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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 June 2005, 08:16 GMT 09:16 UK
Game makers face up to the future
The big names in the UK games business are in London for a two-day summit organised by the industry's trade body, the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association. Its director general, Roger Bennett, outlines the challenges facing game makers.

Elspa director Roger Bennett
Bennett: Rising costs are an issue for small developers
The summit comes at a particularly interesting time, as convergence with other forms of electronic media is providing huge opportunities for games.

Convergence does not just mean different electronic access opportunities for consumers but also the development of innovative ideas and content, through cooperation and joint ventures with traditional media such as film and TV.

With the new consoles due later this year and next year, we are looking at how the ways in which games will be played, the ways the consumer can access games and the opportunities for new types of games.

But games are increasingly becoming expensive to develop and market. Risk aversion rules the day because of the cost involved in making games. UK game developers have to adjust to a new era of commercial realities.

Publishers have to look at maximising their intellectual property they own and exploiting it to the fullest. It is a difficult time for some, but the consumer is benefiting from the huge leap in technology and in the style of games.

There are innovative new products that are seeing the light of day. They are less numerous than they were, and that is always a concern.

Expanding gaming

With the advent of new platforms, there is an argument that that is when the innovation kicks in. That is the excitement for the future.

Male gamers at E3 in Los Angeles
Games need to extend their appeal beyond just men
So it is not just about new games, but about new types of games. New genres are the Holy Grail for the new platforms.

But the risks of creating something completely new from nothing has to be reduced, otherwise it will be a constant regurgitation of sequel or branded products.

The industry has been remarkably successful in creating a market place for compelling immersive content.

The challenge now is to create new markets, creating new genres and new content that appeal to a wide audience.

In particular the gender gap needs to be filled. It needs more female involvement in the development process.

If the games industry is to be successful, it has to be creative in providing innovative content that can be transferred to other media.

The Elspa International Games Summit is being held in London on 21 and 22 June

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