Institutions and audiences: Video games MEDIA OWNERSHIP
Ownership: Who owns what in videogames?• Licenses, brands, technology, softwar e, hardware, the intellectual property (IP.)• What effect does this have on the industry?
Rockstar• Rockstar own the GTA brand – their developers are part of the same company so they also own the game code as well.• No one else can make ‘GTA’ branded games.
Rockstar• Rockstar have created the characters themselves• Rockstar created their own game engine (RAGE) enabling them to make uniquely realist graphics. However, they had to license other technologies such as Euphoria (a game animation engine) and Bullet (open source physics engine)
Rockstar• Rockstar had to license all the songs in the game at the cost of approximately $5,000 per track. They had to license the TV footage such as Ricky Gervais’ comedy show.
Rockstar• Microsoft paid $50 million for the exclusive rights for the GTA 4 downloadable content (DLC) – so obtaining the right media ownership can be used to sell consoles.• (Key terms: Killer App – A product good enough to make you buy the platform eg. Zelda and the N64 etc.)
Some other issues with media ownership• Publishers have to pay for ‘licenses’ from other intellectual properties (exclusive rights) such as films (Bond, X-Men, SpiderMan, sports stars and events (FIFA, Tiger Woods), car designs (Gran Turismo), TV shows (X Factor), songs (Guitar Hero)
Some other issues with media ownership• These all cost money – more you spend on licensing that may attract sales, the less you have for development.
The process of GTA 1 (1997) • Two different companies – Not the most • DMADevelopers Design efficient way for a company to do businesss: One can play hardball! • BMG Publishers Interactive
Vertical Integration• Rockstar Games have bought out the companies they work with – this means that they now own all aspects of their company.• Why is vertical integration important for developers?It is important as they want to maximise profitswith minimum fuss. By buying out the studioswhich help in development, they can split profitswithout hassle as they are now under control ofRockstar.
Exclusivity• Linked with institutions and ownership is Rockstar and exclusivity.• Rockstar are now a neutral party to the ‘big three’ of Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony. They were once commonly associated with Sony, however now work with any offers that will profit them greatly – an example of this is with its DLC – in 2009, Rockstar accepted an offer from Microsoft to keep The Lost and Damned DLC for GTA IV exclusive for Xbox 360 for a year.