A Casual Rebirth: The Remaking Of Majesco
August 10, 2009 Page 2 of 4
You're not trying to expand into too many areas.
GK: No, no. If you look at our portfolio the past three years, we've had a couple RPGs in there. And they didn't light the world on fire, and they didn't lose us money, but where we've really had the defining success is when we stuck close to our guns. Even if you take out the outliers, like [Cooking] Mama is a huge outlier obviously, as is a product like Jillian [Michaels' Fitness Ultimatum 2009].
But if you look at things like Wild Earth, then Wonderworld [Amusement Park], products like that -- Cake Mania, for example -- that fit our audience and sold comparatively well for what they were in terms of competitive space, it's really been our day-to-day determination to really fill those gaps.
I was wondering what the balance is between those large titles that have to hit and really sustain you, and then those titles where you're actually hoping to break even.
GK: [laughs] There's no title where I'm hoping to break even. You know, for us, profitability is a requisite. We don't green light a title unless we're reasonably comfortable that it will do better than just break even.
Before video games, I was working on comic books. I ran Marvel Publishing for several years, and I think we try to apply that same sort of publishing portfolio mentality here as we had there, in terms of provide a broad catalog of product that's well-designed for our audience, that really is a reasonable investment, and make sure that they come out on time and at a quality level anticipated. And then where you start placing your bets is where you double down.
For example, we're launching our Go Play line. Even better, we launched the Gardening Mama SKU, which was the first expansion of the Mama franchise, and there are just some times where you've either got a collection of products or an individual product where you're just so confident to create it, that what you're going to say is, "Okay, I'm going to increase my investment to build awareness, to build excitement, to add additional depth of development, because we are so confident and so encouraged by its opportunity to be more than just."
So for us, it's not a question of the need to have a hit, it's a question of where are our best handicaps, for us to see an opportunity to break out of the model.
What's been impressive to me -- this may sound initially rather rude -- is the way that Majesco has been able to keep momentum post-Cooking Mama and not ride it exclusively.
Cooking Mama: World Kitchen
At least externally, you can look at pre- and post-Cooking Mama Majesco and see a big difference in terms of what people think of the company's success and chances.
GK: Well, I don't think that's rude at all. I definitely appreciate that. It has been our goal from the breakout of Cooking Mama to make sure that Majesco itself isn't seen as a single-franchise company. And that's not just because we want people to believe in our value.
That's because we believe that the audiences that we're after are still vastly underserved in the marketplace and we want to make sure we are doing everything we can internally and externally -- so that people are bringing us ideas, that we're generating ideas, that we're working with developers who are interested at designing products that will go after the demographics that we're interested. We're looking for [titles that target] tweens playing together; that play on moms who are rapidly playing video games on their own; to attract families who now play video games together the way they used to watch TV.
So, I think internally we would take that as a compliment. What we would say is that "We are continually trying to challenge ourselves to identify where is the opportunity against those customers that we're trying to get the attention of."
Plus you don't own [Cooking Mama developer] Cooking Mama, Ltd. You can't rely on one thing forever.
GK: No, and I would say even more than that, you know, I have every reason to believe, and I am extremely happy with the longevity of the Cooking Mama franchise. I think internally we have the hopes and the expectations that it will be a franchise that will live decades-long in various incarnations.
And we have a wonderful relationship with [Cooking Mama, Ltd. and its staff], but I think we're also very realistic about the world of publishing. You know, products come and go, even the most popular ones. We believe that in order for us to be competitive, regardless of our relationship with Cooking Mama, Ltd., in order for us to be competitive, we have to constantly be on the search for what's the next thing.
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