Interviews// Industry Insights: Alex Neuse, Gaijin Games

Posted 20 Mar 2013 14:56 by
As part of an ongoing series, SPOnG gets the unedited, open and highly informed opinions of developers, producers and more in the vast world of computer games.

Industry Figure: Alex Neuse
Job Title: CEO, Designer
Company: Gaijin Games
Best Known For: BIT.TRIP series, BIT.TRIP Presents... Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien

Gaijin Games has made a name for itself with its seriously addictive BIT.TRIP series of titles. Originally released on WiiWare, the bitesize downloadable games quickly found their way on 3DS.

Recently, the studio has just released a sequel to the popular BIT.TRIP Runner. It's called BIT.TRIP Presents... Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien. If that doesn't sound amazing I'm not sure what does.

With the game available on Steam, Wii U, Xbox 360 and PS3, Gaijin has truly gone multiplatform - so we thought now would be a good time to ask Alex about his thoughts on the growing popularity of digital distribution, the next-generation and the challenges and opportunities that are round the corner.

Considering the critical acclaim of titles such as The Walking Dead and Journey in 2012, is digital now the real viable means of getting games in gamers' homes?

The interesting thing about digital distribution is that while all of us who do it think it's amazing, humans are still consuming more physical products than digital products by far. This is the same across all entertainment mediums. Folks are still buying CDs, DVDs, and physical video games way more than they're buying digitally.

However, digital distribution is definitely gaining ground. It's much more viable than it was even one year ago, and that's super encouraging. I hope that massive franchises like The Walking Dead help to pave the way for a more mainstream acceptance of digital distribution.

But I have hardcore gamer friends who hardly ever use the eShop, PSN or XBLA, and if we're not reaching the hardcore yet, we still have a ways to go.

What are the biggest and most exciting challenges you're looking forward to in the next year?

Personally, I'm looking forward to figuring out what Gaijin Games is going to do post-Runner2. We've been working on it for so long, it's almost like there's nothing else in my HUD at the moment.

Mike and I have a bunch of really rad ideas that we want to do, and deciding on a direction for our company together is going to be very exciting. We always have the most fun when we sit down and dream together, and this next year is going to be about trying to find balance as a development studio while collaborating on the concept of our next big thing.

What are the benefits to you and to gamers of the new console generation after Xbox 360 and PS3?

The biggest benefit that I think will reveal itself is whatever Microsoft and Sony do with their online features. As we discussed in question #1, digital distribution is gaining ground, and what with everything moving into the cloud (like streaming movies, streaming music, digital books, etc.) I think if the first party console makers can embrace the cloud, gamers will realize that there are so many more games out there than they previously thought.

In order to successfully raise consumer awareness, though, first party companies are going to have to really start to look at smaller games and studios with equality against the "big boys". Many smaller developers are making the most interesting games these days, and everyone should know about them.

Thanks to Alex for his time. Check out SPOnG's recent industry insights below.

Industry Insights Series:
Feb 2013: Blazej Krakowiak, Techland
Feb 2013: Gina Jackson , Women in Games Jobs
Feb 2013: Stewart Gilray, Just Add Water & Oddworld Inhabitants
Feb 2013: Dominic Matthews, Ninja Theory

Jan 2013: Dan Webb, X360A
Jan 2013: Antti Ilvessuo, RedLynx
Jan 2013: Andy Payne, O.B.E.
Jan 2013: Gordon Midwood, Different Tuna
Jan 2013: Andrew Smith, Spilt Milk Studios
Jan 2013: Theo Sanders, Ubisoft Singapore
Jan 2013: Paul Rustchynsky, Evolution Studios
Jan 2013: Peter Molydeux, Genius
Jan 2013: Andy Payne O.B.E.
Jan 2013: David Jaffe
Jan 2013: Jon Lander of CCP

Dec 2012: Martyn Brown, InsightforHire
Dec 2012: Steve Lycett, SUMO Digital
Dec 2012: Theo Sanders, Ubisoft Singapore
Dec 2012: Ted Price, CEO Insomniac
Dec 2012: Paul Rustchynsky, Evolution Studios
Dec 2012: Antti Ilvessuo, RedLynx

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