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Schell: Licenses set to explode in social gaming

Established IP could account for 50 per cent of revenues in booming digital sectors, says Schell Games boss

Licensed content is set to flood the social games market and could account for 50 per cent of revenues in the sector, according to Jesse Schell, CEO of The Mummy Online developer Schell Games.

Schell, former creative director at Disney where he managed Toontown Online, is working with Bigpoint for its licensed title. The German publisher, which boasts 150 million users, is also overseeing a game based on sci-fi show Battlestar Galactica.

"I've had a lot of experience doing licensed content with Disney, and I really believe that licensed content is one of the things we're really going to see an explosion of with social gaming," said Schell in an interview published today.

"That's how it always goes with videogames, " he added. "They always start out with no licensed IP, then some people start to float with it - and then usually licensed IP becomes about 50 per cent of any game platform, in terms of where the money comes from. I think there's a lot of room for that with social games.

"It is nice - you have a ready-made world, and you can look at it and ask, 'How can we really capture the essence of this world? How can we take this and make it even better?' That can be a lot of fun."

Schell also had some advice for developers looking at new market opportunities in the digital sector, suggesting that the format a game is released on is just as important as the actual game.

"It's some combination of quality and novelty that really drives sales on a given platform, and if you've got some idea that got something that will work really well on a particular platform, that's what you should focus on," he said.

"I often tell people that if they've not sure what platform they should be on, then their idea might not be strong enough - because a lot of things that really succeed have a lot to do with the platform.

"Look at something like Angry Birds, which is a huge hit on the iPhone. If you try to do that on the Wii or XBLA I don't think you'd have nearly the same success - because so much of it is that it's a nice touch-based game."

The full interview with Jesse Schell can be read here.

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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.