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A Casual Rebirth: The Remaking Of Majesco
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A Casual Rebirth: The Remaking Of Majesco

August 10, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 4 Next

So, talking about your demographic, how do you determine it? Do you do a lot of focus testing? Do you test products against the market?

GK: We do everything. Obviously, we're a small company, and we don't have the kind of market to produce such engines that an Activision or EA has, but we certainly rely on everything from focus groups and surveys, to the gut creative capabilities to be successful against demographics, to our own internal sensitivities that we've been building up in those genres.

What I would say is no amount of research makes up for building the company that has a DNA that's sensitive to the audience it's going after. Yet no company that's going after an audience should be without research. I think, again, that it comes back to focus. Our hope has been to build an internal sensitivity towards the audiences that we're going after and working with developers who get that same thing.

There's this indescribable creative element that you feel when you're there when you know you're working with people who really understand what they're going after. Take A Boy and his Blob for example -- beautiful game.

It's something that started out as an internal feeling that there was an open place in the market for an adventure game against the tween demographic and that our A Boy and His Blob IP was something that could work there. WayForward took this and came back with a design that blew everything we hoped for, in our opinion, out of the water.

Even without the initial focus groups, even without necessarily the surveys per se to drive it, there was a sense that this is a product that could work. This is something that makes sense for that audience. Here's something creative that really resonates.

And yes, the use of market research helps define where we're going with that, how we're going to promote it, how we may market it, but really, we rely on a full palette of capabilities both in terms of quantitative and qualitative and internal and artistic direction.

A Boy and His Blob

A Boy and His Blob is an interesting one because, to some extent, a high-res 2D title is somewhat risky. And also it's interesting for me to hear you say that you're targeting the tween demographic, because the people who know about the franchise are my age  -- it potentially has risk to it. [Ed. note: the original A Boy and His Blob was released on the NES in 1989.]

GK: From our perspective, economically, it doesn't have any more risk necessarily than any other project that we put out. And I would say that in some ways, for us, it has less risk than some of the things we do, in that we really do believe that there is a product targeting that audience with a game like Blob.

And we also recognize that our primary focus in terms of positioning it is against that casual gamer who's interested in a more narrative experience than they're going to get out of the next collection of sports mini-games. But it's got the additive advantage for a certain group of people that there's this nostalgia value of A Boy and his Blob. So, you've got a handicap in a sense in that it might hit two audiences instead of one.

And then when you factor how well the creative is coming along, you start to really feel better and better about it. I would say that in many ways, the risk is the risk that Mama has, which is: who is expecting that a cooking game is going to work? Well, who's expecting necessarily that a platformer of this sort if going to work against the tween demographic? In our view, it's the right product at the right time.

Tweens and teens used to play platforming games...

GK: Yeah, back in the day.

It's not at all inconceivable; it's just not what people are playing right now.

GK: No. Well, you can kind of understand why. What has attracted this new generation of gamers to console as opposed to PC and Flash games has been the innovation to the controls. And games like Wii Sports, like Wii Sports Resort, which is going to absolutely be a blockbuster no doubt, that take advantage of a kind of gameplay dynamic that's a new experience.

And I think that our view is that that's wonderful, and we still make Mama, we still make Go Play stuff, we're still doing things that absolutely go after that genre of gameplay, against that demographic in novel and innovative ways, but we also believe that entertainment is an emotional experience, and that narrative forms work. And that's why the platformers of our generation worked. And we think that there's an audience there.

How important is Nintendo's success to the success of Majesco?

GK: Well, I would say that Nintendo's success thus far has been very important to us. I think that the success of the DS and Wii absolutely built the audience that we have since taken advantage of in terms of sales. We are 100 percent confident that Nintendo is going to see strong growth on all of its platforms. And we're excited about a lot of the innovations that they're working on.

But for us, right now, the determinator of our success is less about a single platform or a single first-party and more about the audience. You know, there's a great install base on Nintendo, there's an interesting and growing install base on the other consoles, there's an interesting audience of mass-market consumers out there who now relate video games with their every day entertainment experience. And for us, it has more to do with keeping them interested in playing video games and less to do with a specific first-party.

Article Start Previous Page 3 of 4 Next

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