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MI6: Marketers Should Ration Their Assets, Says THQ's Bilson

MI6: Marketers Should Ration Their Assets, Says THQ's Bilson

April 7, 2011 | By Colin Campbell

Offering a characteristically strident message, THQ's EVP of core games Danny Bilson today told game marketers to quit "worrying about the game-o-meter" and worry more about the "guy with dollars in his wallet on game launch day."

Speaking at the MI6 conference today, he said, "I can never understand why games publishers insist on dropping tons of assets week after week, so much that people become sick of the game before it's even released. For us, it's about bombs and not bullets. We want to make less frequent asset drops.

"I remember seeing a sign on an office wall saying something like, 'if you aren't releasing assets you're dropping off the game-o-meter,' you know, those metrics that the websites release."

"Who cares? It's not important that people are talking about your game three months before it launches," he said. "It's important that they are talking about your game on the day it comes out."

"With Homefront, people were worried because we weren't registering in December. But in January, we were hitting all the pre-order targets, because that's when we started the marketing," said Bilson.

Bilson talked about how he had come from the TV business into games because, "I'm a huge, sick, ridiculous gamer." He was appointed at THQ to sort out the company's troubled development studio system, but is now also running its marketing department.

"When I walked into THQ, development and marketing were like Germany and England in WWII. There was so much mistrust, hate, manipulation and lying," he said. "I could not understand how the company could function like that. It was literally one group upstairs and another downstairs."

"But marketing and development are the same," said Bilson. "They are both creative endeavors. Marketing helps us to understand where we want to go with a game. The position of the game is both about development and marketing. It's the same thing."

He said marketers should stop relying on development for assets. As an example, he showed the powerful live action short movie [YouTube] for Homefront which featured an American citizen turned suicide bomber. "I don't want developers being taken away from making games because they are creating assets. At the same time, I want marketing people being creative, bold, imaginative and creating their own assets."

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