M+E Daily

At GameSupply: Videogame Execs Emphasize Need for Collaboration Across Supply Chain

By Mel Lambert

Greater sharing of information is a top supply chain priority for videogame publishers, distributors, and retailers, with the instant-access nature of emerging digital business models highlighting the industry’s imperative to improve physical product availability as well. Such was the consensus among game industry executives who spoke at the GameSupply conference in Burbank, Calif. on Wednesday.

Saul Berman, Global and American Strategy Consulting Leader with IBM, considered the changing retail model from physical to digital media in his conference keynote. “The game industry may grow,” he said, “but who will get the enhanced revenue stream? The record industry tried to stop the consumer doing what they wanted [with digital media], instead of monetizing the experience. The gaming industry needs to be agile and focus on the experience, interoperability and new revenue models.”

GameSupply Conference Co-Chairs Devendra Mishra (left) and John Quinn (right), with keynote speaker Saul Berman, Global and American Strategy Consulting Leader, IBM (center). (Photo: Mel Lambert|Content Creators)

A panel moderated by Bob Lamont, Vice President of North Highland, acknowledged that as videogame revenues have overtaken both music and home video, supply-chain challenges have intensified. “A key to success is the manufacturers’ responsiveness,” noted Kurt Fisher, VP of Operations at THQ. “It is vital that retailers collaborate with the retail chain and actively share information with suppliers,” added Patricia Vessey, director of Merchandising Services at Best Buy.

“Consumers do not like to wait,” said Steve Brown, CEO of Cinram, reaffirming the game industry’s need to transition from physical to digital products. “We also need to reduce waste through demand management and actionable intelligence,” so that costs can be reduced dramatically by shipping products from multiple vendors in shared boxes. “Collaboration,” Brown agreed, “is the key to eliminating waste.”

The third annual GameSupply Summit was co-produced by the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) and the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA).

The day-long event ended with the presentation of three Video Game Supply Chain Awards by the EMA. Activision received the trade group’s Supply Chain Innovation award, while Sony DADC received an award for Supply Chain Efficiency and printing/merchandising firm Pacific Color Graphics received an award for Green Supply Chain Leadership.

Mel Lambert is principal of Content-Creators.com, a Los Angeles-based consulting service.