EIF 2008: videogames should be considered art

EIF 2008 kicks off next week - but are games art?
EIF 2008 kicks off next week - but are games art?

Sean Dromgoole is CEO of videogame marketing consultancy Some Research and market research company GameVision, set to give a talk at this year's Edinburgh Interactive Festival entitled "Who Plays What and Why?"

Dromgoole will outline various current trends and demographics in games, with a focus on different consumer tastes on either side of the big Atlantic pond. TechRadar fired a few questions his way to find out more about his plans for this years EIF.

TechRadar: Can games can be considered as art?

Sean Dromgoole: Gary Lewis who was running Take Two Europe at the time found himself with GTA suspended in Germany. He sued, or threatened to, I can't remember, on the basis that it was an art form and won. Suspension lifted in German courts. If the Germans say its art it must be. Art is at the edge. Art is where media get taken forwards. Some games are art.

What Myst did with design was art. What Hitman did with music was art. What Getaway did with dialogue was art. The closest to a good synthesis of the lot is GTA IV for me. But it gets better - what WoW does with people is more beautiful than art – so it must be art. I'm going to be talking more about this next week at Edinburgh.

TechRadar: What else are you speaking about this year?

Sean Dromgoole: I will talk about who is playing what and on what – consoles, titles, demographics – then I will say that attitude is a better guide to next behavior than previous behavior and show some of the work we do tracking consumer attitudes. Then I will show our new consumer segmentation which groups people of similar attitudes – whatever age or habits they have – and show how you can use that.

Finally I will show why people game and I will explain that while the thrills associated with gameplay are always going to be part of what we do, the thing that has been engaging recently and making money is when we offer benefits/thrills/improvements outside of gameplay – things like health (Wii Fit) or intelligence (Brain Training) or nurturing (the plethora of cooking titles on the DS). I plan to list of everything that everybody wants and challenging the creatives in the audience to fill in the gaps with games. It should work.

TechRadar: What do you like about theEdinburgh Interactive Festival?

Sean Dromgoole: I like EIF for two reasons – firstly by being positioned alongside the other festivals it places gaming as an innovative creative part of show business. My father ran an ITV company, my sister just won a Prix Italia for radio, my brother runs Shakespeare's Globe – I need Edinburgh just to have some cred at Christmas.

The second reason is that all the people you want to meet are there – and chatting. Where else can you end up in a jazz bar sitting between [Nintendo UK boss] David Yarnton and [Sony Computer Entertainment UK boss] Ray Maguire – with both in a good mood.

It's special is the short answer.

Adam Hartley