Eight news stories 29.1


  • Warner Brothers confirm the third Tomb Raider movie. (The previous two were made by Paramount). This is indicative of two relationships. The first between Warners and Eidos, which could well end up in marriage. And the second wider relationship between the movie and gaming industries. We have a technology superiority that means we will grow to be bigger than film and TV combined. But film still has the best creative talent. Soon it will be routine for people to work in both industries as what they each do becomes ever closer.
  • Speculation about the future of Zune. I feel that this is misplaced and Microsoft have denied it. The Zune is one of the three legs of Microsoft’s strategic plan for world domination. The other two legs being Xbox Live and the home entertainment hub, currently the Xbox 360. All three will work together more and do much more as they evolve. The Zune will become the ubiquitous, do everything, pocket device. And in the plan it will be better than iPhone because of its integration into Live and the home hub.
  • Sony deny PSP rumours. Now these I believe. The PSP is looking a bit creaky with a fairly useless disk drive and no touch screen. Advances in flash memory and screen technology (OLED) are such that you could massively extend battery life. And that is just for starters, there is the whole telephone and MP3 thing. The only thing holding them back must be their current strained financial circumstances. Let’s hope they get over it and show us what they can do.
  • UK broadband tax to compensate entertainment companies for lost revenue. What stupidity, this means that honest people who don’t steal content online will pay to subsidise the thieves that do. There are three solutions to online content theft. 1) Use technical protection. A game console is an anti piracy dongle. 2) Punish the thieves, this is technically possible and thieves in other walks of life sometimes get punished. 3) Change your business model. Go for micropayments, sponsorship, advertising, subscriptions or whatever.
  • Video game sales up 20% in 2008 to $32 billion. Now they sell more than DVD and Blueray.  In fact games were more than 50% of total global packaged entertainment retail. And remember that a huge amount of the game industry now isn’t “packaged entertainment”. So we are a lot bigger than this article reports. And still the British government has no time for us. It is amazing that they will pump many billions into the short term entertainment event that is the London Olympics yet they won’t even give the British game industry the same financial treatment as the British film industry. Unbelievable.
  • Future publishing start to feel the benefit from their switch of emphasis to online. And a good thing too, otherwise this critically important company was looking doomed. They should have made the switch in emphasis years ago and by not doing so allowed many competitors to steal market share from them. Something that they will try and claw back using the leverage and goodwill of their paper magazines.
  • Marketing and PR jobs go at EA UK. In comparison Jaguar Land Rover just made 450 redundancies. 300 managers and 150 agency staff. I have said before that if you have zero marketing for a game then you have zero sales and sales are what EA needs. So the only valid explanation is that the department was historically overstaffed. In which case the manager responsible should go.
  • World of Warcraft continues to grow and prosper, dominating the MMORPG space. Recent competitors haven’t even dented its armour. It is so embedded now that it would take a massive spend ($1 billion?) and an incredibly talented team to even think about taking them on. And who is going to gamble with those sorts of stakes?

1 Comment

  1. Cutting your marketing spend in a recession is suicidal. It means your message is spread less widely, resulting in fewer sales, reducing revenue and provoking further cuts in the marketing spend. You’re soon in a downward spiral, while your competitors who don’t cut back on marketing steal your customers.

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