Edinburgh International Games Festival (2003)


Notes from Edinburgh International Games Festival, August, 2003. Intro (Clive)

Emphasis creative aspect of game development

Tom Stone (LEGO MD)

“The future of entertainment is interactive” Exhibition has been sold out

CG industry fuelled by new alignment with established industries, Film, TV, book, sports rights

What is relationship with intellectual property? -    exploit or add to quality of IP?

Who should be paying whom for IPR?

Sony and Microsoft has interactive entertainment is core to their strategies

Korea, online games becoming enormous

Lara croft, film industry is borrowing ‘our’ IP

Contribution games make to society?

How do we want to be thought of and what is being done to influence that?

New award initatives? Edinbugh’s EDGE award

“Need to take our place at the cultural and artistic top table.”

Rod Cousens (Worldwide President – Acclaim)

Welcome to the Games industry: Mass Media, Toy or Social Phenomenon?

Panel:

Alexander Kritovski, Journalist, about to embark on Phd in social psychology

Michele Cassius, EA exec, now Microsoft’s X-Box development,

Chris van der Kyle, CEO Biz entertainment, Chairman of Young Enterprise Scotland, Visiting Prof. Uni of Abertay Dundee

Ray Maguire, Sega Megadrive, now Sony Playstation UK,

David Gosen, Formerly BskyB, now Nintendo, took over N64 and gameboy, now game cube

Nick Parker, Nintendo, now Sony, VP Strategic Planning

Games industry often viewed as competition to music industry

Today, gaming is a different story.

Stresses interactivity of industry from creative perspective

Online component opening up new social experiences

Story telling now demanded in games

Content? Too violent? Too many war style games? Too realistic?

Stats suggest lack of interest in gaming from women -    lack of interest or game just too narrow?

Games not responsible for moss side

Social experience with realism, more real than reality-TV

Nick Parker, Parker Consulting Ltd,

The Cultural Evlution of Video Games

1962, Ship, space Warp 1980 – pac-man, pac-man coin-op 1984 – Miner Willy, Jet Set Willy, C64

Growing market

128-bit console battle steady growth in PAL software Euro

in real terms market never declined since 1995

fcompare with cinema box office industry ($5billion), currently on trajectory to ($6billion).

Should be taken more seriously than we are Best selling franchises -    only 5 based on tv/movie licence

Tomb Raider has highest awareness than any other game

“Market is  still lacking mass appeal being highly segmented in gavour of the more hardcore gamer”

The evolution of Gaming Complexity -    pong: up/down, one AI ball Pac Man -    up/down, left right, multiple pick up

FIFA Fottball 93

The Sims 2.0 -    AI families with DNA

Don’t want to get too realistic with graphics. Maintain the magic and creativity and fictionality of games

A Changing Demographic – who plays Game

1993: 50% under 13 yrs old (perceptions of being childish) 2002: 55% 18-35 yr olds 2002: women 10% of players (is mass market we need to access) 2002: 14% are senior generation (35 yrs plus)

Awareness of top licences different between men an women

Men: lara, tombraider, pokemon, teris Female: tetris, sims, From Vision magazine Women like cutesy platform game

The evolution of marketing

Series of PS commercials. From 1991

1.    8-bit NES: age profile, 8-10. price of £99. no price inflation over 10 yrs for console 2.    supernintendo (1994): game show with rick mayall, 3.    PS1 campaign, reverse psych, society against playstation: 4.    backdrop of different people speaking about their experience, abstract, unclear, implication is gaming and what people do when playing. Doublelife: “for years I’ve lived a double life..” Do not underestimate the power of playstation (GET THIS ONE) 5.    In chefs kitchen, not released, censored by French. Abuse of food. Picking nose, etc. 6.    X box, woman giving birth, baby flies across city while growing old, lands in grave, ‘Life is Short’ ‘Play More’, X-box

Biggest evangelists are hardcore gamers, despite adverts

Commercials not main trigger

Word of mouth and mentor endorsement is (e.g. magazine) main trigger

Demo discs and IDUs work

Irreverence is cool for console brands at launch – PS reefer papers at Glastonbury, chill-out rooms at clubs, snowboard sponsorship, etc

But mass market demands simple communications and wide access to products which is only just starting (PS ads, Eye Toy (next trivial pursuit for christmas), supermarkets) -    Fun Anyone PS campaign

The Future?

Online games market revenue growing Screen Digest report into online gaming (2002) -    can play tetris on Sky for 50p per game -    enormous growth in next 4 yrs

console subscriptions and mobile gaming big boom

Games on Demand

Yahoo, download game play

PSP -    mobile game device

USB 2.0 Memory stick Sony – all singing, all dancing unit for adults -    includes everything for computing

Conclusions

Lng term market value linear growth Evidence = continued growth

Online play revenues wil more than complement boxed ales

Technology progress unlocked gameplay potential

Marketing communication has influenced demographic expansion, but industry must seek to convert non-believers to make games market greatest entertainment medium through its inherent interactive and technological advantages.

Discussion

Ray Maguire: only 10 years since Sony made games.

Is it an expensive form of entertainment compared to other forms: audience says YES!

Games are too long

Disposable time more important than disposable income in game industry. Game are too long.

Are games toys or more? -    too much naval gazing on segmenting the market -    11 yr old boys want to play same games as 16yr olds or 23yr olds -    gamers segmented by games, not age -    ME: types of game changes related to time of day or week

Alex: Need for quality pick-up-and-play games

Perception of quality for audience is what matters, not what game developers think is quality

ME: limitedness of quality inr elation to technical excellence limits the potential for gaming to be a valued cultural industry. If cinema was  merely about good cinematography, it would have little value. The development of characters and emotional connectivity is what matters, not functionality.

Ray Maguire: We’re not very good at telling stories. Need to think about plot development. But is also very difficult to do with an open ended activity. This is why some of most successful games is racing. Next stage is getting acceptance for older age group.  CONTACT HIM

Game playing isolating experience? Miohel: yes and no. single player game yes, but social phenomenon it is. Multi-player and online games need to play with somebody else. Dimension of social interaction allows it to enjoy a broader appeal. Will increase. Social phenomenon also because it influences other media. Matrix conceived through a ‘game-like’ conceptualisation. ME: this is interesting. How does a games-world view influence genre, such as sci-fi?

Games as male stronghold? Alex: not the games that put women off, it’s the advertising.

Seamus Blackley, Vice President, Capital Entertainment Group, sponsored by Tiga

Busted Games are not as big as film Games are in danger of becoming a derivative medium

Games bigger than film is myth of creative accounting 2002 us total retail games softtware sales, £5.5bn 2002 US total games market $10.3bn =$5.5.bn softare, 3.5 hardwhere, 1.3bn, peripherals

movie ind 2002 US box office: $9.1bn (1.9 billion tickets 2002 video rentals $8.4bn (3billion transactions)

Games lose on total sales by more than 2x Lose on content

Crushed on transactions/impressions -    162.7mm sofare units sold vs. 1.9 billion tickets

Games not nearly as big as TV 2001 NAB/TVB data $54.4bn US advertising

2002 US Music Sales $12.2

2002 US Leis Ent book $9.2

Games are not a cultural driver -    they used to be, pacman fever -    due to novelty then had to start earning audience. -    PIXAR lesson: Computer generated characters interesting briefly, good characters last longer

Games from 80s more pop cultural force than anything we produce today. -    Mark Ecko at Ziff 2002 -    G4 graphics -    Retro edge -    Hummer H2 US national campaign (opens with Astreroids) Why?

Todays games not exploiting pop culture

Instead being driven by it -    publishers crawl over one another to get access to IP from other media Film adaptation of game is seen as Validation

We chase our own tail -    Sequelitis: instead of investing in new IP, we mobilize crusty old games o    How many versions of Frogger can there be With are consciously, forfeiting own creative process in favour of external ideas

There are exceptions -    cultural hits that touch nerve in mainstream culture o    sims, GTA3, final fantasy

need to concentrate as industry on intentionally building games thatr have this power

need to be honest about audience – wh is it

Audience

Games portrayed negatively Disempowers us as an industry

Not true that this is our core audience -    actually have significant disposable income

people making legislation are not actually members of our culture!!!!!

For consoles and pcs, 80% of sales happen where most people don’t go

Only one way to look at it,

To continue growing need to explicitly target demographic

Need to stop looking to external creative content to do job

The IP problem -    publishers want awesome novel hit titles -    but need predictable revenue o    love sequels and licenses o    love proven teams and ideas -    unfortunately recent success of license properties is teaching dangerous lesson -    data shows that real money is in original IP (for any creative industry)

Theses

Value of original IP seems to be misunderstood -    strange given process paid for iP for other industries -    and given prices paid for game IP o    Max Payne $15m (to character and story) Industry at unsustainable position Other creative industries have gone through that -    IP generation is the core of the business

Must find a way to concentrate on original IP production

IP nd prodn process

Have not take lessons from other hits businesses -    structures to supp creative flexibility

we have structures that increasingly inhibit successful innovation -    milestone payments royalty structure, greenlight process must fix this

learn what other industries’ creative pros already understand -    conservative is not professional o    audience wants to be surprised -    best chance to be successful is work on projects of passion

Hits are engineered, not discovered!

Discussion:

Games industry more like music industry, but music industry works by having produced work on your own, in games industry that is difficult.

How can developers persuade publishers to go with an idea -    act responsibly and professionally when you pitch something

how get more creative people into game development -    it is a hard problem to tell stories in games, it is not that game developers are unaware of how to tell stories -    important to be passionate at games, not just a story teller

how will games courses at universities affect industry? -    critical and brilliant

Scotland leading way in UK

Chris Deering, President of Sony Entertainment Europe: Hollywood or Bust panel discussion

Panellists:

Peter Mullinue,  Dungeon Keeper, Theme Park, Jason Kingsley, Alien vs. Predator, Tom Clancy’s, Tiga, Judge Dredd Brian Fraser, Alias sequels James Shean, Roller Coaster Tycoon – got people to submit their designs for the game through the web Charles Clemonson, MGM Licensing, 007 Scott Baylis, Exec Prod EA

Must think about editing process in films

Need to enhance affective gaming attributes

Scotland has been well head of most significant recent games.

Is notion of scripts and games an unnecessary distraction? Do people just want to play? -

EDGE Award -    for cultural impact

Game Gym for campuses? -    explore way in which can introduce gaming into universities.

Discussion on Hollywood or Bust

Film/TV maker and game developer must understand each others fundamentals

Actors role is interest in likeness

A-list talent is willing but ignorant

Game narrative more like TV than film

Music faces similar challenges to writing

Do not write a score -    write music in chunks and trust game designer

Pre-production is key

Game development writer is lonely enterprise

Game developers don’t understand how films are made

To make industry leader, need good story and good performance

World Without Rules – Meet Your Makers

Jez San OBE, CEO Argonaut Games Finbar Hawkins – fightbox, take concept through web-pc-tv www.bbc.co.uk/fightbox Community enabled by technology

Innovation through Evolution

Innovation to t rescue for a rebirth Prince of Persia – Sands of Time

No real innovation in games

But real difference is level of realisation

Pre-production critical

Animation is THE field where quantity = quality -    no Motion capture, all hand drawn

Molyneux

-    Fable -    RPG is about playing a character. Should be able to play who you like. o    E.g. if out in sun, get a tan. If carrying big weapon, arm gets more muscular. o    Also build game with other heroes. Compete with other heroes to solve quest o    Simulated world can be affected e.g. people react to what you do e.g. walk around and swear at people e..g. be able to chat up people or kids in village dress like you and want to be you o    Playing with friends should be poss, upto 4 people can play fable

Discussion

Dominic Dially, New Modern Age -    online gaming innovative future?

Online console gaming interesting

Politics of Gaming? -    characters, stories, etc

Miamoto Shigero San -    Double Das and Mariokart

Phelong – Composer, Broken Sword and others

21st century art form industry is about communication

Panel: Williams, Hanagan, Deutsch

History of use of music, Deutsch -    new art forms borrow from old, then distinguish themselves -    music reinforcing what audience needed to be told -    also continuity between shots -    and need to take particular parts of film more emotionally seriously than others

Lang of muic in fames not yet worked out. Listeners is part of game and in film aim is to bring listen to the game

2001 Odyssey ending? -    meaning of embryo, etc -    revolutionary music written 80yrs before film and the film was cut to the film o    Ricard Strauss, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in relation to Nietzsche’s book, within which is the quote ‘What is ape to man, a laughing stock or a painful embarrassment. thus is man to superman”

Kubrick had to cut picture to the existing music -    new and innovative -    not happy with film now

Gregson-Williams, Shrek, Spygame, Armageddon, Rock, Metal Gear Solid

James Hannigan – played video of how to put music onto game – ASK FOR VIDEO

Deutsch -    model is that we have a player who wants to put themselves into a film (i.e. game) -    change metaphor for music in games -