Who’d be a Publisher?

Many sectors, if not all, start with a profusion of SMEs each trying to establish their own take on a technology, product, service, or market offering. Equally, with time “rationalisation” or “consolidation” occurs are small becomes medium becomes large, at least for the successful ones. Keeping a diverse SME base is challenge, and yet SMEs are widely recognised as major contributors to the world wide economy, with some very rough statistics suggesting that hold up to two thirds of IP Global. While that is not a figure to be relied on, it is clear that SMEs make a major contribution to innovation, and that should be encouraged. One, perhaps atypical, market is Video Games.

While Video Games sector has its major, perhaps more appropriately “mega”, companies, like Nintendo and Microsoft. It also has Developers and Publishers, and while Publishers include “mega” companies like EA and Activision, the Developers are a larger and more varied group. Larger companies yes, but also many small ones, SMEs, producing essentially an IP based product, as video games are. A rich, sometimes exotic mix of software (copyright) and brand, with the power to reach markets, particularly ones including teenage boys, that can rival film, with sales values running in to $100s million, even the odd $billion. At least if you are big enough to have global sales channels. If you are an SME? Well in the UK step in NESTA, The National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts, to promote a consortium for SME video games developers to come together and form a shared publishing platform 1. Owning IP is one thing, exploiting it another, particular for SMES. Collaboration, as with NESTA, is an attractive route for companies who aspire but can’t quite reach the tag of “mega”.