At his keynote address at the 2006 London Games Summit, Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios [Europe] Vice President Michael Denny outlined Sony's belief that the future of game publishing is, more than ever, in the hands of the consumer.
The speech focused mainly on online issues, such as digital distribution, stating that broadband usage has majorly penetrated the computer market, and that its growth shows no sign of slowing.
"It is becoming unlikely that any new computers purchased will not be used standalone, without the internet," said Denny. "This is how we feel about the PlayStation 3."
Denny's speech argued that a major change in how developers and publishers make games will be driven by consumers. "They have more choices, want better things, and have louder voices," he said, giving the example that within one month of iPod Video launching, it served over 1 million videos, and that within two months of the European PSP launch, over 700,000 files were downloaded from yourpsp.com.
Denny reminded his audience of industry professionals of the standard "80/20 rule" of entertainment products, which states that 20% of products account for 80% of sales and, typically, 100% of profits. He followed this up with a newer rule, the "98 percent rule."
A digital jukebox company called eCast, he said, reported that in 2004, out of the ten thousand tracks it offered on its digital download service, only two percent were never played. Those 9,800-plus tracks were, of course, not composed entirely of hit songs. This, he says, is tangible proof of an emerging niche market, which is finally - collaboratively anyway - competing with the major hit market...