It’s a long while since I left MCV, but I’ve returned briefly to support and reflect on this week’s relaunch. Having been in the games business over 30 years, most of them as a journalist and publisher, I’ve seen a few.
All industries change, games quicker than most. And so must its trade media. Constantly. The vicissitudes of traditional High Street retail, for so long the heartland of MCV and its predecessor CTW, have run alongside evolution elsewhere.
The interactive entertainment business as a whole continues to grow. And grow. Amidst all this, business media retains an essential role – irrespective of whether there is one route to market and one dominant sector, or an overwhelming variety.
From an industry-perspective, MCV is still at the core of everything, despite a fractured landscape, your media preference or intense competition for eyeballs and influence.
A brilliant forum at the London Games Festival discussed how most games companies used to hire largely the same type of person and sell games to a core consumer, but reach, choice, diversity, innovation and technology have taken the games business ever further.
This was demonstrated when Ukie revealed that the market in this country alone was worth £4.33bn in 2016. That’s including console, PC, mobile, peripherals, retail, digital, licensing, movies, books, peripherals, eSports, toys, soundtracks and events.
£4.33 billion. Blimey. Until Nintendo and Sega came along, we said ‘about £100m’ for years if anyone asked. And very few did.
Now other sectors, from creative, tech and film to general enterprise want games business skills and applications (just ask Epic Games).
And such is the emergence of digital that the platform holders have become the biggest stores and games themselves have effectively become huge shops.
Digital retailers like Green Man Gaming are coming of age, whilst studios like Natural Motion and Hutch are amongst those helping the UK to retain its leading edge status.
It’s a bigger industry than ever, employing a wider range of staff, making a greater variety of products for core and casual, girls and boys, women and men.
This business is now a heart throb of the country’s creative industries from a Government perspective and
a valuable contributor to the education system, with more to come.
The winds of change have blown us all over the place. We can’t control them, but we can use them.
And in those stormy moments, your trade media of choice has always been a handy little life raft.
Stuart Dinsey launched MCV in 1998, after more than a decade heading up its predecessor CTW. He left in 2013, a year after the sale of his company Intent Media to Newbay Media. Stuart is currently chairman of British games publisher Curve Digital, a board member of industry trade body Ukie, a non-executive director of mobile media and events company Steel Media and a director of League Two football club Stevenage FC.