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GCDC: Developers must focus on original IP - Roper

Flagship Studios boss Bill Roper has declared that developers should focus on producing original but "exploitable" intellectual property to boost revenues and increase the value of their companies.

Flagship Studios boss Bill Roper has declared that developers should focus on producing original but "exploitable" intellectual property to boost revenues and increase the value of their companies.

In a speech delivered at the Leipzig GCDC, Roper observed that "IP is probably the most valuable asset a company can create", adding: "Building and growing your IP is really the dream of most developers. However, and for good reason, this means an awful lot of work, and it's something that is also fairly rare."

But according to Roper, creating original IP can have huge benefits for developers. "Selling off your company doesn't have to be the end goal... But having a solid, marketable, I'll even say exploitable IP is a wonderfully freeing thing," he stated.

Roper suggested that the development industry should follow the example of Hollywood, and look for ways to earn additional revenues from their IP by offering the license for TV shows, films and novelisations.

"IP is something that should be able to stand on its own and be utilised in a number of mediums," he argued.

"Developers of film, television, books, music, comics - any number of ancillary properties - are hungry for well thought-out intellectual properties... And they're casting a broader net to find them, because they've run out of ideas.

"Anybody who had to sit through the hour and fifteen minute fiasco that was the Dukes of Hazzard films knows that - there's absolutely nothing out there. They desperately need something to latch on to."

Roper was previously VP of Blizzard North and a director of Blizzard Entertainment before co-founding Flagship in 2003. The company's first project is Hellgate: London, which has so far been announced for PC only - but perhaps unsurprisingly, Flagship has big plans for the franchise.

"In expanding your empire, there are a few different areas you can go. Obviously, there's other games - you've got additional platforms. If you're building the game on PC, you can think about how it's going to potentially apply to console games, or cellular, or arcade," Roper said.

"Those are things we think about all the time with the Hellgate IP."

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Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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