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iDVD will broaden videogame market, says Tomb Raider boss

Dominic Wheatley, ex-CEO of Eidos, has told GamesIndustry.biz that the burgeoning iDVD market compares to the videogame sector 20 years ago, and will help publishers reach new audiences as it grows.

The growing market for interactive DVD games can help videogame publishers and developers reach new, casual gaming audiences, says industry veteran Dominic Wheatley.

Wheatley, who co-founded Domark before taking it on to the stock exchange as Eidos, believes the iDVD market is comparable to the games industry twenty years ago, where an influx of companies lead to a boom or bust market.

"It seems to me like the 1984 videogames market all over again," said Wheatley.

"To start with you can sell anything, and then a huge amount of competition comes in and a lot of people bow out. But those strong enough to remain standing can actually begin to build a nice business in this category."

For Wheatley, who's company Bright Things has just released Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Action Adventure on iDVD, the attractions of the market to publishers and consumers are obvious.

"Publisher have told us they're interested in iDVD games because they are non-threatening and accessible and players can win easily."

"Through this they can get hooked on a character like Lara Croft, and maybe upgrade to a console or PC version. iDVD games could be a great ambassador to the videogame industry by getting game IP into the hands of people who don't usually buy videogames," detailed Wheatley.

With the market growing from around 30 titles last Christmas to over 200 games on shelves this season, Wheatley believes savvy publishers should see iDVD as an opportunity to expand IP into a complimentary business model.

"It doesn't compete with a pure console game, what it does is broaden the market. It's very much like the budget sector, where publishers can look at it as extra income. Let someone else do the work and take a piece of the profit — what's not to like?"

Bright Things, which also counts Eidos exec Ian Livingstone as a chairman, believe that it's unique in bringing an action game to market, and compares its attitude of enticing new consumers to games as similar to that of Nintendo.

"What we're trying to do is pioneering and the response so far has been very positive," commented Wheatley. "It'll be very interesting to see if it catches on this year or whether the education of consumers takes longer than that - next year we'll have to double our efforts with a line of new products."

"Nintendo is making a huge amount of noise about widening the market and bringing games to a new audience. The approach of a very easy control method is to dismantle the complexity attached to videogames, and we're part of that movement but in a different direction," he added.

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