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Consumer experience can give digital distribution edge

And Sidhe boss believes price parity, particularly in Europe, is important

Sidhe MD and co-founder Mario Wynands has told GamesIndustry.biz that while more companies are turning towards digital distribution as a more cost-effective and profitable way of releasing products, his company's experience of dealing with consumers directly will give them an edge.

Talking the build-up to this year's GC Asia, taking place next week in Singapore, he explained that the switch to an online market place was something he and his colleagues predicted several years ago, and something which they've since been building up to.

"We treat the digitally distributed stuff that we do in the same way that we treat our retail products, where we're given the latitude by publishers to do PR and marketing, and really go out there, talk about the game and engage with consumers," he explained.

"Obviously the more people that are doing that, the more noise there is, but we think we are reasonably well positioned, because we have tried to take the lead where we can, tried to be involved. We're the ones that have written and sent out the press releases, that have built the websites, that have managed the communities and forums - and I've offered to do that for free for our publisher because I recognise that while there's a cost to doing that, there's an inherent value in capturing those communities and going through the process of being seen, pushing our brand, and being associated with those products.

"So we have a little experience, we know the process, we have the media contacts, reputable PR people and we have the infrastructure, capability and community there. I think we're taking the right approach, but it's hard to say, because we do continue to see people flood the iPhone space, we see people moving into the console download space - both diversifying from traditional console development and also as new studios starting up - so it's going to get more crowded."

And he added that looking at the market on a global basis was important for the New Zealand-based developer, particularly when it comes to resisting the temptation to "price gouge" consumers in Europe.

"We're looking at what's happened in digital distribution, and it's perfect for us," he said. "It's the epitome of what we're trying to do, because we're tucked away in a corner of the world which is very hard to get to - it represents this great opportunity where it doesn't matter where someone is in the world, and where we are in relation to them.

"We can access that consumer, and that's an approach we've taken for the release of out latest game, Shatter, where we have price parity all over the world. It's priced pretty much the same everywhere, and we haven't taken the approach that a lot of companies have where you price it one way in the US, then price gouge in Europe because you can, because Europe's always been getting price gouged.

"We've taken the approach that it's a global marketplace, there's price parity, we recognise there are different demographics that make up the market, but there's local content appropriately. But let's treat the consumer base idea as, essentially, one big market. Digital distribution for us in that sense is really one of the big solutions to the problem that we started out with."

The full interview with Mario Wynands is available on GamesIndustry.biz now.

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