Some terminologyThere are a number of institutions working together in thevideogames industry and we may not realise the work thatgoes into the game on the shelf.
Platform Holders Platform holders manufacture the hardware on which videogames run. The three main companies at present are Sony who manufacture the PlayStation series, Microsoft who produce the Xbox series, and Nintendo who produce the Wii, GameCube, Game Boy and Nintendo DS.
Developers The teams that create the videogames (the software that runs on consoles, PCs and handhelds). Developers may be ‘first party’ (directly owned by a platform holder), ‘second party’ where there is some platform holder support or funding, or ‘third party’ who are unaffiliated with the platform holder.
Publishers Publishers provide money and support for the development teams who create videogames. Ubisoft and SCI (incorporating Eidos) in the UK, as well as Sony Computer Entertainment, Microsoft, Nintendo and Electronic Arts are among the larger videogame publishers.
Distributorsand Retailers The role of the distributor is to get videogames to retailers in order to sell to consumers. As the majority of videogames are currently distributed in physical form (ie on CD, DVD or cartridge), this means getting game boxes onto retailers’ shelves or to warehouses. However, recent moves within the industry have pointed to the increased use of digital distribution with extra levels or even whole games being downloadable. (DLC = Downloadable Content)
Think of any game you might have played Find out the following and post it as a Blogpost if you’ve set it up, otherwise paper is fine. Game title: (Include an image of the coverart) Available on what platform holders: Developer: Publisher: How much did it cost to make? How is it distributed – physical? Digital? Where could you get it from? Price?
Crazy Taxi Game title: Crazy Taxi Available on what platform holders: Originally in arcades, then ported to Dreamcast (2000), then PS2, Gamecube, Windows PCs then Xbox Live Arcade in 2010 Developer: Hitmaker, then Sega Studios developed the PS3 and Xbox 360 ports Publisher: Sega How much did it cost to make? How is it distributed – physical? Digital? Where could you get it from? Price? CD/DVD Roms, Digital download, cloud computing – Available in shops, online retail, Xbox Live Marketplace for XBLA game
For homework/if you finishthis exercise, then try andfind out about the institutionsbehind Grand Theft Auto 4 Find out the following and post it as a Blogpost if you’ve set it up, otherwise paper is fine. Game title: (Include an image of the coverart) Available on what platform holders: Developer: Publisher: How much did it cost to make? How is it distributed – physical? Digital? Where could you get it from? Price?
Convergence Media institutions in the 21st century produce and distribute their products across several media platforms: e.g. The Guardian has a paper edition, an online edition, podcasts and an iPhone / Android app. In regards to our industry, the three main platform holders Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony are examples of convergence
Convergence Another example would be Warner Brothers making Harry Potter the film and then releasing Harry Potter the video game. When this happens it is called cross-media convergence. With video-game convergence, it has become part of the synergy of marketing for many children’s films that a tie-in game is released in the run up to the cinema release – compared to many other games they are usually rushed and use the IP (Intellectual Property) of the film and combine it with an existing game engine. Synergy: Using more than section of the media to aid the promotion and sale of a product There are few critically acclaimed movie tie-in games. The classic examples many gamers my age mention is Goldeneye on the N64 – However, this came out two years after the Bond film! It shows that sometimes it is good to wait! Sometimes it can happen the other way round: Films that are adapted from videogames – to varied success!
Technological Convergence When technologies come together to perform more than one function e.g: a mobile phone taking photos and videos Internet TV In the early 90s, when I was recalling my NES and SNES adventures last lesson, they could only do 1 function – Can you note down all the functions that the most recent computer consoles can do?
Why audiences areimportant Shops and businesses are accountable to their customers – if they don’t give them what they want, they won’t buy products and make any money Audiences are exactly the same – they control the flow of money Audiences have changed over time, and tracing this change helps us to understand why a modern-day audience is important
How do you think audienceshave changed?1980s Audience 2012 Audience