Exclusive Interview with BradyGames



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Tuesday October 29, 2002


Exclusive Interview with BradyGames' Marketing Manager Janet Eshenour

BradyGames is well known for the quality of their strategy guides, had a very good holiday season in 2001. According to NPDFunworld TRSTS Video Game, the Market Share Video Game Guides - based on Revenue earned of the Top 100 Video Guides - was 8, 500, 000 for BradyGames compare to Prima with 5,900,000, Nintendo with 2,900,000 and Versus Books with 1,000,000.

And they have started the year well also by holding 49% of the Market Share Video Game Guides in the First Quarter of 2002 compared to 35% for Prima, 9% for Nintendo and 6% for Versus Book.

Plus in the Top 10 Strategy Guides of 2001, BradyGames held the Top 3 Ranks with Final Fantasy X with the #1 Rank, Metal Gear Solid 2 with the #2 Rank, Final Fantasy IX with the #3 and Diablo2: Lord of Destruction with the #8 rank.

LadyDragon: What do you attribute the success of BradyGames?

Janet Eshenour: We feel a great deal of our success is due to our high quality products, our selectivity - we don't publish a strategy guide for every game - and our strong licensing partnerships.

LadyDragon: How many titles do you usually publish in a year?

Janet Eshenour: We typically publish between 60 and 70 strategy guides per year.

LadyDragon: How many will you publish this year?

Janet Eshenour: At this point, we're planning to publish approximately 70 strategy guides. However, that number might fluctuate, depending on whether some of the game titles we plan to support do not end up shipping this year.

LadyDragon: How many do you sell and have you seen an increase?

Janet Eshenour: Our strategy guides have been the leading sellers in the video game guide market both last year and again this year. In 2001, we published three of the top-selling guides and outsold our closest competitor by more than 40 percent in the fourth quarter. This year, we're continuing that trend by publishing three of the top-selling guides during the first half of the year.

LadyDragon: What is the break down in ESRB rating?

Janet Eshenour: We publish slightly more "T" rated strategy guides, but we also publish a fair amount of both "E" and "M" rated titles.

LadyDragon: Does the rating affect your choice of publishing a title?

Janet Eshenour: No, not really. We focus instead on publishing guides for the best, most complex, fun games. Our goal is to support titles that require gamers to need and use a strategy guide.

LadyDragon: What rating is increasing or decreasing in your titles?

Janet Eshenour: Actually, we haven't seen one rating that has decreased or increased in our titles. Overall, it's remained pretty consistent.

LadyDragon: How do you make your selection of titles?

Janet Eshenour: We base our title selection on a few different criteria. Basically, we evaluate the game's complexity and scope, its intended audience, its platform and the game's developer/publisher.

LadyDragon: Do the gaming companies contact you or do you call them?

Janet Eshenour: Actually, both scenarios happen. We've earned a reputation in the industry for high quality products, so game publishers often contact us to see if we'd like to work with them. Additionally, when we hear about an upcoming game we feel is appropriate to support with a strategy guide, we contact the game publisher directly to see if they're interested in working with us.

LadyDragon: What are your main criteria in choosing a title?

Janet Eshenour: As I mentioned earlier, we base our selection upon the game's complexity and scope, its intended audience, its platform, and the game's developer/publisher.

LadyDragon: What is the break down of platform?

Janet Eshenour: Two-thirds of our guides are for console games and the other third is for PC games. We publish guides for many PS2 games because this particular platform has the largest installed base and the greatest number of games. However as the installed bases for Xbox and GameCube continue to grow and more games are developed for these platforms, we'll increase our number of titles in those two categories as well.

LadyDragon: How many authors do you have?

Janet Eshenour: We have several authors who work solely for BradyGames, in addition to many freelance writers who are located throughout the United States.

LadyDragon: How does your Signature series stands out compare to the other guides of yours and your competitors?

Janet Eshenour: Our Signature Series guides are deluxe guides that offer full-featured content and design, which in the end really make them collectible items. Our guides include such things as art galleries, interviews with the game developers, posters, booklets or stickers, printing on the inside of the front and back cover as well as special printing on the outside cover. We feel these guides offer much more than just help to gamers.

LadyDragon: How do you determine which title will be a signature one?

Janet Eshenour: We look at the nature of the game as well as the intended audience, with a focus on the hard-core gamer. We want to give consumers everything they could want in a guide.

LadyDragon: In how many languages are your guides done and what are the languages?

Janet Eshenour: Many of our guides are translated into French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese, Finnish and Italian, just to name a few.

LadyDragon: Why are some in color and some not?

Janet Eshenour: The industry standard for guides has been four-color for console titles and one-color for PC titles. Console gamers tend to be younger and prefer color images throughout their guides. On the other hand, the PC gamer is typically older and doesn't care that much about color. They typically just care about the content, so we print these particular guides in black and white.

LadyDragon: Why do you have different size?

Janet Eshenour: Again, we publish our guides according to the industry standard.

LadyDragon: Why don't you have posters in each guide, which would be fun to have?

Janet Eshenour: If it's appropriate for the game title, we include posters and other value-add materials in the guide. We always think about the game's audience and decide what to include based on what we know they're interested in and really want in a guide.

LadyDragon: Since developers are putting more emphasis on the quality of the audio in a game, are you planning to mention in your guides if they are using the SoundMAX software and what type of Dolby they are using?

Janet Eshenour: Our guides focus on the game strategy and not peripherals such as audio. I think this might be an area the game companies decide to include in their in-box manuals in the future.


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