Following on from Part One on Tuesday, MCV continues its discussion with Senior VP and GM of CBS Games David Rice.
You mentioned a desire to bring Asian news to the West. So is Randolph Ramsay’s appointment to Singapore for Asia-Pacific to act as a go-between for the Asian news and the Western audience?
It’s two things. It’s firstly that there’s a huge demand in our core markets for everything that’s going on in Asia, so they’ve got the best ears there. We’ve also got a huge audience there. English is fairly well used in that region.
We’ve got our three core markets which is the US, UK and Australia, then we’ve got these merchant markets we’re targeting which I would say is East Asia. So Randy is trying to help us build our brand there.
With IGN making satellite offices in Germany and the like, do you feel the need to compete in those markets as well?
You know, it’s all theirs. Media business are very hard to scale globally because of the language issue. Having done this at Yahoo and MetaCafe, I can say that with confidence. News Corp is probably the most global, and they’re so very Anglo. They’re so English language focused – media businesses just don’t translate very well.
We have another games label under our belt which is GameKult, which is the number one French gaming site, but because they write their content in French and we write ours in English, we just can’t share content. So there’s no scale achieved.
You really have to create separate businesses in those markets. I’d say there’s so much more content that we can create for our English speaking markets that we don’t do today.
Take entertainment, for example – instead of going broader demographically, I want to go deeper into gaming culture. So instead of just doing news and reviews and doing them in 10 markets, I want to do news, reviews and deeper entertainment content in the US, UK and Australia.
You’ll see our content become much richer and deeper in our core markets. IGN’s strategy going into these new markets was an older strategy. I’ll be very curious to see what Ziff Davis does in the new regime, because that’s costly to have those satellite offices.
And does the local team get to take the global lead on reviews as well?
Reviews for us are considered a big pool globally. The reviews Editor-in-Chief will take a look at what games are coming up, will know who our experts in those genres are, finds the right person and goes to them for the task.
Laura [Parker], for example, who’ll still be freelancing for us, is great at delivering news. What we do is just match the talent to the content.
We’ve been talking to all the publishers while we’ve been on this tour and we’ve been asking ‘How important is a local review?’ They’d like a more local flair to things, but because the titles are released in the US first, reviews are already out, they’re really less concerned about uniquely Australian reviews and more about how they can talk to the communities here.
It’s like with EA and the competitions we did throughout Asia, where we had a FIFA competition in each of the markets. That’s the kind of stuff publishers like.
What we found in our research is that the way people play games in the US, UK and Australia are all very similar. So if we run different reviews, we’re just duplicating the workload. Why not use that time to create more interesting and in-depth stuff for the local markets?
I think you’ll see us have the local lens less on different reviews and more on how we can engage the local audiences with our brand using local events, gaming meet-ups, previews, sneak-peeks and stuff like that.
So how important are the GameSpot-run events in Australia to you?
It’s one of those things we can offer uniquely to our partners in each region is how we help them talk to their audiences in new ways.
They’re always asking ‘How do we do something that’s new, that’s different, that’s not just a display ad?’ So having the ability here to have forty of the top FIFA players in Australia come and meet with EA in a competition – for EA that’s huge. That’s your core group which activates a much larger audience in Australia. And the publishers are of course global businesses as well, but one of the things the local publishers can influence is those local type events. If we can be there as a partner, that’s great.
What we like to do when talking to publishers is ask ‘How can we be your broadcaster’? CBS is great at storytelling. You give us access to your developers, your talent, your teams and we’ll create great stories. And let’s do that together.
So it’s events, it’s competitions, its us working together with the publishers to really create something great for the markets.
Thank you for your time.