“The globalisation of games has already happened, but I think what we're going to have in the next five years are global phenomenon,” opened Min Kim, CEO of Nexon America, during his talk at DICE Europe 2014 in London.
“By global, I don't just mean games that are big in Korea that happen to make it in the west or vice versa, but actual big global smashes that work anywhere.”
What's currently stopping that happening now, Kim attested, is the fact that we have too many restaurants calling upon the same kitchen. The kitchen, in this metaphor, is the developer, whereas the restaurant – the front of house, if you like – is the publisher.
The right recipe
“The kitchen takes care of the development of the game and the restaurant handles the marketing, the promotion, the QA, etc,” continued Kim.
The customer expectation is no longer just about the game, it's the experience as a whole.Min Kim
Typically, Kim explained, we're used to the kitchen and restaurant being attached – being in the same building. But with globalisation, the kitchen can be in one part of the world, whereas the restaurants, or several restaurants, can be in another.
That creates several problems. Namely that, if there's a problem with the food, it'll take a while to get it back to the kitchen to get it replaced. And, secondly, owing to local tastes and traits, each restaurant may start telling a kitchen to cook cuisine that caters to their particular wants and needs.
In reality, Kim stated, a kitchen will always cook for the most profitable restaurant, and just hope that the food does relatively well in all of the others.
“You will always favour the dominant market, which stunts growth elsewhere,” Kim concluded, and that's something that's going to have to change if a game is to truly appeal to every major global market without massive localisation.
Nevertheless, however long it takes for developers to truly embrace the global market, the way people play games has already changed.
“The customer expectation is no longer just about the game, it's the experience as a whole,” Kim stated. “It's like going to that restaurant – it's about more than just the food, but also the ambiance and everything else that goes with it.”