In a move that will be of great interest to analysts, the casual games industry has come together on its first ever industry-wide program. The program, which was instigated by the Casual Games Special Interest Group of the International Game Developers Association, would facilitate data-sharing between several large casual game developers and publishers. This sales data could lead to a better understanding of business trends and set expectations.
James Gwertzman, Business Development Director for PopCap Games, is the leader of the newly formed group. PopCap games, along with RealNetworks, Big Fish and several other partners, plan on automating their sales results and sharing them electronically. Gwertzman had this to say to Yahoo:
“At the moment, sharing data between partners is a very resource-intensive process, often involving manual entry of the same data more than once. It’s absurd that we have been pushing paper reports back and forth considering how reliant we are on the Internet for all other aspects of our business. The fact that the major players in the casual games sector, many of which compete with one another, have come together to adopt a standardized electronic format is in itself noteworthy. Sharing this kind of information publicly, even in aggregate form, is a sensitive issue. However, our industry has matured to the point where we’re ready to take this next step forward.”
What does all this mean? Well, the bottom line is that the rapidly growing Casual Games industry is trying to regulate itself. The sales for the mobile phone games industry alone are expected to be around $76 billion by 2011, so eventually, this information sharing can lead to a better handle on what sells and what doesn’t as well as pave the way to a regular top 100 chart. That’s in the future for now, as the standardized sharing of data will be a big enough first step.