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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 4 of 4

Considering your audience how much do download titles on platforms like DSi, WiiWare, PSP Go, actually really crossover into the demographic that you seek?

GK: Well, certainly, with each new iteration -- take DSi for example, I think everyone has been appreciative of how fast they've been growing. I think they announced a million units sold in the first three months. And we believe a significant portion of them is from a broader demographic than the core gamers that genuinely or initially usually hallmark the launch of a new console platform, or a new handheld platform.

So we continue to think that as the audience broadens and matures, more and more of the audience that we're going after is going to become a higher percentage of the audience on new platforms.

We also think that with each new platform, there's an opportunity for a fun game experience that fits our design ethic so there's a crossover -- you know, like Mama crossed over multiple demographics -- in design for us that remains us interested in watching and trying to be innovative with each new platform.

The reason I asked is primarily because it strikes me, that while you say there's some evidence to the contrary perhaps on DSi, it seems that that demographic may be less technological savvy and less able to make that leap.

GK: Yeah. And I would say that particularly with digital download, you're finding that there's a sharp drop-off in the participation -- particularly on console download that requires some kind of WiFi connection -- by demographic.

But at the same time, it would seem that the statistics of downloading Netflix videos on Xbox are pretty broad. And there's a reason to believe that maybe it's not the primary consumer in the household that sets up the WiFi, but that there is sort of a watershed sharing of that technology among all the consumers that might participate on it.

And then the other thing I would suggest is that again looking at Mama, while our focus is primarily on these casual gaming demographics, core gamers will play casual games.

They play a lot of them, in fact. To the degree that we're designing products that have crossover that might go onto these platforms as well as other platforms that allow for that casual game experience, even against a demographic that might not be a primary demographic for us, that is an important place for us to focus and be.

Perhaps because you're posting positive numbers, but Majesco is in an interesting space now.

GK: Yeah, it definitely is. You know, and only growing more so. It really is. If you look at what EA is doing with its Active line right now -- which arguably is doing Nintendo's job in terms of even trying to drive further the breadth of the demographics that are looking for some kind of console experience.

I really think that we are going to continue to enjoy an evolution not just of hardware audiences, but also software expectations, as these people come to platforms and begin to experience and contemplate new experiences for them. I think we are at a very early stage, despite the rapidity of the growth. We're at a very early stage of seeing what the overall impact is going to be of all of these new voices in our industry.

Do you foresee Majesco ever purchasing a developer?

GK: Potentially. I mean, we take nothing off of the table. I think for us, at the end of the day, it's about economics. We have functioned principally as a publisher with third-party development facilities, and that has worked very well for us and continues to maintain the large majority of what it is we do. I think that with the right combination with a developer whose cost structure made sense, attached to products that fit our long-term strategic direction, it's definitely a possibility. I can't say that we're actively pursuing it, though.

Do you think that Majesco would ever want to return to the more hardcore demographic? Is there a time when that would make sense? To me, the hardcore demographic doesn't seem to be the one that's growing.

GK: You know, at this point and time, I can't foresee that. The entertainment industry is often rapidly changing, and who knows? If the right experience were put in front of us with the right economic structure, we probably would take a good hard look at it, but it would have to be overwhelming -- because for us, we think that the opportunity within the kinds of games that we're producing is barely tapped, and that if we put 100 percent of our effort in focusing on being successful there, we have the opportunity to grow 1000 percent.

I think that for us, it's certainly not in the near-term. It would have to really be one of those situations where there's an opportunity as a publisher that makes a lot of sense economically and strategically. I can say that the core of our business, as I say, the DNA of our business, is very much focused on remaining in this casual space.

[Majesco published user-generated content centric Wii shooter] Blast Works felt to me like kind of dabbling in that arena.

GK: Yeah. Blast Works is an interesting product. It was commissioned before we made the change in strategy.

I was wondering about that, actually.

GK: It was commissioned before we made the change in strategy, and it was given significantly more time because we were very interested in the user-generated content model. So, as you probably recall, a big feature within the Blast Works game was the super-customizability.

I mean, if you listened to Nintendo's E3 presentation, in essence, for a number of games, they were touting what Blast Works did first on the Wii, which was offer the ability to ultimately customize any gameplay experience -- levels, bullets, enemies, you know, bosses. It was an experience that once it was already started, even though the target demographic wasn't strategically the one we were after, the exercise of understanding what it would take to pull it off was very important to us.

We were very happy with Blast Works from that perspective. We were one of the first partners with Nintendo to get the authorization to upload content to an external website for the trading and grading of this user-generated content. I think that overall, it brought lessons that we definitely intend to use, going down the pipeline. But, yeah, it definitely isn't part of what's now considered our market.

I was happy to see it because I've been following the original developer of the game Blast Works was based on, Kenta Cho, since 1999.

GK: For the audience that's after it, that understands that game, in my opinion, it's a phenomenal game. I really think it wasn't rated nearly worth the quality that was put in there, particularly if you really understand the genre and want that kind of personalization capability. But for us as a company, by the time we had gotten that far down the pipe, the big thing for us was understanding the mechanisms of the user-generated content.

Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

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