According to the likes of EA, Ubisoft and Activision, the trial of keeping the increasingly lucrative casual games market satisfied whilst pushing the boundaries of next-gen systems could be more of a headache than a blessing.
Activision MD Andrew Brown told MCV: “The biggest challenge for publishers in 2008 will be to keep up with the ever increasing demands and appetite of the new consumer base. Casual gamers have a very different profile to traditional gamers. Not only will they want different types of games, they will also expect a different kind of shopping experience and be reached with different messaging.”
Ubisoft’s domestic managing director Rob Cooper added: “Publishers have the twin challenge of producing stand-out titles to meet mass interest, whilst at the same time creating genuine next generation titles with innovative content for an increasingly tech savvy gamer.”
EA UK MD Keith Ramsdale commented: “We will be bringing content that will appeal to a very broad audience and success will be defined by how well we market that content broadly and in an effective and cost efficient manner.”
However, the rise of casual gaming has not caused universal alarm amongst the figureheads of UK games – with bosses still having plenty of reasons to be cheerful about the ever-widening market.
Warner Bros boss Chris Meredith said: “I hope that video games continue to surge towards mass market acceptance next year, and take a permanent place in the living room as opposed to just the bedroom or study.”
Brown added: “The casual gaming phenomenon is diversifying our consumer footprint and delivering a mass market audience, which brings scale and even greater respectability to the industry.”
Other challenges highlighted by publishers included securing studio tax breaks from the Government, making ‘bespoke’ content for each next gen system and the entry of media giants such as News Corp into the market.
Codemasters CEO Rod Cousens said: “Video games is the most exciting opportunity in entertainment in a digital age. We need to ensure that it continues to be overlooked by fiddling Goliaths who occupy themselves surveying burning embers elsewhere.”