Skip to main content

Eidos' Ian Livingstone

The GameHorizon host looks back on a successful event, and pinpoints some key learnings from the conference

Eidos life president Ian Livingstone was once again the host of the GameHorizon conference this year, and shortly before the end of the event caught up with him to find out his thoughts on how it had gone, and what he thought the main learning points had been. The industry's suffering from the economy somewhat - the plight of the Midway studio here in Newcastle is a case in point - but actually the people here at GameHorizon seem pretty positive. Why is that, do you think?
Ian Livingstone

Well, you've got some really good speakers here, the likes of Dave Jones, and so on. These are people that are well-respected who are outlining their visions of the future, and you've got a focused group of attendees who want to find out about the economic aspects of the industry - where that's going, how distribution channels are improving, consuming... it's a real crystal ball for the future, and from that point of view it's been very well received. What do you feel people will take away most from the event?
Ian Livingstone

The focus here has been on online - a lot of people don't understand where that's going, as a creator of content or a consumer of content. How people will be playing games in the future has been discussed, and I think people will get more of a handle on that.

Take BigPoint as an example - they've come from nowhere, and expecting USD 100 million in revenues next year. A lot of the UK industry doesn't see that, it's much more about the console games - they forget about free-to-play games on portals, or the success of Jagex and Miniclip... they are Great British success stories that are the new businesses coming out of the problems happening within the console market. We in the media don't seem to reflect those stories quite as well as the more core console stuff?
Ian Livingstone

There's loads of excitement to be had in the UK - it's not all doom and gloom. The fact that traditional development has been in decline for a number of years, and traditional studios have gone out of business... it doesn't mean to say it's all over for games. There are new consumers, and new ways of consuming content on different platforms. Different ways of paying for and playing games.

There's that - they're learning that there's more to it than they think. Also, the networking opportunities here are fantastic, and there's a real sense of belief that there's a great future ahead for the industry. You've been in the industry for a long time now - what keeps you most excited about working in games, to strive for in the future?
Ian Livingstone

I think it's the ability to reach consumers directly. Games publishers and developers have always laboured to make a game, spent huge amounts of money, and when it's on the shelves it's: "Phew, that's that. Now what?"

Whereas online companies take a different view - getting it to market is just the first stage of engaging with the consumer, and they get a much clearer idea of what consumers actually want.

We rely on focus testing, market research, marketing departments, because we don't really connect - we're more of a B2B business. Whereas these new companies are more B2C, and their knowledge of what the customer actually wants is a lot greater than traditional companies have had in the past.

Connecting directly is something I have an interest in - I used to write my own books, and that's connecting with consumers, and it's nice to get closer to them. You can miss, quite easily otherwise. You think you're making a product for a target group that exists, and they don't... and you can lose a lot of money in a hurry.

So for me, seeing how these companies are doing it is very important.

Related topics