The lights are on
John Schappert, chief operating officer at Electronic Arts used his time at DICE to talk about 20 years of technology transitions in the gaming industry. Aside from the obvious technological advances, Schappert says that one of the big changes is the number of gaming platforms and the difficulty in tracking data on such a fragmented marketplace.NPD information, one of the biggest tools that analysts and companies rely on, is largely incomplete. It doesn’t track big-box retail sales or online sales, leaving huge gaps in the data. That leads to negative (and inaccurate) headlines in mass media and the gaming press. Schappert says that the gaming industry is in the midst of a transition, and that the industry has survived them in the past. It doesn’t make it any easier, he says, but it’s something that the industry can prepare for. He then provided some suggestions and commentary.First, consumers are more educated than ever. He picked one of EA’s games to illustrate his point. The FIFA games spent too much of their focus on graphics over gameplay, and Konami took some of their market share by putting an emphasis on gameplay with its Winning 11 series. EA adjusted its strategy over time, and FIFA’s position was eventually restored. Next, company’s need to listen to consumers. With Battlefield: Bad Company 2, EA is taking on a giant in Activision’s Modern Warfare 2. They created big environments, destructible environments and lots of vehicles, based on player feedback.Schappert says good marketing can’t make a bad game any better, but good games deserve better support. He called out Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space as two examples that didn’t get a decent marketing push and also were put in a crowded release window. Mass Effect 2 and Dante’s Inferno are examples of how marketing can be successful, Schappert says, with both games having trailers broadcast during big football games, including the Super Bowl.Companies need to create long-term relationships with consumers, in the form of DLC and other online content, Schappert says. Social networking is certainly a part of EA’s future, with the recent acquisition of Playfish, but Schappert says that he sees indications that those kinds of games are right on the edge of a bubble. He expects to see more consolidation within that space in the near future.As appealing as online and DLC is, Schappert says it’s too soon to abandon retail releases. He doesn’t see physical formats being abandoned in the short, medium or even long term. Retail releases are a gateway to DLC, he reminded the audience.Finally, he said not to let cynics get you down. There are arguably more opportunities in the gaming space than ever, he says, with new audiences and an abundance of places to play games. While the formats might be fractured, there is room for expansion and growth in this new, evolving world.
I thought Dead Space sold well guess not, Great game none the less.
Mod Snip: First Posts Get Bozo'd but I'm being made into an example.
It's not a failure as long you try your best, John. You're too hard on yourself. I know, let's get you some ice cream. That'll cheer you up.
i definately wouldn't consider mirror's edge or dead space failures. i enjoyed mirror's edge very much and dead space got pretty positive reviews and it sold well enough to spawn a sequel. so how can it be a failure?
I'm surprised at the NPD statement. Why wouldn't they track online sales? Consumers buy so much online these days that not tracking online sales is negligent. Now I'm curious about the process NPD uses to get their data.
Also, can someone please define "big-box retail sales"?
Dead space didnt sell very well? Who knew? Besides him.
Once a good game finds it's way into the hands of serious gamers, it becomes a short matter of time before they spread the word. I've never known anyone to buy a game because of a TV spot.
Big Box Retail chains are like target walmart and bestbuy...I am really surprised Dead Space didn't sell that well, I knew Mirror's Edge didn't but that had less to do with marketing than the actual game itself, it got terrible user reviews while the critics loved it, It'll be interesting to see how EA adapts its marketing strategy based on this...
Is it just me or does he look an awful lot like Jason Alexander?
@tehixe holy crap he does! I'm probably the only person who wasn't scared or impressed by dead space. Plus it had a bug with the aiming. Both dead space and Mirrors edge shouldn't be considered failures though (just polish the sequals).
@Tehixe I thought the same thing while opening this thread.
I personally enjoyed Dead Space, though I have not played Mirrors Edge yet.
I could have sworn that dead space did very well oh well i guess in different eyes it didn't meet what they wanted
Sounds like a load of PR spin.
The way I read this is not that Dead Space did not sell well, but it was poorly marketed. I think he is trying to say that if they had marketed it in a similar way as Mass Effect 2 the sales would have been even better. I agree with him, a lot of games take 2-3 years to produce and a million dollars plus but for the release of the game there are just a few posters and maybe some web adds.
Perhaps if publishers would spend a few dollars on a marketing campaign similar to what movies get we would see better sales of quality games and less sales of shovel ware. Then again probably not most parents will still buy crap games without having any clue.
Neither game was marketed very well, and advertising gets casual gamers to be interested in a game. You know how many parents bought Guitar Hero 3 without their kid's knowing? Judging by my experience working in retail at the time, A LOT. Why? Because they heard about it and everything was saying how hot it was.
I had a friend who is really into video games, but he doesn't read many publications. I had to tell him about Dead Space since I had read about it in, well, Game Informer. We both loved the game.
My dad, who hasn't played a video game in at least 15 years, was slightly interested by the Mass Effect 2 trailer during the Super Bowl. Imagine what that did to all those people that are still playing games but had not heard about it.
Dead Space did sell well, it just didn't get the marketing push it should have. I'd say thatll change for Dead Space 2.
Thanks, and now that I have that defined this is the thought going through my head right now: where the *** does the NPD get it's numbers?
i thought this guy worked for microsoft??