There seems to be fewer companies in the mainstream space as every year goes by, be that in publishing, development or retail, even though the overall market size is bigger than any of us imagined five or so years ago.
Which is why every time even a small publisher like Oxygen or Empire disappears, let alone a bigger player like Midway or Zavvi, my heart sinks a little.
I know there is a brave new world emerging, populated by indie developers empowered by new digital distribution models, but whilst we wait for that to create jobs and a genuine trade community, one has to hope that all the power doesn’t end up residing with just half a dozen publishers and buyer drones at faceless supermarkets.
That’s why the fantastic year that Codemasters has had should be cheered from the rooftops.
Everyone knows how tough it has been for this company in the past couple of years and how much has been riding on its key releases since summer.
But guess what, this British company has done brilliantly. There are plenty who have wanted to knock it, yet Ashes, Dirt 2 and Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising have all done the business – protecting jobs and providing variety at retail.
Codemasters employs around 450 people and is a big player, a company with a strong history and fine commitment to quality game development. Hats off.
There were 56 companies listed as ELSPA members in MCV two weeks ago, from Activision Blizzard to Zushi Games. And many more within Tiga.
Variety, whether an iPhone developer or a format holder, is what this fantastic industry has been built on.
And every time an Operation Flashpoint or Cooking Mama succeeds, even a Flight Control, it has to be good for the health of the industry at large.