EI09; Chris Deering talks Minefields
Having been with Sony Computer Entertainment throughout those formative years and now in ‘active retirement’, he is no stranger to being the focus of attention. He was there to introduce us to the event, and to outline his thoughts on the industry.
He welcomed everyone there and began by talking about the Credit Crunch. He put an interesting twist on the subject, however, as he mentioned some facts about the industry.
He stated that gaming is bigger than it has been at any time previously. Indeed, the industry of Interactive Entertainment has seen growth where other media have seen loss. DVDs, Cinema, Music and Books are now shrinking industries, whilst two out of three households are playing games.
Of these, 40% are now females.
He went through some statistics on the growth of the market, accompanied by myriad figures. One stood out over all the others; TV-based games consoles are now in over 100m homes.
Deering continued that he thinks this is mainly thanks to Nintendo and the introduction of the Wii and DS. They opened up the market to a whole new type of gamer.
Further, there are other companies who have benefited from the uptake of interactivity. Facebook now has over 20 billion minutes per month of ‘airtime’. Everyone is updating their lives via online channels, and there are massive opportunities there to propagate this emerging market.
He stated that most Interactive Entertainment businesses are facing a struggle at the moment, as they are ‘moving across minefields’. There are several trends to contend with on this minefield – the likes of alternative delivery methods, such as cloud gaming and game streaming.
He analogises this to the move from album sales in the music industry to the proliferation of singles and their success. It is a more dynamic environment than ever before.
Device agnostic gaming is on the rise, and developers need to keep up with these changes if they are to succeed. Persistent gaming environments, such as World of Warcraft, are now written as they are played, as opposed to being created completely in advance.
Gamers have a vast array of options to choose between when they want to play. They can play and earn, learn, bet, sell, network, play for free but accept adverts or play for a fee, avoiding adverts.
Technology and Creativity are the DNA of all interactive entertainment, and that is what Edinburgh Interactive is all about. Technology and Creativity are changing the rules in a very organic way. They can re-invent the way we game, but only if they are permitted to do so.
Deering made the point that Investors can be restrictive on both the creativity and technology that is so important in this industry, and that they must learn to allow more freedom to develop and expand innovation.
He closed by stating that we – as an industry – must ‘ride the horse in the direction it is going, rather than try to push water uphill’.
With that, Chris Deering ended his introduction, leaving the audience to ponder these ideas long after the applause had faded.