Game industry needs a “secondary business model”

Namco Bandai Partners VP Oliver Comte recently spoke to MCV about how the current business model of the game industry “isn’t viable” and how developers and publishers need to join forces in order to make something happen… kind of like a gathering of Justice League to fight evil!

“I feel all the big video game companies need to join together in a worldwide summit to discuss the future of our industry. I think we have to pull our thoughts together.”

Comte compared the industry business model to the more viable options of the music and movie industries. “If you compare [games] to music, music has two ways to make money – sales of disc, which is decreasing, and concert tickets, which are increasing so  there’s another source of revenue for the artist. Film has a similar situation, there is the disc and the cinema. Games just have one model, the sale of the product either as a box or a digital download. So we need to think about how we can develop a secondary business model.”

The prices of games are way too high according to Comte, and a way to reduce those prices is obviously through DLC and episodic content, a model that has reached a remarkable level of popularity over the last few years. “A good price of a game should be around £20 – but for this price we can’t make a ten to 15-hour adventure. So for £20 we should offer consumers four to five hours of gameplay, then after that we can make additional money with DLC.”

Comte also encourages format holders, such as Nintendo, to take part in all this in order to be able to change the current model the industry is implementing. “It is impossible for a publisher to make money on a DS game, for example, that goes on sale for £15. We have to sell that game to retail for lower than that, we have to pay all the marketing, production and distribution costs. This just isn’t a viable business model.”