourcing “get it right the first time”. He was referring to the trend of overseas firms to require more rounds of iteration and that after factoring in all the added costs he would rather have local(in his case NYC) based talent. Now I say why not have both? Get the best talent from all over and instill in them the same level of quality that seems to be found in the digital epicenters. That is one of the things Zemoga is doing.
Some interesting commentary on the iPhone platform and how it is changing game development came from moderator Alan Gershenfeld, a 20+ year veteran of Activision among others. Alan says “it’s come full circle” in regards to how small the development teams currently are. During the days of developing for the Atari there were only maybe 10-20 guys in a room developing. In the past few years, things had changed to the point where hundreds of developers labor away for up to 3 years with game budgets totaling over $100 million. The iPhone platform is taking things back to a simpler time. Lewis Kofsky explained that with practically zero barrier to entry small developers can make a game and even make money at it.
Thinking back to an article I blogged about from the Wall Street Journal about new business models in gaming, that article was aptly timed and quite relevent to the talk. There is definitely a movement towards new and scalable models of revenue. What do you all think of this development in terms of flexibility and movement of this industry?