Magazine article Screen International

Zurich Summit: Film Needs Long-Term Approach to Gaming

Magazine article Screen International

Zurich Summit: Film Needs Long-Term Approach to Gaming

Article excerpt

That was the message from Hendrik Lesser, MD of Munich-based Remote Control Productions and President of the European Games Developer Federation, speaking at the gaming keynote session at the Zurich Summit.

One of the best case studies of that approach has been at Warner Bros, he said. The company founded its Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment division way back in 1993.

"Warner is one prime example of how to invest long term in games. They took it seriously and still do," he said.

That meant starting with licensing and working across various formats as they came in and out of vogue (CD-ROMs, for examples), and then moving into "buying smaller studios around the world who had made good games."

Now, games represent 22% of Warner Bros revenue. Its 2011 release Batman: Arkham City has sold 10.5 million copies and Batman: Arkham Knight, released this summer, has also proved a hot seller.

More than licensing

Games developers in 2015 are no longer waiting for film studios to call. "We are not necessarily waiting for film IP anymore, it's not how it usually works anymore, especially in the regional market in Germany," he said.

Even if there are licensing deals, there need to be discussions "very early on" not as an afterthought to a film production.

European governments showing more willingness to support the gaming industry could be a boon for film partners too.

"There is a growing sum of subsidies being handed out to gaming industries across Europe. It started six or seven years ago, France was the forerunner, now it's speeding up. In Bavaria alone, there is euro600,000 per year for game concepts and early treatments."

With support like that, and the booming audiences for games, it's becoming a cool career choice for young creatives. "Talent is one of the key elements for all of us.

Universities are starting to introduce game courses, interest is growing and growing...There is more and more talent going to games instead of film and TV."

He advised the film executives at Zurich Summit to be open to working with the gaming world in strategic ways. "It only makes sense if it's eye to eye and everybody is trusting each other, it's about long-term collaboration."

The numbers

The gaming world's numbers are impressive, of course - gaming global revenue will hit $91. …

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