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From God To Cock: Mike Wilson On GameCock's Publishing Party
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From God To Cock: Mike Wilson On GameCock's Publishing Party

August 29, 2007 Article Start Previous Page 7 of 7

I spoke again with Mike Wilson after Gamecock funeral procession, who had just come back from the ER, and walked all the way from Santa Monica to Venice, Calif. in a hospital gown. Two days after the initial interview, we discussed EA's remarks about Gamecock's sustainability, and the relationship with retailers.

Where'd you steal this hospital gown?

MW: I didn't steal it, in fact I'm pretty sure I paid for it.

And you went to the ER last night?

MW: Yeah, the ER at St. John's medical center. I think I got some E3 on me and I've been very sick for the last couple of days. I had to be rushed to the hospital last night after shaking in my bed for hours for the second day in a row.

That's terrible.

MW: Yeah, it's terrible, but they fixed me. I would never have thought not to wear pants, had they not given me a hospital gown.

Do you really think E3 is over [after this year]?

MW: Oh yeah. I mean... are you going [again]? (laughs)


gamecock E3 funeral

Game Developer/Gamasutra's Brandon Sheffield at the funeral procession for E3.

I talked to Frank Gibeau at EA about your model, and he said he didn't think you could sustain a game publishing business with 8 people, unless you released just 1-2 games per year.

MW: Well, I don't intend to stay 8 people.

How big will you go?

MW: As I mentioned the other day, 20 to 25. We released 25 games with GodGames with 12 people. Those were PC games though.

But I assume you guys were stressed.

MW: Yeah, but I keep trying to think of reasons to hire new people [now], and I can't think of any. We seem to be managing just fine.

You've got 10 development studios you're working with, right?

MW: Yeah, 10 developers, 10 games. 16 or so if you count all the platforms. But those are over the next three years.

EA was particularly mentioning your ability to talk to retailers.

MW: Well, they're all here! We're actually already direct with GameStop, and they're 40% of the market.

I'm not surprised by that, but I think the larger publishers are, a bit.

MW: Well they want to put out this vibe that the channels are closed, and they control them. It's just not true. There are 6 retailers out there that control 90% of the business, and they want more publishers! They don't want EA and Activision to be so powerful.

They said the same thing about God Games, that we were a bunch of developers, and nobody would give us distribution -- and we had people give us free endcaps for our first game, they were so excited to meet people that were actually passionate, and they rolled out the red carpet for us, and they've done that again for us now. GameStop called us before we had our money.

There's a dozen distributors you can go through, you just have to have the money to buy the shelfspace, just like the big guys. That's where most of the indie publishers fall short. They might be able to sign a game or two, but they don't have the money to do the big marketing.

But this time you have the funds.

MW: Yeah, well last time we were under-funded. We knew we shouldn't do it again unless we could really do it. Before all of our money came from Take-Two, and this was before they were listed on the NASDAQ, and they were always late paying us, and so we were always late paying out people, and it made it impossible to sustain. Our only funding source was so cash-poor. Luckily after they bought us they released Grand Theft Auto III, so our meaningless Take-Two stock was actually worth quite a bit!

Did you sell it?

MW: Oh hell, yeah.

Is that how you survived from God Games to Gamecock?

MW: Yeah, we've actually made a lot of money day-trading these game publishers because there are pretty predictable patterns. In fact, your good buddy at EA has made me some pretty good coin this year by going to their all-time low.

Article Start Previous Page 7 of 7

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