INplay 2010 Recap
INplay is a kids media event with a loose focus on interactive products. Since most of our cash flow still comes from work-for-hire, I attended the show in order to meet potential partners.
Here are my notes from the 2-day event:
- Somewhat surprisingly, TV representatives were fairly lukewarm about funding game development based on their IP’s. My guess is that this was mainly due to a somewhat recent tendency to foster in-house studios, and the fact that everyone is still waiting to see where the chips fall from the Telefilm/CMF transition.
- Shaw has joined Bell, OMDC and the CMF with a small TV media fund, and individual TV producers (i.e., people who create custom teams to pitch for show concepts) were much more optimistic about the future. We received a few tentative proposals based on these funds, but they were obviously contingent on first getting the actual funding.
- Pretty much everyone I talked to had worked with Flash-based web games at some point, but was interested in exploring other platforms. The iPhone was still seen as mostly a marketing tool, not a revenue generating one, but Unity was making some headways. Most people knew what it was, and many were interested in trying it out or were in the early stages of actually using it to create content.Interestingly enough, the major hurdle for Unity didn’t seem to be the need for a downloadable plugin, but rather the fact that it would splinter an existing site’s portfolio, i.e., if all the games on the website were in Flash, broadcasters were hesitant to add other formats to the mix.
- We received some interest from broadcasters outside of North America, but it was all for smaller scale projects (under 50k).
- The US broadcasters and toy manufacturers still hold the biggest IP’s and are currently the only solid option for large, branding-based games.
- Funding for Flash games seems to have decreased on a global scale. Projects that used to cost 50k are now being pitched with 15k budgets in mind.
- There’s still a decent amount of buzz about alternate — or enhanced — reality games, but the interested parties seemed very naive about their scope and technical potential.
- The most solid contract leads we received actually came from other developers who were either looking for outsourcing help or offered to pass on some work they declined.
- Everyone loved the iPad, but no one seemed to have a realistic plan of how to use it to actually make money.
All in all the conference was great for networking, but, at least on a local scale, we’re all going to have to wait and see what happens with the CMF before we get a better idea of the funding opportunities out there.