The road to XBOX ONE. Follow the journey

Jo Twist stresses need for digital video games sales data

Jo Twist stresses need for digital video games sales data

MCV teamed up with UKIE last week to create an estimated value of the UK games market. But there
are still big holes in the industry’s knowledge – particularly around digital. UKIE CEO Dr Jo Twist writes for MCV to discuss the need for a digital sales chart...

As an industry, one of the most challenging levels we have to complete is how to truly represent our value and worth in economic as well as social and cultural terms. 

When we represent the industry to media outside of the games press, to major players in other sectors, and to government, nationally and internationally, we need to be equipped. We need to have statistics, figures, evidence that cannot be disputed or ignored. Data is our friend, yet I find it a little awkward that we don’t have our full story represented by robust digital sales data. It can be frustrating. 

When I was at the BBC and Channel 4, we faced similar issues when it came to digital data. Not one broadcaster or independent production company could agree what common currency they should be using to say what ‘good’ or ‘a success’ looked like for digital commissions. There was no benchmark, there was no sharing of data and it undermined what we did, it made TV people suspicious and risk averse. This was not helpful.

"When we represent the industry to media outside
of the games press, to major players in other
sectors, and to government, nationally and
internationally, we need to be equipped. We need
to have statistics, figures, evidence that cannot be
disputed or ignored. Data is our friend, yet I find it
a little awkward that we don’t have our full story
represented by robust digital sales data.
It can be frustrating."


This may or may not have changed now, but the value of charts based on real sales data is that it tells you how you are performing against others: and let’s face it, we are in the games industry ergo we like leaderboards and competition. 

VALUING THE MARKET

MCV’s work to measure and put a value against the consumer market for games is not so much a leaderboard, but it is important because it shows the size and the potential of not just the games themselves, but the wider economic halo around games as a culture of fun which is sometimes neglected in mainstream media’s representation of our sector. What is obvious from this year’s snapshot is how deeply our sector reaches into player pockets, and how much potential there is to innovate into emerging areas, such as the interactive toys market. 

Up until this point, data from sources such as GFK Chart-Track has given us great visuals on both the boxed and console markets and is a key way many of our bigger members have made business decisions. Of course, if you have a game on any marketplace, you can access your own digital sales data. But we really do need to work together to create the same accessible, shared, benchmarked digital sales data and visuals across all platforms to locate ourselves with confidence within mainstream entertainment culture.

We wanted to help MCV build this year’s consumer market valuation because it is a key part of the puzzle. There are a couple of important pieces of work government is doing with which we have been involved. The first is the exports strategy for the creative industries, which is launched this week during a high level trade mission in China. We know we are a key global exporter, but we need to know our starting point in order to understand how well we are tracking against the government’s targets for increasing exports.

"When I was at the BBC and Channel 4, we faced
similar issues when it came to digital data. Not one
broadcaster or independent production company
could agree what common currency they should
be using to say what ‘good’ or ‘a success’ looked
like for digital commissions. There was no
benchmark, there was no sharing of data and it
undermined what we did, it made TV people
suspicious and risk averse. This was not helpful."


Although MCV’s valuation gives the UK picture, it would be fantastic to have the same visual for international markets.


TAX BREAKS

The second is, of course, ensuring that we are able to measure the impact of the long fought for tax breaks for the industry. UKIE has been working with the BFI research team which commissions an annual report measuring the economic impact of the tax breaks on film, animation and high-end TV drama. This report is used by government officials as the benchmark and it is important that we are counted as part of this. We are part of the project to make sure that the best sources of data are tapped into, and a representative picture of our sector is created. 

Data is vital to see how we do compared to other creative sectors, to influence how and what we make and sell is represented in the public eye, the media, and to drive positive policy making as well as prevent unhelpful decisions that might impact how we do business and reach consumers. We know we are a significant cultural, economic and entertainment activity which millions of ordinary people choose to spend money on every day, whether that be on events, on peripherals, or new games content – especially on digital platforms – and we are only going to get bigger.

I look forward to being able to use these new figures to continue to educate and sell the opportunity we offer as a sector, but it is up to the industry itself to come together to agree, create and share a truly robust, real-time digital sales chart that we so badly need. 

Advertisement

Tags: UKIE , video games , Digital , data , jo twist , Market Data

Follow us on

  • RSS