The biggest annual games industry event, GDC was held again in San Fransisco in the middle of march. During five days of events, seminars, expo and parties all the participants had a good chance to take a look at the games industry development and it´s stage at the moment. Along with the other participants were also a number of Finnish games industry actors including Neogames, Finnish center of Games, GHP and several game companies.
However, unlike some previous years GDC didn´t have one hot topic but rather several interisting issues. Facebook and everything around it, which was last years hot topic, was still very much present in discussions but the the debate had evolved from analyzing the phenomena called Facebook to discussion about it´s economical possibilities. The situation is quite parallel to the situation in the beginning of the century. We have an internet phenomena, but we don´t quite know at the moment how to cash it properly. At this point it seems, that Facebook apps, especially games are going to be one good possibility to make money out of social media.
Another wastly discussed topic was digital distribution of games. From the Finnish point of wiev this discussion was extremely interesting.
The reason for the great interest is, that the Finnish games industry is one of the first national games industries which have taken clear steps to utilize all the possibilities of digital distribution On its best digital distribution can offer to small independent game developers very favourable value chain and very lucrative earning model.
But the hottest topic of all was maybe the debate about ownership of IP:s. Social media offers us a good channel for marketing. Digital distribution on the other hand offers us a good channel for distributing our products. All this is favourable to game developers if they can hold on their IP:s. This demands money.
The situation is, that game development is quite expensive. In the old publisher based model publisher took care of the investment required to make the game. As a compensation of this investment they usually demanded the full ownership to the IP. In new model even a small developer can take care of the distribution and marketing itself but without money from a publisher or investor game developer has no chance to develop a game.
GDC 2010 strengthened the view that in the future we have to find new ways to invest money to game projects. The investments can come from public, private or local sources, but without it we don´t have a chance to utilize this development which could be very favourable to us if treated right. Luckily some of the Finnish development organizations like GHP, have seen this possibility and invested to the growth of the Finnish games industry.
Text: KooPee HILTUNEN, NEOGAMES