June 28, 2022
Guides to the Games Industry: Interview with Christopher Dring from GamesIndustry.biz
Games business outlets: They are our guides to the business but barely guided to. Well, not anymore! In a short article series, we will be your guide to the real guides of the games industry, portraying some of the major B2B outlets that are essential readings in the industry. First up, GamesIndustry.biz and Christopher Dring, Head of Games B2B.
They shine light on the games industry, yet rarely stand in the spotlight. We’re talking about games business outlets, of course. We'll be portraying some major international B2B outlets that are essential readings in order to learn about and connect with the games industry. As part of these portraits, we’ve spoken with journalists and asked them what developers and newcomers should keep in mind when pitching stories or trying to establish themselves within the industry.
So, without any further ado, let’s begin with one of the most important outlets in gaming:
GamesIndustry.biz is the world’s leading business publication about the global video games industry, covering a wide variety of relevant topics via daily news, professional interviews and analyses. Alongside its popular website, the publication also provides a comprehensive guide to all events that span the industry and acts as one of the largest recruitment databases for video games-related roles. This year, the outlet celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Christopher Dring is Head of Games B2B at GamesIndustry.biz. The 15-year games business journalist and media leader began his career at MCV in the UK, where he held the position of editor for five years. In 2016, Chris joined GamesIndustry.biz to lead the veteran games business website, and since then developed numerous new projects and events – including the Best Places To Work Awards, GI 100, The Academy, and GI Live. Chris has also been published frequently in The Guardian, Video Games Chronicle, and Doctor Who Magazine. We spoke with Chris about the past, present and future of the industry and how aspiring game developers and indies are covered over at GamesIndustry.biz.
1.) What makes GamesIndustry.biz an essential read for games industry professionals all around the world?
“GamesIndustry.biz is completely independent in a way few trade sites are. Our news is unbiased, our opinions balanced, our market data extensive (we are the exclusive providers of European market data), and our journalist team has a combined 75 years of experience writing about the business of games. We’re really, very good. You should sign up to our newsletter. It’s all you’ll ever need.”
2.) What are your editorial choices based on? What does a good story need to have? What do you think your readers appreciate the most?
“GamesIndustry.biz wants interesting stories about goings on in games. It wants to hear advice and guidance on how to be successful. How to make better games, more inclusive games, more accessible games. How to reach audiences. How to work with influencers. In terms of news, we do run stories about new start-ups, investments, major hires, CSR initiatives and more… but it isn’t a promotional vehicle. We don’t write editorial articles about a company hiring, for instance.”
3.) What would you recommend indie developers without much experience in PR to get your attention? What has to be in the subject of an email in order to stand out?
“We cover indies a lot. In fact, more than we do AAA. But we are not a games media outlet. We’re not interested in how cool your game is, or how many guns it has. We want to talk about what you’re doing differently, or what you’ve learned, or how you’re looking to change the games business through the titles you’re creating. We just want to tell the interesting stories about your game or studio, so that we can inspire and inform others.”
4.) What do you consider no-goes? What types of inquiries are you tired of looking at?
“We’re not interested in NFTs. We are not a consumer outlet, so we won’t do a review of your game. We won’t write a story about the jobs you’ve got going (that’s what our advertising is all about).”
5.) From your point of view, what are currently the most important trends? What innovations are here to stay? And what hype will nobody talk about in five years from now?
“Subscriptions will continue to grow and grow and become a key ‘fourth’ business model alongside premium games, microtransactions and advertising. However, don’t expect it to be quite as dominant in games as it has been in music and TV – games are quite a different type of entertainment. Things like VR and streaming will continue to grow gradually as the technology improves.
“As for the thing nobody will talk about in five years? NFTs. Some of the ideas that have come out of exploring NFTs in games may well remain, but the blockchain-based digital item concept will fall away as mass consumers question what it is they’re really paying for.”
6.) The next big buzzword in the industry is “metaverse”: What do you as an editor make of this topic and how companies and players are reacting to it?
“Metaverse feels like a word invented to convince investors to open their wallets. But the idea of games becoming digital social spaces with multiple things to do… well that’s a trend that has been happening for years, and I fully expect to see this continue to develop. Can a developer just build a metaverse from the start? Or do they need to build a game that has the potential to become a metaverse? I feel the latter is more likely to happen than the former.”
7.) What has changed the most since you started out in the games industry?
“The games industry of 2022 is vastly changed compared to 2007, when games were almost entirely bought and sold in boxes, and with hundreds of significant games vying for shelf space every week. This was before smartphones, so casual and family games on console – Wii, DS, Guitar Hero, SingStar and the like – were big business. PlayStation was in third place in many countries behind Wii and Xbox 360. Nobody had heard of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare or Assassin’s Creed or BioShock.
There’s no denying the massive impact digital distribution has had on games. The rise of indies, the transition to service-based models, fewer but bigger AAA games… it has radically changed how people play games, sell games and the types of games that are available.”
8.) What does the future hold for GamesIndustry.biz? What goals do you have in mind for the coming years?
“GamesIndustry.biz celebrates its 20th birthday this year, and we have a brand new website and logo to reveal. Our partners at PAX means we will be doing even more shows in the US, and we’re looking to improve our popular newsletters further. Our Best Places To Work Awards returns to the US, UK and Canada, and with physical events, too. Plus, we have a very special GI Academy Magazine that has just launched, filled with advice for people looking to get into video games.”
Do you want games journalists to cover your indie game? Check out this piece by GamesIndustry.biz on how to work with journalists and catch their attention, including helpful Dos and Don'ts.