Shane Kim’s crystal ball: videogame deals, new content

December 3, 2008

Microsoft’s videogame chief Shane Kim came by our New York office this morning for the Reuters Media Summit and shared his thoughts on XBox 360 sales (“cautiously optimistic”) and the outlook for the gaming industry amid the economic doom-and-gloom (“Who knows, maybe flat performance will be considered a remarkable achievement”).

He also gazed into his crystal ball and served up some insights on the trends shaping the gaming business.

Consolidation is going to continue, he thinks, especially among the smaller videogame publishers as they search for hit games while keeping costs in check.

“There are a number of mid-tier publishers behind the Electronic Arts and Ubisofts and Activisions of the world who are struggling.”

Another exciting trend for Kim is the return to videogame content developed by small creative teams, which he thinks could reduce the industry’s dependence on sequels of hit games.

“That would be a good thing… because one of the challenges the industry has had, in my opinion, over the last five to 10 years is a growing reliance on sequels and licensed properties as opposed to those new creative hits. If we can find those nuggets that start smaller and can grow into big hits, that’s a great thing.”

He did wonder how smaller creative shops could find funding for their pitches, given that dollars could be hard to come by these days. But at the same time, it’s an opportunity for bigger publishers, he said, since nothing rocks the gaming world like a hit game.

(Photo: Reuters)

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