Power to the Pixel Conference 2014
Speakers at London's Power to the Pixel conference, which centred on film production and distribution across multiple platforms, agreed that the entertainment industry as a whole should be paying attention to the gaming sector.
According to Dr Jo Twist, chief executive of Ukie, trade body of the UK interactive entertainment industry, games are already "bigger than music, and growing faster than film". In the UK, the gaming industry is currently worth £3.5bn ($5.6bn), while globally, it's expected to surpass $100bn by 2017.
The sector has a legacy of audience collaboration. Traditionally, beta access to games in development has had premium status over the finished product. This culture around the original interactive medium has created a production cycle that integrates collaborative creation, customer feedback and reiteration as a matter of course.
With that in mind, Liz Rosenthal, founder and chief executive of Power to the Pixel, stressed that saving consumer involvement until the point of sale is a thing of the past for all entertainment brands.
Director, writer and experience designer Lance Weiler noted that "the barriers of entry are now incredibly low" – smartphones in hand, viewers build their own media landscape. Rosenthal also added that because of online fan engagement, no story is self-contained to one medium anymore.
As Will Saunders, creative director of digital production for UK broadcaster the BBC cited, more than half the TV programming watched by viewers under 30 isn't watched on TV sets – so it's worth pushing video content beyond lean-back consumption. Game tie-ins successfully occupied off-season time for TV shows like Breaking Bad with narratives, while the Sherlock: The Network game app drew viewers further into the BBC's hit show by making them fellow investigators through bespoke footage.
The impact of consumer involvement in funding and creation was also seen in the works selected for the Sundance Film Festival 2014. For South by South West 2014's angle on entertainment media in the digital age, see SXSW Film & Music.