OPINION: Letting off Steam

Committed readers of MCV will know that the contrast between last week’s cover stories and this week’s couldn’t be starker.

But such is the diversity of games now that one week we might be talking analytics and digital downloads, the next hoary but no less important topics like supermarkets and second hand games.

It’s classic Old World meets New World stuff, no better embodied by Steam and Valve’s constant bemusement at the idea of putting together a regular digital chart.

When you read what Steam’s smart chief Jason Holtman has to say about it – specifically how such charts can (and have) painted inaccurate pictures of the market – you can see his point.

That doesn’t mean a digital chart would be any less useful for the set of people that want it, or that UKIE should give up compiling such a list (which would include Steam data anyway, just sourced from individual firms).

But it shows how the speed of movement is much different in the New World. There, you can monitor your sales down to the minute. You can tweak promotions and watch figures fluctuate moment to moment. The Old World’s weekly All Formats chart seems quaint in that context.

Speed is the common attribute that has helped the industry’s digital pioneers like Facebook, Angry Birds and Steam rise to seemingly permanent dominance. There’s a lesson there for the rest of us.

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