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Variety is key to economic success, says Kingsley

Rebellion CTO Chris Kingsley believes that replay potential and range of titles is helping games over other media

Rebellion CTO Chris Kingsley has told GamesIndustry.biz he believes that the sheer variety of videogames titles, combined with the potential to play for longer and in multiple ways, has been crucial in helping the industry to buck the general economic slowdown - as well as outperform other types of media and entertainment.

"It's an interesting thought," he said. "I suppose the way to think of it is that every consumer has a certain amount of money they can spend on things, and we're competing for their entertainment dollars.

"But I guess it depends on how people feel, because watching TV or a movie is quite a different experience - playing games is really quite unique in terms of levels of involvement. Movies are great, but after two hours they come to an end. With games you can play them again, and have a different experience.

"Maybe you play it on easy to start with, then medium, then hard. Or with some MMOs you play once as a magician, because you already tried it last time with a barbarian - so the great thing with games is they offer a lot of variety, and people see that.

"Plus of course there's a range - so if people are constrained for money at the moment, there are a lot of titles out there that aren't that old, but are at a very good price," he added.

Kingsley, who was talking in advance of next week's GDC Paris event - for which he is a member of the advisory board - also explained his belief that online distribution would help to further increase the stickiness of certain older titles, as shelf space in shops is at a premium.

"I think as we see more and more digital download options that will help the industry further, because it will give games a longer tail," he said. "I think one of the problems that the industry has faced until now is that if your game is on the shelf, great - but there are an awful lot of other games coming, and it will gradually get sideways.

"But then I suppose you'll get another problem - how much screen space do you get [for downloads]? I think part of the problem for some people is that they're looking for certain things, and if those things aren't on the shelf, you just can't buy it. Maybe those people won't mind taking a bit longer to browse electronically, because it's certainly a lot quicker to look online than it is to go find somewhere to park and go to the local games shop."

Rebellion was recently named as one of the top independent developers in the world, with success coming from titles such as The Simpsons Game and Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron.

GamesIndustry.biz will have more from GDC Paris during and after the event, which is taking place from June 23-24. Part one of the interview with Chris Kingsley is available now.