Getting to know the Dutch games market

Getting to know the Dutch games market

By Irina Voblaia

December 1st 2009 at 5:47PM

The first in a series of blog posts from Festival of Gamesâ?? Irina Voblaia

Dutch Game market has been growing rapidly through the course of the last three years. Let us look at the numbers. PWC annually presents a brilliant sector-specific report. It also covers Video Games industry.

The video game market in the Netherlands rose by 21,1 percent in 2008. The growth was driven by the increase in console games and continuing appeal of the Wii.

The growth dynamics of the Dutch game market is projected to maintain. Thus, PWC predicts that the total Video Game Market will expand to €682 million in 2010, compared with the current value of €641 million.

The Dutch Government is encouraging the development of the video game industry, and has funded courses at 10 colleges with programs dedicated to game development. Despite its size, the Netherlands has a relatively vibrant video game industry. Almost three quarters of the population play games.

Why do people play at all? What drives them to play? What are the driving factors to account for in the development of a new game?

Irrespective of the platform, people play for reasons. It has not changed that much from the past years, I believe. Today you will find your friends at social network web-sties and forums. People create profiles, groups, chats and network with each other.

But what are they looking for? Again, it could be either a feeling that you are close and connected with the people, it could be just for sharing your pictures and inviting new friends. Many people play for entertainment, some people play for free, some looking for stimulation and competition.

Above all prevails the reason: Explore the new world. And this world is definitely worth of exploration. If we limit it to the numbers, 20 from 25 applications in Social networks are games with the monthly revenue of €60 million.
An example of such network could be Spil Games.

Spil Games stated that people play while they have feeling being connected with each other within their network. They share with their network and they are actually stimulated by the network.

Let us mention Netlog. They have started as a community website. Currently they are boasting to have 4,000,000 unique visitors. What is Netlog about? It’s about an online community, meeting new people, making friends, sharing and playing games, global ranks and levels tournaments.

I am now wondering, what is the difference between Social Networks and Communities? They may appear to be quite similar. Although, there is a major difference. Social network is the broad term, which refers to the network of contacts you may invite to join you. Communities are the people who primarily enter into the network according to the similar interests.

Where do you find communities? Is that the Spil Games portal that may form a community? How many millions per day come to play to the www.spilgames.nl? Web-site info states that there are 100 million unique visitors per month counted. Spil Games' slogan is: If you have the game – make it social.

People come to share the achievements, socialize and have fun. Competitiveness is spurred by such sites. Thus, you return again and again.

Let us explore the way games are developed. The industry roles in general split as below:

-    Developer makes a game
-    Publisher makes profit
-    Distributor gets a retailer
-    Retailer assures cash
-    Gamer is a consumer.

How to secure development costs. The financing resources could be:

-    Company financing;
-    Publisher financing
-    Project financing.

What the developer does is obvious. What does the publisher? He may well fund the development if he finds the game attractive. Also, he can agree to do the marketing. The publisher's role is to deliver successful titles. Therefore, one should find out if the publisher has a successful portfolio of delivering the tiles to a distributor.

Concerning the mobile market, publishers are reluctant to invest in the development process. It is worth mentioning, they are still may do marketing for the existing title if they find it attractive. Although, the market model is slightly different:

Developer – Publisher – Aggregator – Telecom operator.

Here the new notion appears:

An aggregator is a mobile telecoms company that acts as an intermediary between companies (i.e. content and brand owners) that want to interact with end users (through their mobile phones) and the mobile operators.

Basically, the question is still the same: How would you earn with a mobile title?

You may opt for various opportunities, e.g.:

-    Telecom company – publisher of your title
-    Submit to iPhone
-    Direct distribution

Signing with AppStore while communicating directly with the consumer – is your key for success. Communicating with the targeted audience is crucial, as you deliver the entertainment, which is already demanded.

The success of the each game on the web-portal depends on the many factors. User is spoiled nowadays being suggested to choose from as many as 200 apps a day. How could one not sunk in this amount? What will distinguish the game? The games are subscription to a service.

Thus, online games, are an online service you subscribes to. Experience which you get online is counted. If a developer starts with the goal to produce product/experience for a consumer, the game will be successful.