Game biz needs better role models

The Brit behind one of the largest kids games sites in the world says the industry is short on business heroes.

Michael Acton Smith, CEO of Moshi Monsters creator Mind Candy, says too little is being done to inspire the gaming entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Virtual pet and online game Moshi Monsters is one of the fastest growing kids websites in the world. In just two years it has secured over 27 million users from ages four up to 14 in the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand. One in three UK children have designed their own in-game character.

Mind Candy is growing the franchise by co-producing books and other merchandise based on the Moshi brand – and that’s not to mention self-funding a move into publishing boxed games for Nintendo DS and 3DS.

But Moshi had to fight to succeed, Smith told MCV.

Specifically, the UK needs to develop a healthier attitude to the ups and downs of business – and start courting a more proactive investment community like the one found in the US.

There’s a different culture in the US,” he said. There are different circumstances that unfortunately mean over here the new IP, the good new IP, doesn’t always bubble to the surface.

And also in the UK the failure culture is so different. In America if you form a company, and it fails or its product doesn’t quite work out, then you move on, without shame.

Failure is no big deal. The American Dream is to try and try again to achieve your goal. In the UK, doing that is almost taboo.

To rectify that over here we need more role models for the businessmen of tomorrow – at the moment we have Richard Branson and a few Dragons. That’s not good enough.”

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