WHO’S WHO IN THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY Platform holders They manufacture the hardware on which the videogames run. Microsoft Xbox Sony PlayStation Nintendo Wii and DS
Each platform holder produces a new generation of hardware every two to three years and are locked in a format war where they attempt to convince consumers to buy their hardware by securing exclusive games and features or through competitive pricing.
Link with software – technology improves gameplaying experience for audience.
Developers They create videogames. (The software that runs on platform holders’ hardware.) A developer will create a game program that will be pressed to CD, DVD or cartridge to be run on consumers’ PlayStations, Xboxes, or Gamecubes. With the increasing complexity of video game hardware development teams have grown in size and cost. Some are ‘first-party’ (owned by a platform holder) others ‘second party’ (who get some platform-holder funding) and others ‘third-party’ (independent companies ) EA games is a highly successful game developer, publisher and distributor with a revenue in 2010 of $3.6 billion (down on previous years).
Publishers They provide the money and support for development teams. Single companies may develop and publish (e.g. EA Games). Companies such as Ubisoft, Sony Computer Entertainment, Microsoft and Nintendo are among the larger videogame publishers.
Distributors and Retailers The role of the distributor is to get the videogame to retailers in order to sell to the consumers.ie. getting games boxes onto retailers shelves. There is an increased use of electronic distribution with digital distribution via mobile phones and on-line download capabilities increasing at a rapid pace.
Industry bodies There are a number of organisations which promote the work of the videogame industry for example TIGA (The Independent Games Developers Association) Ratings bodies Videogames like other media are subject to classification and age rating. The UK operates a two-tier system with the voluntary guidelines of the European PEGI (Pan-European Games Information) and the BBFC ( British Board of Film Classification) regulations.
Videogames sales increasing (thanks in part to Wii, and new audiences).
GTA4 (2008) holds record for ‘Most Successful Entertainment Product Launch’.
$310 m worldwide sales on launch day (five times the sales for ‘The Dark Knight on its first day).
(But in a year GTA4 sold
13m copies – Dark Knight
sold this in a week on DVD).
Online (non- physical) distribution of product.
Cuts out traditional distributors and retailers – changing the industry and jobs.
Keeps customers interested – exclusive DLC deals between platform holders and publishers.