Digital Distribution Summit Wrap-up
October 17, 2009
BMW Edge at Federation Square, Melbourne, was the setting for the Digital Distribution Summit held on September 22nd 2009. Presented by Film Victoria, and featuring a lineup that included some of the leading names in the games industry, the DDS was a one-day conference that aimed to present invaluable market insight, networking, and discussion in regards to Digital Distribution and it’s effects on not only developers, but publishers and retailers as well.
Digitial Distribution Summit at BMW Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne VIC
The Summit launched with Sandra Sdraulig, CEO of Film Victoria, opening the summit as well as announcing a new initiative aimed to help provide financial support for independent developers looking to released IP’s through the use of Digitial Distribution. Platforms such as Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA), PlayStation Network (PSN), WiiWare, Steam, and the iPhone Apps Store; all of which would be mentioned throughout the day’s proceedings.
“We want this Summit to further accelerate Victoria’s position as the production hub of world-class digital content in Australia.” Sdraulig said during the opening of the DDS, “and it is events like this summit that reflect the world class nature of the local sector.”
It’s expected the games industry in Australia would grow by 49% by 2013, and to support this Film Victoria announced the ‘Downloadable Games Initiative’ which will result in $500,000 invested into local game development over the next 12 months.
DDS Keynote Speaker, David Edery
The first and evidently Keynote speaker for the day was David Edery, Manager and Principal of Fuzbi, an independent consulting firm that is focused on the business and design of digitally distributed games. Edery also spoke from his experience as up until recently fulfilling the role as Worldwide Portfolio Manager for XBLA. Speaking on Downloadable Content (DLC) for Consoles, XBLA currently is the largest market, then the PSN, and finally WiiWare. He mentioned how the console DLC dashboard effects impulse buying, and how the possibility of getting an IP greenlit for a particular platform is inverse to how much of the market the platform holds. The result being that it’s harder to get games greenlit for release on XBLA as it is on WiiWare. Currently statistics show that only around 18% of Xbox Live Gold users download content off XBLA and while 10% of PSN users download content, showing the market for DLC on consoles isn’t as large as what would be ideal. However with the announcement that Battlefield 1943 sold 1 Million units on XBLA and PSN, the possibilities are still there.
“By the next [console generation] you can expect digital distribution to be a substantial percentage if not the vast majority of sales, depending on what the console makers do.”, Edery said during his presentation.
Edery proceeded to explain how to get an IP greenlit, with a case study from the XBLA title ‘Splosion Man.
Simon Carless, Chairman of the Independent Games Festival
After the break was Simon Carless, Chairman of the Independent Games Festival as well as the publisher of Game Developer magazine and Gamasutra.com, and he presented a look into realistic revenue projections for downloadable games. His presentation outlined estimated unit sales in regards to what DLC platform a given IP was on, suggesting that within the current generation consoles that XBLA would see slightly higher units moved than PSN, and significantly higher than WiiWare. However a good IP could see a lot more units sold through platforms such as the iPhone Apps store, but by doing so the price would be significantly less than on a console. With analysis that shows a difference from only 3,000 units sold to 500,000 units sold; Carless’s talk definitely provided insight into the current DLC market.
Rob Murray, CEO of Firemint
To kick off the afternoon was the highly anticipated Rob Murray, CEO of Firemint and developer of the world’s most popular iPhone application, Flight Control. Speaking from his experience in marketing both Flight Control and Real Racing, Murray spoke on how to market a self-distributed game including social media marketing such as Facebook and Twitter. With 1.5 Million Units sold for $0.99, Flight Control saw the incredible sales, and an increase during updates to the game.