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IP can 'put future in your hands' - Livingstone

Eidos life president believes original content builds "real value" into a company

Creating original content and owning your own IP is something that can build "real value" into your company, whereas your position is "really weakened" when the focus is mainly on work-for-hire or licensed products.

That's according to Eidos life president Ian Livingstone, in the closing keynote of this year's GC Asia conference taking place in Singpore, as he took the audience through his life in games - starting with the formation of Games Workshop and the Warhammer and Fighting Fantasy brands.

"That's another lesson we learned in life, which I carried forward into Eidos," he explained, referencing the decision not to merge with Gary Gygax and Dungeons & Dragons in the early years of Games Workshop and strike out with their own ideas and invent new IP. "If you create original content, you own intellectual property, you really determine your own destiny. Real value is built into a company when you own IP.

"If you become a work-for-hire studio, or you're taking licenses, you're position is really weakened."

Livingstone also had some advice for aspiring game developers in a time where complexity seems to be fashionable, noting that "progress is all about simplification, not complication.

"Developers don't often see how difficult they make games - because they're so close to games they don't often realise the complexity and barriers they're putting up to the enjoyment of the experience.

"All Fighting Fantasy was, was taking role-playing and turning it into a single-player, multi-choice adventure."

And the session, which included an overview of the life and evolution of the Lara Croft character and Tomb Raider franchise, ended with a few tips from Livingstone on getting on in the industry.

"If you don't believe it, don't do it," he said. "If it's a job of work, don't do it. The best games are made by the people who are driven by the hobby themselves. You've no business being in the games industry if you don't like games.

"If you're just a process person and you don't care about them, you're going to make a don't-care-about-it game, and nobody will want it. Employ the best people, the people who are motivated and driven by the passion rather than the reward - because the reward will come along anyway if you're successful.

"And treat people well - then everything will be great," he added.

This year's GC Asia included the inaugural DICE Summit Asia, and featured speakers including NanaOn-Sha's Masaya Matsuura, Sony's Yasuhide Kobayashi, Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor and many more.

Additional coverage of the main sessions and interviews can be found on the GamesIndustry.biz GC Asia event page.

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