Digital Entertainment Creation: Paths to Profitability
Mobile and Online Content Creation is Booming
New opportunities are also emerging in mobile and web content development. Analysts predict that mobile games will generate more revenue than console games by 2015, and the number of worldwide 3G users is growing more than 30% every year. Not only that but the graphics capabilities of mobile devices continues to advance in leaps and bounds. History is about to repeat itself. Just as in the late 80s, PC gaming shifted from 2D raster graphics to 3D graphics, so web and mobile gaming is about to make the transition. Only this time the shift will be from 2D Flash to 3D. The demand is already soaring as new devices clamor for 3D content. And even if the final game is rendered in 2D it is generally far easier to create and animate in 3D. In anticipation of these changes, we've designed our solutions to increase the quality and reduce the complexity of delivering both video and 3D content to web browsers and mobile devices. The recent acquisition of Scaleform forms part of our strategy to enable the fast authoring and deployment of creative content on console, mobile and web platforms. For example, the latest release of Autodesk Scaleform enables Flash content to be played in realtime on iOS devices.
Another industry growth area is online advertising and marketing, which is fast replacing print, and to some extent television, advertising as the preferred means to reach consumers. However, standing out from the crowd is even more difficult online and capturing the viewer's attention requires creating engaging experiences. There is no point spending hundreds of thousands on paid search if the customer ends up "bouncing" off your page. Helping companies engage with customers online represents a large emerging opportunity for growth and profitability in 3D content creation. The best in the industry are already creating innovative 3D content online. We are breeding a new generation that expects the gamification of the digital world. Compelling 3D characters and storylines will engage viewers in new ways. Creative companies or individuals will face a wealth of new opportunities developing both entertainment content and modern "gamified" advertising campaigns.
Outside In, Inside Out
Even prior to the recession, we had noted the profitability challenge brewing in the industry. Large budget productions were facing difficulties predicting costs, requiring better up front planning and decision making. They were also investing heavily in moving data between different parts of the production process and building in-house technology that was often not a significant competitive differentiator. Smaller companies faced budgetary constraints and lacked expertise to build sophisticated pipelines; and the new opportunities discussed above were still too nascent to be of interest to any except the most far-sighted early adopters.
In response to what was happening in the industry, Autodesk made a deliberate decision to reshape both our strategy and our company. We put together affordable suites of products and focused on the task of integration and workflow, making our tools easier to learn and easier to deploy. We changed our own "production model" for software development to address the changes in our customers' models. We broke internal R&D silos to unify the 3D core technologies across every single one of our applications, from Maya to Flame. We created a centralized design team and gave them the clear mandate to focus on key creative tasks and workflows and not just on individual product features. This lets us look at the world from different vantage points to truly modernize the tools and processes that make the pipeline. We are excited to deliver a first look at these innovations in our new 2012 product releases. Our mission is to help all of our customers compete through creative innovation, achieve profitability through pipeline efficiency and flourish in all forms of media creation. That is Digital Entertainment Creation.
Marc Petit is SVP, Autodesk Media & Entertainment.