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INTERVIEW: 4MM

Ben Parfitt
INTERVIEW: 4MM

Why have 4mm decided to set up in the UK?

In order to cater to the needs of the European market, and especially because 4mm’s games are so heavily online-centric. We needed an office here that would allow us to work closely with key partners, from marketing to sales to media and ensure appropriate levels of customer support. Focusing the build on 4mm’s first title Def Jam Rapstar gives us an immediate focus.

It’s early days – the office only opened this month – but we’re excited to have already appointed Gavin Shackell, who was previously VP global marketing at EMI Music, as European marketing director. We look to have some further announcements in the coming months.

You’ve been hired as an advisory board member. What can you bring to the table for 4mm?

I’ve known Nick Perrett, 4mm’s CEO, for a long time and have a lot of respect for him and 4mm’s vision; we share a lot of common views on the future of the industry. As well as strategic input, my contacts in the industry and background as CEO of an online games publisher will be very helpful to the company as it grows.

Is 4mm interested in opening a UK development studio as well?

This is absolutely something we’re looking at – the UK has a tremendous talent pool and history in games. We will be watching closely to see if the new government follows through on its pre-election proposals of tax breaks.

Konami is 4mm’s distributor in Europe. Is this a long-term arrangement, or will 4mm bring its operations in-house at some point?

4mm has established a great relationship with Konami and they have been incredibly supportive on Def Jam Rapstar. Their experience in the music game genre is second to none. We hope this relationship will be a long-term one and there are no plans to build physical distribution in Europe.

What are 4mm’s long-term ambitions?

4mm aspires to become a global digital publisher. It has a novel take on what the customer-facing organisation of the future needs to look like and will demonstrate what its plans are in the coming months.

How important do you feel social gaming will be in future?

The 4mm team feels that we are very much at the beginning of the social games market. Def Jam Rapstar is a social game – not in the pure ‘game played on a social network’ sense, but with the extensive online-connected play and promotional metagame across social networks it is.

The lines will blur over time as to what a social game is – we see a future where ‘social’ becomes a feature – where all games build in social hooks to better engage their players.

Digital seems to be all the rage in the industry at the moment. How will 4mm compete in this space?

Success will go to companies who best understand how to manage customers and digital distribution partners, who best leverage the web and, obviously, who make the best games. 4mm’s team has a very unique blend of backgrounds to pull that off.

What makes Def Jam Rapstar different to other music games?

First off, Def Jam Rapstar is the first music game for the current generation of consoles to focus exclusively on hip hop. In addition to the music, it will use your console’s camera to record and upload your performances to our fully community online. There’s a whole metagame experience on the web that really takes social gaming on the console to the next level.

Def Jam isn’t as big over here as in America. What are your expectations for this licence in Europe?

Hip hop is huge across the globe, from NYC to London to Japan and all places in-between, and with the artists and features Def Jam Rapstar contains we have pretty high expectations for the game.

Why start off with a music game?

Some say the music genre is in decline, but that seems to be more in the ‘rock’ or ‘alternative’ genres. But there’s yet to be a hip hop game, so how can there be a decline in a genre that doesn’t exist?

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