[In the age of digital distribution and social marketing, do we need these inflated, expensive, inefficient organizations? Business editor Colin Campbell gets ready for the revolution.]Why do games publishers exist? Seriously. What is the point of these dictatorships? Why are we at the mercy of their ambitions and their avarice? Couldn’t we just rise up and get rid of these ayatollahs?Put it another way. The function that games publishers perform has little to do with games, and everything to do with publishing. What they actually do is no different from a book publishing house in the smoky Victorian cities of yore. They source content from the talent, repackage it, create a physical artifact, sell it to retailers and try to get the word out about their new thing, mostly via advertising.And yet games require no physical form. Talent can — and does — create content that is sold directly to consumers who are able to “market” the product through super-connected social channels. (Exhibit One: Minecraft.)Today, games make money for their creators without the aid of a publisher, or even of those other non-producing, value-extracting middle-men, the retailers. So couldn’t we just lose them all together? Imagine how much money the… Read full this story
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