Sumo: Don't forget the value of £40

Developers need to ensure games are better than nights in the pub, playing football and having sex
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Developers need to ensure games are better than nights in the pub, playing football and having sex

A former Bizarre Creations developer has warned that the games industry has a nasty habit of forgetting how important £40 can be to consumers.

Speaking at Develop earlier this week, Gareth Wilson said that launching games in the market today is tougher than ever because of all the other entertainment products and activities that they have to compete with.

Wilson was previously design manager at Bizarre Creations, and now works as chief games designer at Sheffield-based studio Sumo Digital.

"As we're in the industry and games are our life, we sometimes forget how important £40 is to someone," he said.

"£40 could get the shopping for a week. It could pay for petrol for work. It's two tickets to a gig. It's a couple of nights down the pub. It's going to the cinema three times in the week.

"What economists call this is product substitution. We're not just competing with other games. And we're always thinking, oh, no, we don't want to come out when Split/Second comes out, oh, we don't want to come out when Red Dead Redemption comes out.

"We're competing with all other forms of entertainment. We're competing with TV, cinema, with Facebook. We're competing with going to the park to play football. We're competing with having sex with your girlfriend. We are competing with all of these things."

He went on to explain that the only way developers can compete is to make sure they create experiences that gamers consider to be better than other activities.

"When someone is going to spend £40 on a game, they need to be pretty sure it's better than going to the pub for two nights," Wilson continued. "That's what you're up against. It's pretty tough."

Sumo Digital is the developer behind the free episodic download series Doctor Who: The Adventure Games, which returns this October.


Sumo Digital team.jpg

Who is Sumo Digital?

The Sheffield-based developer has produced triple-A titles in some world-renowned franchises, but still feels like it is “the UK’s best-kept secret”. We find out more about the studio’s rise from ‘port-plusses’ to its new blockbuster titles