Jamil Moledina, the former executive director of the Game Developers Conference, is painting a different picture about certain trends in the videogame industry now that he’s no longer constrained by the responsibilities of his position.
Speaking at the 2008 CEDEC, the Japanese game developers conference, Moledina said that while he was required to be positive about various trends in game development as the head of the GDC, the reality of the situation is somewhat “less rosy” than he may have let on. The future of digital distribution was very near the top of that list, with Moledina saying that while several developers claimed they could never have got to market without the opportunities afforded them by online distribution, others were unimpressed with the results of the scheme. Lower-than-expected sales, problems with pricing and positioning, and the importance of the “small landing page placement opportunities on most online portals” were all complaints he had heard about online distribution, he said.
He also said in-game advertising may not live up to expectations, pointing out that his research indicated in-game ads could only support casual games, and not mainstream AAA releases. Making ads an inconspicuous part of the game world while still ensuring sufficient visibility to keep advertisers satisfied is a major problem facing developers, he said, as are difficulties convincing clients to sign up for in-game models. The “transmedia” crossover between videogames and movies was also met with criticism, with Moledina quoting one executive as saying, “They tried this in the 80s and it didn’t work then either.”
It’s an interesting change in direction from the former GDC boss, but not terribly surprising. People in high-profile positions are beholden to their responsibilities, and the fact that Moledina “accentuated the positive” isn’t shocking in the least. Nor was he predicting all-out doom and gloom for the industry in his address; in his conclusion, he said he wanted to warn against investing based on what everyone else was saying, adding that people should “challenge everything.”