A video game producer gives his thoughts on the state of the industry touching upon the business, production, marketing and PR of interactive entertainment.
posted by Ben Mattes at 4:07 PM
Heh heh. COol bet. One in parallel: Which talk show will be the first to have a game designer on: Tonight Show, Late Night, Conan, or Carson Daily?I guess by some measure, Daily show already wins, IIRC.
Oh, and I'll take Will for $100, Alex. I think EA has the connections and teh pull in hollywood to make this happen. It would happen around Spore.Possible longshots: Doug Church (high-profile Spielberg game), or Raph Koster.
Honestly, as much as we'd like to believe that these shows would put a game designer on the tube, I think it's unfortunately more complicated than that.Simply put, they are in the business of entertaining and sometimes of informing, but mostly entertaining. I see several barriers to this, even though we find guys like Will fascinating, I don't think what he has to say is that interesting to the general public, and certainly not to the average American. There's simply a lack of common vocabulary, and in general, interest. I don't think regular people really care at this point who creates the games, and what's behind making a game. That being said, I believe the first to breakthrough to mass media will have to have some kind of star power (they themselves have to be charismatic and captivating) and the work (game) will have to have crazy mass appeal. Even then, I'll bet that no one knows (or cares?) who created Halo, or the Sims. All they know is that Halo is made by Microsoft, and that EA made the Sims.The game industry has to start shifting to pushing talent as a marketable product as a precursor to this taking off, not simply corp/game. EA has already started working on putting this in motion, and at some point my money is on the first game celebrity being an EA employee.
A few other thoughts have come to mind:- Curt Schelling of Blue Monster Games (or McFarlane, for that matter). He is already a celebrity with star power and could have an interesting public interest angle given that he will go from high profile public life to game development. - Another thought: people sometimes get on talkshows for having funny names, for saving a kitten or some other generally inane '15 minutes' act. Sure they aren't repeat guests, but there is enough public interest in them that the show organizers gamble on a popular show. I find it strange that with the success of GoW Cliff doesn't have enough credibility in their eyes for at least a '15 minutes' shot.Anyways -- I agree with the points Anonymous raises. There are a lot of roadblocks preventing this from happening. When it does happen, though, we as an industry can take a collective sigh of relief and know that we've 'made it'.
And when that does happen, let's hope we are taken seriously.I shudder at the though of a game designer being treated the same way a guest chef or book author does on Letterman or Leno.
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Producer at Ubisoft Montreal, currently working on an unannounced next-gen title.
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