Dean Hall says publishers ought to be focusing on offering technology assistance, not marketing and retail placement.
Day Z has attracted a lot of interest from would-be publishers, but Dean Hall says none of them offered anything that his Arma 2-based zombie apocalypse game actually needed. Hall sees the new digital era, with open platforms and online sales outlets, as an opportunity that, he claims, most publishers are missing out on. He went on to claim that everyone involved in the process – developers, publishers and manufacturers – would need to make significant changes, or risk irrelevancy.
When publishers came to Hall offering to do wonders for Day Z, Hall asked what was on offer. The response was development money, marketing and retail placement. “We don’t see our product at retail,” Hall said, arguing that the proposition was a complete misunderstanding of Day Z’s needs, indicative of a calcified mindset. “We don’t need money,” Hall went on to say, “so then we don’t need marketing. People don’t want to see ‘Day Z: brought to you by x-brand.'”
There were things publishers could offer, Hall argued, suggesting that publishers’ strengths lay in specialist and technological assistance. Yet in Hall’s view most on the publishing and development side – with the exception of Steam – were lagging behind.
Hall suggested that the only reason companies like Microsoft insisted on a publisher model before letting a game on Xbox Live was so the console maker didn’t “piss off” its publishers. “To me it’s like the early days of digital music distribution,” Hall said, “where they put digital music out there but you still had to buy the whole album. It’s like … you’re doing it wrong.”