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Castle urges triple-A games to embrace digital distribution

Westwood co-founder and CEO on InstantAction Louis Castle gave the opening keynote at the Evolve track for this year's Develop Conference in Brighton, urging creators of triple-A games to embrace the disruptive technologies of online digital distribution.

Known to to be very vocal of the sale of used games at bricks and mortar retailers, Castle argued that online distribution is very much the future, and will provide many opportunities to reach wider audiences as digital technology becomes more and more simple for users

Like BioWare's Greg Zeschuk, Castle pointed to David Perry's Gaikai streaming service as a potential game-changer, suggesting that current digital distribution is very similar to the retail experience – users must learn about a product, go to another site or store to buy, wait to get back home or install a game and only then begin to sample it.

Castle wants to see that process reversed, with players discovering games via their social networks, sampling and sharing with others and then paying to own it.

Entertainment media is conditioning users to find their games, music and movies where ever they are on the web, with embedding technology doing away with specific portals, said Castle, as other users filter content for us.

Admitting that users would ideally like their entertainment for free, he said consumers are always willing to pay for a good product . The disruptive networks – Facebook, Playdom and other social spaces – will be the future of the industry, noted Castle, adding that it's not the game makers that are creating these new opportunities, but the web designers

Publishers need to use these networks to reach new consumers, said Castle. "We need to get premium games out to the masses. The stick doesn't work, you can't beat your customers into submission."

He warned that "more and more customers will bleed away into what we call casual games" if publishers don't master online distribution, as bricks and mortar continues to decline.

"We're heading for disaster, if we're not already there, in the retail space."

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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