A new decade, a new era

Wow! What an end to a year and a decade. Four industry luminaries were awarded honours in the New Year Honours list: Rod Cousens, Paul and Oliver Collyer and my predecessor, Paul Jackson. Congratulations to them all for the well-deserved recognition for their outstanding contribution to our industry.

Modern Warfare 2 tops Amazon’s best seller list for 2009, the highest selling product ever in any one year, while the only music entry is SuBo coming in at Number 10. What better proof do we need that the games industry has come of age? Through the Apple iPhone, gaming on a mobile device became a much simpler experience, and players responded in record numbers.

I’m sure this is all just the beginning.

I have enjoyed MCV’s Review of the Decade as it bought back so many happy memories and showed just how far we have all come in what is really a comparatively short space of time.

So what lies ahead? It is clear that things are changing rapidly and that the world of video games is being transformed at a record pace. Boxed products have been joined by online games and digital downloads, and the experience is no longer merely about playing games but is experiential, social, networked and much more about a shared experience with others than just playing solo.

These new ways of offering gaming to the ever-broadening consumer demographic, via new platforms and hardware, allows new businesses to enter the market. The challenge for us, the trade association, is to see how we need to adapt and develop to the changing marketplace and ensure that we respond accordingly.

We have already demonstrated that we can achieve positive results for the industry when it unites with us in a campaign. We want to make 2010 the year when we identify the next challenges to tackle and, once again, have the industry join with us for a common cause.

These will doubtless fall into the following broad categories: the business and trading environment, skills and education, IP protection, regulatory standards and corporate social responsibility and, of course, events and networking.

We are excited about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. To tackle them effectively means we need to have the right structure and resources in place to attract the broad range and growing number of businesses operating in our industry. We will continue to monitor and adapt our business as the demands of the industry dictate in a measured and planned way so that we are ready.

As you make your business plans for this New Year I hope you will think about how being part of ELSPA can support your business, and if you are not already a member, please do give me a call.

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