Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

GDC Day 3

It's been a long day, as tens of thousands of attendees descend on the Moscone Center. Some interesting data from today's sessions...

Digital Overtakes Analog Distribution. It's happening fast, and sometime this year or next digital distribution of games will amount to more than all the games sold in retail stores. Unfortunately, not all of the old-line publishers seem to have gotten the memo. As Colin Sebastian from Lazard Capital Markets admitted to me, some executives say they understand... but that isn't the way they're spending their money. Hey, well, more business for the rest of us who can see what's happening and don't have the legacy structures to unravel.

Nintendo Still Doesn't Get It. Sad to say, Iwata-san is still complaining about how those cheap games on smartphones devalue real games, and not actually doing anything about it. I think Nintendo's strategy is basically to hope their business recovers because all of those mobile and social games are just a bad dream and someday everyone will wake up and go back to paying $40 for every game. The whole mobile/social explosion is hitting Nintendo especially hard, as they've always been more focussed on less intense gamers. Nintendo announced a few things... a deal with Netflix for streaming movies on the 3DS, free WiFi through AT&T... but nothing that fundamentally changes the market picture for them. Reality: Nintendo may sell 10 or 20 million 3DS units this year... while Apple and Google sell 200 million smartphones or more. And perhaps 100 million tablets on top of that. And then there's Apple TV and Google TV...

Apple TV and Google TV Hit This Year. Colin Sebastian, for one, agrees with me that this is the year Apps hit TV sets, and the impact will be similar to one about 65 million years ago. Similarly, a number of dinosaurs will perish, unable to adapt to the new environment. You think Nintendo's having trouble now, where's the Wii gonna fit in when you can get thousands of games for free on your TV?

The Expo Is... Crowded. All I had time for today was a fast stroll just to take in the atmosphere... which was mostly focussed around the Career Pavilion, but still big crowds everywhere. The basic company booth was MXLPTK, the unpronounceable futuristic name that produces high CPM shaded polygons with a mobile payment system that automatically captures your motions with optimized code. Or something like that, I think. Perhaps I have one or two companies mooshed together. It's been a long day.

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