If you’ve read the about page for Play Till Doomsday, you know that the approach we’ve taken to address the culture of digital games is all-encompassing. This project aims to bring together the different perspectives of all the individuals, communities, institutions and companies that weave together the fabric of digital games culture.
Obviously, some of the different parts that make up that culture don’t always see eye to eye. This is no more apparent than in the relationship between the businesses who aim to make profit from selling games and those who aim to approach games as something more than just consumer goods, as creative expressions or objects of cultural significance. One of the mandates of the PTD project is to reach out to all sides and get them to share perspectives with each other and foster understanding about how the economic and creative aims of any cultural industry are often intertwined, even if at odds.
At the recent Interactive Exchange 2010 (IN|10) conference in Toronto, I spoke with Jesse Divnich about how the financial side of the digital games industry conceives of games as cultural artifacts, how its analysts may fit into a wider culture of gaming and what impact Canadian consumers have in the games marketplace.
Divnich is the vice president of analyst services for Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR), a games industry research and market analysis company based in San Diego, California. Before joining EEDAR, Divnich worked as an independent consultant and analyst for various clients with financial stakes in the interactive media industry. By most accounts (if his multiple appearances on and references in Bloomberg, CNN Money, Wall Street Journal, Industry Gamers and Gamasutra are to be indicators of clout) he’s good at what he does.
Along with good friend Don Tam, Editor-in-chief of GameNorth, I recently chatted with Kevin Ping Chang, production executive at Misher Films, currently developing a Shadow of the Colossus movie for Sony Pictures Entertainment. We spoke to Kevin last week at the Interactive Exchange 2010 conference in Toronto, shortly after he was part of a panel called ‘Concept to Screen‘ which dealt with exploiting digital game IPs across multiple media forms. Here Kevin discusses the challenges of attending to fan expectations when adapting a beloved game as a movie, Misher Films’ relationship with Team Ico and its creative leader Fumito Ueda, and whether or not Ico or The Last Guardian could get the same filmic treatment as Colossus.
It should be noted that the HD re-release of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus for Sony’s PlayStation 3, hinted at in the interview, was confirmed in Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu just a day after we spoke with Kevin.
Can video games make you cry?
That was the question being asked at an Interactive Exchange 2010 panel I attended on Monday. Admittedly, the conversation was made somewhat awkward, as panelist Mathew Kumar pointed out, by being an exploration of games as emotionally engaging objects, but also an exploration of how the games industry can exploit such engagements with those objects. What is required for the industry to tap into potential consumers looking for emotionally stimulating experiences? Are producers ignoring the female audience by not pushing themselves to find ways to engage the audience emotionally?