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Southpeak's 7Sixty

The VPs of Southpeak's digital spin-off discuss how to make a mark in an increasingly aggressive market

Splintering out of Southpeak, new Texas-based publisher 7Sixty will focus on the firm's digital portfolio. Already announced for the new label is upcoming strategy sequel Stronghold 3 for PC, but 7Sixty plans to release titles for download on all the major platforms.

Here, GamesIndustry.biz chats to the new publisher's VP of publishing Leslie House and VP for interactive entertainment Jeff Hutchinson about why Southpeak created it, who's calling the shots, what being a publisher in the digital age means and how developers are taking to the new label.

GamesIndustry.bizWhy start a new publisher now?
Jeff Hutchinson

Really, the point is that the industry is changing quite a bit. We've seen that with the growth of the digital side of the business. The packaged goods, retail market is still very strong, but we see this other section of the business that really has opportunities. In order to take advantage of these opportunities we really felt that we had to create its own label and its own team to support this digital business. As you know, a lot of the modelling is a little bit different - from the monetisation to how you market, you know your PR aspect, even development and the types of games, with freemium games and other types. So the thought was we developed this team that really brings in the resources needed to focus on the digital side. 7sixty will have various types of games, but they're all going to have some kind of digital aspect to them.

GamesIndustry.bizAnd you'll go across all platforms you can, not be a PC-specific firm?
Leslie House

Right. One of the great things about having a digital strategy along with the retail boxed products is that we can develop a longer life on these products, and they can have a closer relationship with the consumers at the end of the day. We can learn more about the people playing them and develop games that are closer to what the consumers are looking for in terms of gameplay and their daily lives. One thing that's happening is gameplay's becoming part of lifestyle and that's the thing that is driving us. We want to be part of that lifestyle, wherever people are playing.

Gameplay's becoming part of lifestyle and that's the thing that is driving us. We want to be part of that lifestyle, wherever people are playing

Leslie House, 7Sixty
GamesIndustry.bizWhat is the nature of the relationship to Southpeak? Are you an entirely separate company in both practical and financial regards?
Jeff Hutchinson

At this point, Southpeak really made the initial investment in 7sixty, and that is getting us off the ground. We are going to be using Southpeak for distribution as needed for any retail boxes - i.e. A PC game that has a retail aspect as well as the digital aspect. So we will be pretty much an affiliate label that will roll up under the Southpeak umbrella. That's the initial thought. But the plan is they basically gave us the initial investment to get started, but we are now pretty much responsible for our own internal P&L, so what we come out with will be used to help capitalise additional products etcetera. So we're under the umbrella, but we're treating it internally as pretty much a standalone label.

GamesIndustry.bizSo you have freedom of movement? They're not going to turn up and say 'no, that's a crazy idea, you can't do that one?'
Jeff Hutchinson

There will be discussions, but they're giving us leeway to really explore which projects make sense. As with any project, you're going to run your own P&L and see what the cash flow is, and what the return on investments is going to be. So there will be discussions, but for the most part with Leslie and her expertise and my own they're giving us some leeway to really greenlight some of the projects.

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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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