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Quantic Dream

On the health of the industry, the developer/publisher relationship and why games are rated like porn movies

As the chairman of the EGDF (European Games Developer Federation) and a founder of Quantic Dream, Guillaume de Fondaumiere has a great perspective on both sides of our industry, both business and creative.

Catching up with him at Gamescom, GamesIndustry.biz took the opportunity to ask about his perspective on the current economic climate, the issue of UK tax breaks and the influence of technology on his work, as well as his continuing work on getting ratings parity with film and television.

GamesIndustry.bizThe work you do with the EGDF must have given you a good perspective on the health of the European industry - what sort of state is it in?
Guillaume de Fondaumiere

What I've seen since two, three years is a real shift in the industry from a development standpoint. In most countries, you know the EGDF is the federation of the national organisations representing developers, and we see in all the territories, in the UK, in France, in Germany, the Nordic countries, the arrival of a new generation of game developers who are more in the online space, more in the mobile space who are de facto at the same time who are partly developer and partly publisher and partly distributor, and that is very interesting. And I think that when I look at the industry today I really see this shift happening, and I would say the industry is very healthy in a sense.

Those traditional developers who have survived, I wouldn't say all of them are fit, but are experienced, and I'm putting Quantic Dream in that pack, we're certainly more experienced, more mature, we went through several cycles, we start to understand what we're doing to a certain degree, and so we've reached this stage of maturity that I think can be a great foundation for the years to come, for the industry as a whole.

The industry is evolving and in five or ten years time there will probably be two or three times as many people working in this industry as is the case today.

And I see this new breed of developer, guys who are 20 years old, and I see myself 20 years ago when I started and I think that's a very good sign. It shows also that some doomsayers, always predicting the end of this industry, no! I think the industry is evolving, and it's very good, and I think that in five or ten years time there will probably be two or three times as many people working in this industry as is the case today. So I'm relatively optimistic.

GamesIndustry.bizMartin Seo of NHN was telling me that in Korea the recession has lead to consolidation and acquisition rather than fragmentation. Is that a healthier result?
Guillaume de Fondaumiere

You know it's... fusions and acquisitions, I think the statistics of how that works is not very positive usually. There is a lot of value that is being destroyed through mergers, and I think it's always the danger when you put smaller studios together to form big studios to lose a lot of value, a lot of creativity.

On the other hand of course, having larger corporations that leverage risk and can scale operations has also it's positive points, so I think it's difficult to answer this question with yes or no. To a certain degree what happened in the nineties, in the year 2000, 2010, in Europe, is I think quite healthy. A number of studios have grown to a certain size, and reached critical mass I think, and I think that's the first stage. Maybe we're at the verge of the next stage, where companies that have reached this size, have gained experience, can come together to form bigger corporations.

I think that might be necessary simply from a financial stand point, because game development necessitates a lot of funds. Especially today when you see more and more developers start to develop, self-fund development and publish games, and they will need a lot of money to do that. There will probably be the necessity for some of them to come together, to form larger corporations, do IPOs and to be able to scale up financially to reach the critical mass they'll need to have to be able to run their operations independently.

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