Lighting The Ignition: Jumping From Niche to Triple-A?
July 13, 2009 Page 3 of 5
Right now, in terms of where Ignition's at, at least in North America, I see the peers of the company being companies like Atlus and XSEED -- in that range. But I get the impression that the aspirations are larger. Can you talk about that sort of motivation?
SB: Right now we are definitely competing for some of the same types of games that those two publishers are, just because their philosophies are in line with us. You know: action RPGs, Japanese-style games. But I think when you see, a year from now, the kind of games we're announcing, it's not on the level of those publishers. It's something they could never do.
RS: I think we've run past the aspiration part, because we wouldn't be at the aspiration stage if we were going to release what we are supposed to be releasing in 2010, you know? So I think we're about already a year and a half past the aspiration, from that perspective.
AC: And you can see that. I don't think they're making the type of IP or content that we're making. We are jumping to triple-A status.
RS: Yeah. It is the triple-A status, and a repertoire of not one, but more than one game. That's going to arouse the curiosity from that point. The combination of the passion of the team, the different geographies, and UTV coming together, is really the USP.
When it comes to geography, you're based in the UK, North America, and India.
RS: And Japan.
And you have some Japanese operations too.
RS: And east and west. I mean, the publishing office is here [in LA], but we've got something interesting in Florida, too.
So it seems to me that there's a lot of different potential... both opportunities, but also different strategies may be required. Do you have a global vision, or are there targets?
RS: Actually it's not a different strategy: the geographies have been driven by the talent pool, and the passion, and the geography of people came in with the original IPs and the creative team. So the strategy is the same in each of the studios, in all contexts.
SB: But I do think Ignition, in the last few years, is in the transition from being primarily a European publisher to seeing the U.S. as the lead market. I think that's across the board. Europe's still important, but the bleeding edge is here in the US.
It was founded originally in the UK. [Addressing Ajay] By you and your brother.
AC: That's correct, yeah. Originally me and Vijay. And I was shipped off to America.
I hope it's not too painful.
RS: The jury's still out. So.
SB: I think he's becoming an American. It's just a matter of time.
AC: I think we've realized how much of a key market this is; this is why I came over here. With the type of passion that drove the European team, I came out here to drive that same type of passion -- and you can tell by the team we've got.
You've got someone like Shane Bettenhausen coming across to Ignition, which is not well known. He's a big scoop for us. He's seen our vision, and I think that was probably one of the key things for him to say, "You know, I'm going to come over." To the dark side, people say, right?
SB: "The dark side", yeah, they call it.
Your old cohorts?
SB: Well, yeah. To make the transition from editorial to publisher side, it's... Normally you don't go back.
AC: He had 7,000 Twitter followers. Since he's moved to publishing, it's gone down to about four.
SB: No comment.
I don't know how much your strategy revolves around releasing games in India, but Sony has been marketing the PlayStation 2 and it has some indigenous development for original IPs for that market. Is that something that you're interested in too?
RS: I can't say we're not interested, because that's a base for us, but actually this is not an India play at all. If we had a first and foremost market, it's North America. Second would be Japan. Third would be Europe. India would be way past. It still has a ways to go there.
Is that Japan in terms of publishing, too?
RS: That's Japan in terms of publishing. As Ajay just said, North America is our deep focus.
AC: We've got three key territories to concentrate on. U.S. is probably the strongest at the moment; Japan is second; Europe is third. So, I think that's enough for us to handle.
SB: And the Japanese market is a unique situation, different than the either two. That's one that requires very careful calculation, to try to make a success with an enthusiast-based game in Japan.
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