Strategic Alliances Between Video Game Developers and Media Firms

Strategic Alliances between Video Game Developers and Media Firms

By: Brett Halan

So basically the situation at hand is that media companies like Disney are starting to develop their own video games rather than export the development. The skill to develop and program games was once extremely rare and difficult to learn. Today it is being taught by more and more universities, and the skill is more widespread. Companies like Disney and PIXAR have a strategic alliance to create games like Toy Story and many others. They still do have an alliance, but Disney is experimenting by creating their own methods to creating games. Other media companies are following their lead as well.

These companies originally make a film that is later turned into a video game. Toy Story is an example of this process. The problem is that as of lately the video games that are extracted from original movies are not successful whatsoever. Disney and the others had to ask themselves why?  They concluded that the quality of the games is terrible. The video game developing companies spend much of their effort working on original pieces of work like Halo or Call of Duty that attract the largest consumer base. They spend little time on these movies turned video games because they are historically weak sellers. The quote “quality is subjective, and perception is reality” pertains directly to this situation. The only real person who can claim that one game has more quality over the other are the end consumers. The media companies and the developing firms are essentially making the same mistake over and over again, and they need to accept change.

To fix the lack of quality going into the games there are a few alternatives. The most popular is that the media firms are buying smaller video game development companies. They are expanding in a way to give them a higher amount of control over the end product. As we saw in class during the ball passing game, when you have control over the process and design the end result is improved. Another alternative could include simply end making video games based off movies.     

Overall, the consumers of the big box office movies seem to really enjoy the movies, so why are the video games not popular? Media firms blame the video game developers for not putting maximum effort into the games. There are a few questions we should consider. The first is how do the media firms go forward with improving the transcendent definition of quality of these games? The second question is how are the video game developers going to stay in business with their strategically aligned partners?

Even though the information for this post is from 2008 the information is still relevant for today. I imagine we will see less and less video games based off of movies in the meantime. Further down the road I imagine some movies will have a more advanced feature where you can control the action similar to a video game. Today they have alternative endings to movies, but I think that is just the beginning of interaction with the audience.    

Sources from:

M. Marr and N Wingfield (2008). “Big Media companies want back in the game.” The Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2008.

C. Salter (2002). “Playing to Win.” Fast Company. December. Pg. 80.

C. Edward (2008). “Morphing Video Games into Movies.” BloombergBusinessWeek. March 19, 2008.


3 thoughts on “Strategic Alliances Between Video Game Developers and Media Firms

  1. I think that media companies creating their own teams to create the video games is a great idea since the projects are neglected by video game developing companies. The game developing companies probably neglect the movie character games because they are targeted toward kid who have to convince their parents to buy the game for them. Also, the failure of the character games could have something to do with the majority of kids today play games for free on kid based game sites online.

  2. I think that purchasing smaller development companies is a smart move on the media’s part; just as mentioned in the post, it allows them to have more control of the process and they no longer have to worry about their project not being a priority. I also have to agree with ‘msoroka’; it seems that the games being produced from movies are targeted more towards children, which I don’t think there is really much demand for. More popular developers, at least for the games I play, target an audience of 18+ years, with a rating of M for mature. These games usually are more original and adventurous in story line and don’t go along with that of a movie. This might be another reason as to why movie-based video games aren’t good sellers. The ending is already pre-defined by the outcome of the movie. It’s not so fun to play when you know what is going to happen.

    This post also had me thinking about alternative endings in video games, which is a cool concept itself. Recently though, kind of the opposite has been happening more, where instead of movies being turned into video games,video games are being turned into movies. I have read that Assassin’s Creed and Halo are in the making. It makes me wonder if the movies will be as popular as the games.

  3. this is such an interesting topic you touched on. Being a person who doesn’t realy play/buys video games I never thought about how movie related video games weren’t as successful. I personally thought the opposite. I have younger cousins who would make my aunt buy video games just because they liked the movies, but i can totally see where you’re coming from. I guess if it wasn’t for little kids who only want to buy these games based on their movie interest, the industry would not be successful one bit!
    I also think one of the greatest downfalls is how some of these games dont really relate to the movie itself. I can remember playing one of my little cousins Toy Story’s video game and thinking to myself how irrelevant it was to what I portrayed Toy Story to be when I watched the movie.

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