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TimeGate: "Companies 100% focused on retail are in for a rude awakening"

By Alec Meer

Mon 08 Nov 2010 4:47pm GMT / 11:47am EST / 8:47am PST

Digital distribution will reach critical mass - and retail-only data isn't representative of industry's health

The online distribution critical mass is coming, claims TimeGate Studios boss Adel Chaveleh.

"It's just a matter of time," the CEO of the Section 8, Kohan and FEAR expansions developer told in an interview published today.

"I think anybody would bet money on that. The momentum of online is only going to pick up, there's so many reasons for it to go that way."

On the many doom and gloom stories that have dogged the games industry of late, he echoed recent sentiments by the likes of the NPD group that retail figures were not painting the complete picture.

"I think somebody would be a fool to just look exclusively at that data to see how the interactive industry is doing. With social and mobile and everything else that's blowing up now, you can't look at just that sliver."

When asked as to whether publishers in general seemed ready for that shift, he claimed that "I think a lot of people are... It's on everybody's radar. But it probably was in the music industry too.

"So I can't say for sure what their internal strategies are, I can only see from a consumer's perspective where their focuses are, and it's clearly still at retail."

Referring to the rise of Netflix against the decline of traditional movie rental chains, he felt that "companies that are 100 per cent focused on retail right now are in for a rude awakening in the near future."

Chaveleh also perceived a trend in publishers' attitudes towards their titles. "It's a cyclical thing, where the big publishers say 'oh we're going to do nothing but internal development' and there's a big new IP push.

"Then a couple of big flops happen there, so they say they're getting out of internal development, shutting down studios, and then that yields the next round of start-up companies, because there are all these people who got laid off.

"Then they're making new IPs, there's a couple of big hits so everyone's into that again."

For the full interview with Adel Chaveleh, in which he discusses why TimeGate has moved into self-publishing, the importance of making games the studio wants to make rather than to keep the lights on, and the risks of both independence and publishing partnerships, please click here.

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Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,289 126 0.1
He's right of course; retail is still needed for a massive hit like Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed, but publishers also need one foot in the digital field to take advantage of its ever-growing importance. I expect that next gen we'll see console games launching online at the same time as (if not slightly before) launching in the shops - including triple-A titles.

In terms of infrastructure and logistics however, I think we're some way from download-only home consoles - even in countries that have better Broadband coverage than the UK.

Posted:5 years ago


James Park Sr SW Engineer, Autodesk

6 1 0.2
"In terms of infrastructure and logistics however, I think we're some way from download-only home consoles - even in countries that have better Broadband coverage than the UK."

I think there are things that can be done to make it more viable though. For example, if you can pre-download games (as you can via Steam) and then de-crypt them once they are "released" downloading becomes far more viable for people with slower connections.

Posted:5 years ago


Peter Law Freelance Game Designer and Unity Developer, Enigma 23

44 3 0.1
And as long as the pricing is fair! And not over priced!

Posted:5 years ago

The question is no longer if digital distribution is important or not. That's so 2007. More interesting is which business model will be the most successful: download to own, streaming or something else entirely.

Posted:5 years ago


Britton Taylor Quality Assurance Tester, TimeGate Studios

12 0 0.0
Adel's definitely a cool guy... Very wise about the industry.

Posted:5 years ago


Curt Schilling Chairman/Founder, 38 Studios

3 0 0.0
I could not agree more. The state of this industry is, in my opinion, so very different than folks perception. The tools to stop pirating and resale are sitting right there, right in front of our faces.
This feels to me like the most dynamic and fluid place in our business world right now, the amount of change that COULD happen in the next 24-36 months could be world changing.
Just seems to me if companies wanted to work together for the benefit of EVERYONE, most importantly the guests we serve, we could, and should.
We could create a space where gamers had instant access to our products in minute one of day one, without some exorbitant collectors edition fee, and without a 4 hour download, and without an 8 hour stand in line process.
My only concern is that people see and play our games, at least once. If they don't play it again that's our fault right?

Posted:5 years ago


Dwayne Mason Director of Business Development, Massive Black, Inc.

1 0 0.0
The continued shift to multiple purchasing avenues (and specifically those which help to decrease the bite taken out of the industry by pirating and, more importantly, disc rental and re-sale) will absolutely buoy this industry in the near future.

That combined with the continuing shift to a 'production' model for development - as opposed to the traditional 'huge team expansion/huge team contraction' model - will make for a much healthier and a far more stable industry going forward.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dwayne Mason on 9th November 2010 9:13pm

Posted:5 years ago


J. Goldmaker Community Management

26 0 0.0
Whats the time limit these days for a software product on a retailers most prominent shelf? 30 hours before it's in the back of the store?

Posted:5 years ago


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