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Supermassive: Guildford is a UK dev 'hotbed'

Move/F2P studio's online publishing director unconvinced by 'doom and gloom' reports

Supermassive Games' online publishing director Geraint Bungay has praised the development scene in Guildford as a home of industry innovation.

While the closure of UK development houses such as Real Time Worlds and Ignition have lately cast a shadow over the British games industry, Bungay felt Guildford bucked that trend.

"Because I've been out of the industry for a while I was relatively surprised what a hotbed Guildford is," he told GamesIndustry.biz.

"I'm looking out of the office window right now and I can see EA and Media Molecule's offices just from here. And we've got the Joe Danger guys, a fantastic new studio, here too.

Guildford is also home to the likes of Lionhead and Criterion, with Bungay referring to recruitment between the area's various studios as being "very incestuous."

"The great thing is, with all these people around, they're going to come up with new and innovative games, and there's always the opportunity to go and do other things."

Of the industry's health in general, he felt recent reports had perhaps been unduly negative. "I also think the doom and gloom stuff, I'm not sure how much of it is just basically a general effect of what's going on in the economy.

"When you read stories like Kinect has sold out, Sony Move is going great guns, the kind of figures we're looking at for FIFA and PES, who knows what's going to happen with Medal of Honor...

"Obviously there are issues, there are definitely issues around business models, and I think there's a need for all developers and all publishers to take very seriously now the online distribution model."

Supermassive's output to date has been two launch titles for Sony Move, but earlier this month it launched microtransaction-fuelled casual football title Big Match Striker.

While Bungay and his team are still experimenting with the client-based game's business model, he revealed that there was substantial interest in English football-based titles from emerging markets.

"An interesting one was for just a four hour period we decided to see what would happen if we put the Google ads live in China. The response from the adverts and the click-throughs was quite phenomenal.

"Unfortunately it wasn't followed up with registrations, or not as many as we'd have liked, but what it did show is that if we can tightly target in certain regions in China, we could get a very large take-up very quickly."

The full interview with Geraint Bungay is available here.

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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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