The Publishers Are Dead?! Lessons  From Digital Game Distribution                  Joost Rietveld                   @gjrie...
08/06/2012   Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost Rietveld
What is the impact of digital distributionchannels on effective commercializationstrategies of independent game developers...
“We don’t work with publishers because they                                 cannot guarantee success at all. We can consid...
125,802 games on the iOS Appstore – 148apps.biz                         85% of all games on iOS sell no more than 1,500 un...
Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost08/06/2012                             Rietveld
10000                                                                                                                     ...
indie strategy                       partnering strategyunits sold                                   20,961               ...
reputation    marketing                         network               portfolio 08/06/2012       Digital Shoreditch | Play...
low reputation                                       high reputationlow complementarities    Don’t even think about it, lo...
£20,000             £18,000             £16,000             £14,000             £12,000             £10,000              £...
@gjrietveld             www.strategyguide.nl08/06/2012    Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost Rietveld
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The publishers are dead?! Lessons from digital game distribution

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Presentation slides for this year's (2012) Digital Shoreditch presentation, PLAY Summit. I explore the notion that publishers are dead in digital distribution of video games by comparing two identical games published through two marketing strategies: with and without publisher.

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  • Hi Jurrie, thank you for your comments. The point of the presentation is indeed that publishers are far from dead. I also think you are right in that the publisher (be it the developer turned publisher or an external entity) has shifted position in digital distribution.
    The point I am making is that it takes certain complementary skills that far from all developers possess, to be successful in publishing digital games. For those that lack these complementarities, partnering with a publisher should be considered. This should be a relevant insight as many developers think that publishers/publishing are dead!
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  • this is incorrect in my opinion, publishers are far from dead! more alive then ever, but the function shifts from being an end to becoming a start.

    Before as content creator, you 'ended' at a publisher (selling your content to them) but now you start at publishing (yourself?) and can use all sorts of additional services that normally were done by a publisher.
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The publishers are dead?! Lessons from digital game distribution

  1. 1. The Publishers Are Dead?! Lessons From Digital Game Distribution Joost Rietveld @gjrietveld08/06/2012 Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost Rietveld
  2. 2. 08/06/2012 Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost Rietveld
  3. 3. What is the impact of digital distributionchannels on effective commercializationstrategies of independent game developers?CONTEXT• Total market of digital games estimated at $20 billion for 2011 (IDG, 2011)• Barriers to market eroded• Lower development costs due to smaller project scope on digital channels• Publishers are demanding both from monetary and creative perspective• … Kickstarter! 08/06/2012 Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost Rietveld
  4. 4. “We don’t work with publishers because they cannot guarantee success at all. We can consider it, but then they have to come with a very good deal!” – Indie developer in recent email conversation “The publisher is dead!” – http://whoneedschillingo.com/“We do not write a marketing plan, marketing doesn’t work.” – Indie developer in recent email conversation08/06/2012 Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost Rietveld
  5. 5. 125,802 games on the iOS Appstore – 148apps.biz 85% of all games on iOS sell no more than 1,500 units – Simon Careless (Gamasutra) "I think that is ending now because if you have a million apps in an app store, just because your app is in an app store, it doesnt mean its going to be discovered. So youve got issues about how youre going to bring traffic to it." - Trip Hawkins (Founder EA, now CEO indie studio Digital Chocolate59% of all Apps don’t break even, 68% of all Apps earn less than $5,000 – App Promo Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost 08/06/2012 Rietveld
  6. 6. Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost08/06/2012 Rietveld
  7. 7. 10000 Units comparison (LOG) Units Strategic alliance Units Artist-led platform feature 1000Units sold price drop 100 us release 10 1 4 7 10 13 16 19 22 25 28 31 34 37 40 43 46 49 52 55 58 61 64 67 70 73 76 79 82 85 88 91 94 97 100 103 106 109 112 115 118 121 124 Days from release 08/06/2012 Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost Rietveld
  8. 8. indie strategy partnering strategyunits sold 20,961 135,288revenue generated (€) 88,347 110,363publisher fee (€) N/A 14,847market performance Bottom 60% Top 5%meta score (0-100) 79% 86% 08/06/2012 Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost Rietveld
  9. 9. reputation marketing network portfolio 08/06/2012 Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost Rietveld
  10. 10. low reputation high reputationlow complementarities Don’t even think about it, look Invest in complementarities for reputable partner through in-house (95% of all developers) development or acquisitions (Rovio)high complementarities Focus on building large Commercialize independently, portfolio through contracts exploit complementarities with other developers through portfolio (Chillingo) (Zynga) Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost 08/06/2012 Rietveld
  11. 11. £20,000 £18,000 £16,000 £14,000 £12,000 £10,000 £8,000 £6,000 £4,000 £2,000 £0 Independent strategy(100%) Partnering strategy (70%)08/06/2012 Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost Rietveld
  12. 12. @gjrietveld www.strategyguide.nl08/06/2012 Digital Shoreditch | Play Summit | Joost Rietveld

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