Wal-Mart's effect on gaming (The Escapist)

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by Allen Varney, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. Allen Varney

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2004
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not sure if this is the right forum, nor even the right audience -- but I know some indies here used to work for large game companies, so I'll take a shot.

    For an upcoming issue of The Escapist (http://www.escapistmagazine.com) about the business of computer and videogames, I'm writing an article on Wal-Mart's effect on game content and packaging. I'd like to hear from, and quote from, anyone who can comment on this from first-hand personal experience.

    You can answer at any length, as short or as long as you like, either in this topic or by e-mail (allenvarney at gmail dot com), either on or off the record. I'd need your responses by this Saturday, March 25th; if that's a problem, let me know and I'll try to accommodate.

    If you're okay with this, here are my questions:

    1. Has Wal-Mart, in particular, had any specific effect on the content of any game you have worked on, such as encouraging or discouraging certain kinds of games or subject matter?

    2. More broadly, what do you think is the nature of Wal-Mart's effect in the game industry, if any?
     
  2. Tom Gilleland

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
    360
    Likes Received:
    0
    We've created a few casino games that were successfully sold in Walmart. They have so many stores and do such huge volume that the publishers and distributors work very hard to keep them happy. Walmart also has very sophisticated data mining tools (NCR systems) that enable them to be very smart about product sales and customer analysis. They also have a very complicated situation in terms of public image, so they avoid controversial products. So basically Walmart is working from a very strong position that enables them to dictate the content of their software product line. Walmart tells the distributor/publishers what they want, and the distributor/publisher goes and finds it, or has a developer make it. As long as there are alternate channels for other titles to be distributed, then I see no problem with Walmart limiting their product line. They certainly know what their customers want, or they wouldn't have been so successful.

    Tom
     
  3. Yarlen

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    0
    We've been working with WalMart to sell Galactic Civilizations II and it's gone pretty smoothly. They've made no demands or requests of us as you asked in question 1. The only thing they stressed was that CD-ROM was highly preferred over a DVD-ROM game.

    Before the recent EB Games / Gamestop merger, I believe WalMart was the #1 reseller of PC games (they may still be). I'm not sure that WalMart is really having much of an impact on the PC side of the industry in terms of content. There are still plenty of M-rated titles available and I don't see that changing in the future because of WalMart, though it was also stressed that anything over an E 10+ rating would hurt your chances at WalMart.
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer