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In the future of games, there is no head of sales

By on November 11, 2011
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The games industry is changing.

We’re moving from selling games in boxes via large retail stores to building long-term relationships with customers. We’re thinking in terms of life-time value, not units sold. We are talking directly to our players AND THEY ARE TALKING BACK TO US.

In this world, there is no VP of sales. There are no teams of salesman pitching to buyers. Instead, we are building relationships with customers. Sales, marketing, community and game design is blurring into one.

In the future, the head of marketing understands analytics, game design and business models.

There is no head of sales.


Picture via Flickr, courtesy of

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve:
  • It’s an easy response, but I don’t think it’s the right one. It’s a marketing issue, not a sales issue, I think

  • Totally agree. The head of marketing will be absolutely critical. But when the end customer is paying, the sales role changes radically

  • There will still be a Head of Marketing though. They may be called Head of Customer Relations / Insights / Analytics or whatever, but they will still be tasked with breaking though all the noise of their competitors and getting their product(s) known.

    This will be especially true of the ‘latecomers’ – the ones who have to challenge those who have already built up their communities / product ranges. They will need to play the game smarter than the companies currently succeeding in what has been new territory (e.g Zynga).

  • Don Believe d’Hype

    Explains why the average annual revenue per publisher is $8500!

  • Customer are communicating back once they find their app, but you need marketing and sales to get your app noticed in the cluttered market.  With 400k on iOS alone, that’s a huge challenge and I have yet to see any app discovery system in place that is readily accessible to casual consumers (without having to download an app or go to a website).  Game companies are becoming more successful by building a suite of games that then can cross-promote to each other and build the brand.  But you still need a marketing/sales person to get players’ attention, right?  

  • i agree, nice article. i think the communication between customers and the company is so importan and became more and more importance.

  • Rob Stevenson

    i agree in principle – however, there is a need for sales / bus dev for developers… they need access to the “congregations” of consumers to discover their content 

    so in that they need to persuade the owners of these portals to allow them (see facebook and others most notably Apple where everyone is equal – some are more equal than others…) to promote and highlight their apps and games…

    in the purest sense i agree with you, pragmatically there is a need for business development skills – which can be called “sales”