Codemasters Chairman and former Sony Computer Entertainment Europe President Chris Deering says the videogame industry needs to set its sights higher, suggesting that ten million unit sales should be the benchmark for a major hit.
The times, they are a-changin’. It wasn’t all that many years ago that a million-selling game was considered a huge hit and and even today it’s widely regarded as a watershed of respectability. But industry executive Chris Deering says that’s no longer good enough; as the industry has grown and the business landscape has been remade by the recession, game makers need to expect more.
“Unlike many businesses [affected by the recession], gaming is as big as ever,” he told the crowd at this years’s Edinburgh Interactive Festival. “It’s bigger than DVD, bigger than the cinema box office, bigger than books and bigger than the music industry. Can you imagine? We used to have our games distributed by the music biz.”
“The big winners in this environment will win big,” he continued. “Ten million unit sales of software is now possible – Assassin’s Creed has sold just over nine. It’s also possible to get ten million subscriptions to your MMO. Everquest was thrilled ten years ago to get 400,000 playing it. Times have changed.”
He also noted the ongoing evolution of the gaming industry and sid that new business models would eventually bring about major changes to the way games are made, sold and played. “Just like [the music industry], we’re moving from ‘albums’ to ‘singles’,” Deering said. “iTunes was disruptive for the music business and they had to adapt. That’s happening today in the games industry. [In terms of pricing], we’re moving from ‘hardback’ to ‘paperback’ with different types of free low-cost trial, pay-as-you-play payment models.”