[casual_games] Casual/Mobile Games and RIAA, MPAA

Sean Ryan sean at donnerwood.com
Tue Jan 24 21:20:15 EST 2006

This is the second thread I've seen indicating we should "hide the
casual games from the big boys or they'll destroy us", more or less.
The fact is that big brands and venture capital money will enter any
sector which has above-average returns - casual games is currently one
of those sectors, which is why a variety of large players (NHN, EA,
Ubisoft, NetMarble, Xbox Live, etc.) are entering or increasing
investments in the business, and why VC's are funding casual game
companies left and right - see PlayFirst, BigTop, Big Fish, etc.  It's
getting more crowded, with more money, brands and higher budgets being
thrown at it.  

To Lennard's question, if the big brands don't bring anything but
truncated schedules and bad games, then they won't succeed, especially
in a try before you buy world.  On the other hand, if the bulk of small
developers keep replicating the same Match 3 game/Diner Dash clone over
and over again aimed at the identical 35-yr old woman, then that group
will disappear as well, or at least their economics will diminish.

Big Brands offer well-recognized and very popular icons.  Just as major
labels control the bulk of the music business (85%) with sometimes
dubious content, big brands will bring distribution, marketing, and
global capabilities to the business, and they will certainly increase
market share, even if they just produce identical games as everyone else
- but again, if the games suck, then it won't work since our sector
doesn't yet have a distribution problem like music retail where a few
players control the entire business.  Smaller developers can generally
get enough access to existing portals or sell enough units off smaller
sites/their own home pages to make the economics work, but it doesn't
mean that will hold forever.

As long as small developers make great games, they will generally be
successful, but the noise ratio is going to increase a lot this year,
whether or not we like big brands or not

Sean Ryan
Donnerwood Media

-----Original Message-----
From: casual_games-bounces at igda.org
[mailto:casual_games-bounces at igda.org] On Behalf Of Lennard Feddersen
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 3:07 PM
To: IGDA Casual Games SIG Mailing List
Subject: Re: [casual_games] Casual/Mobile Games and RIAA, MPAA

Hi John, I have a few questions.

1.  Does the music biz. really need a different product?  They are 
losing retail sales due to the fact that whole albums at retail are no 
longer as compelling but doesn't digital distribution cut down on their 
costs and inventory risk?  Has iTunes meant more or less revenue for the

oft-reported beleagured music business.
2.  TV is moving into the iPod model - is this not an opportunity that 
will lead to greater revenue and ad. opps?  I wasn't paying for Lost 
before but can imagine paying $1.49 for a missed episode which is just 
new money for them.
3.  I'm curious about your background - not an attack or anything, just 
curious where you are coming from.

As a small player in the casual space, big brands are not a welcome 
thing.  They are going to go to the larger players who will then 
accumulate more of the pie which will then be shared out of the space 
with the brand holders.  Maybe it will grow the space but I'm dubious.  
Back in the NES/SNES days, I worked on a lot of branded games and the 
schedules were usually truncated and not accomodating to game play.

In specifics, what do you think the big brands will offer Casual Games 
that might lead to a greater user experience than casual games currently

offer and will evolve to offer?  Where is the cross-pollination going to

ocurr that actually gets the end user a new and more compelling 
experience.  As I write this I'm thinking about the first time I heard 
an audio tape story (Lonesome Dove) that actually offered more than a 
print book due to a great performance by the reader.

Lennard Feddersen
CEO, Rusty Axe Games, Inc.

Lennard at RustyAxe.com
P. 250-635-7623 F. 1-309-422-2466
3521 Dogwood, Terrace, BC, Canada, V8G-4Y7

John Viguerie wrote:

>The music biz needs a new digital product that can
>command more than the .99 price of a lossy digi-rip. 
>The tv/movie biz is scared to death that the same
>culture of ripping and trading that has decimated the
>RIAA will soon be visited upon the MPAA member
>The casual/mobile game technology formats and business
>models offer some compelling financial and market
>benefits to popular music and movie brand owners.
>This is an exercise to test the current and
>extrapolate the future relationship between
>casual/mobile games and the traditional content
>industry's brands & franchises...
>Read Timeline.htm and then MusicMoviesCasualGames.htm
>This is NOT ABOUT "Sponge Bob" plus "Collapse" or
>"Li'l Jon Golf", but it SORT OF IS...  The digital
>entertainment products of the future are hybrids of
>image, audio, play features, interactivity and
>branding that are NEITHER currently embodied in the
>traditional entertainment products NOR standard casual
>game modes.
>There are ~32,000 records released in North America
>every year, only ~100 will be certified as 'hits'. 
>There are about ~200 "major budget" feature length
>movies released every year out of a total population
>of ~700.  Adoption of the casual game format by the
>MPAA/RIAA member companies as a key branding and
>merchandising strategy could significantly accelerate
>demand for 
>- creative and technical production services from
>casual game studios
>- secure, robust management, distribution and
>provisioning services from casual/mobile content
>distribution platform providers
>I invite your replies, comments, anecdotes, examples,
>arguments, criticisms, insults, etc. in support of or
>against the argument.
>Evolve Entertainment Today.
>clubvig at yahoo.com
>Casual_Games mailing list
>Casual_Games at igda.org


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