Make a good game — worry about transmedia later

Jon Goldman has some advice for indie developers who are trying to manufacture transmedia IP from the get-go: Don’t. Transmedia is the intersection of different mediums, like launching a game alongside a comic book or movie set in the same universe — and it’s something Goldman is very familiar with. He’s the managing partner at Skybound Entertainment, which is best known for the comic series The Walking Dead. But he’s also a venture partner at the investment firm Greycroft, so he has insight into the creative side as well as how investors think about opportunities.

I interviewed Goldman after his fireside chat with GamesBeat lead writer Dean Takahashi at the GamesBeat Summit earlier this week in Mill Valley, CA. During his talk, he touched on Death Jr., a 2005 PlayStation Portable game that he tried to turn into a transmedia property when he was CEO of Foundation 9 Entertainment.

Tinkering with transmedia

Goldman says he’s been interested in “transmedia commercialization” since 2001 or 2002, and he seized the opportunity with Death Jr., which spun off into a comic book series. But this game received mixed reviews, and it never took off and certainly not the way The Walking Dead did.

“I guess what I would say is that the vision had always been there, but you can’t build it in the laboratory,” said Goldman. “You have to build it around something that fans are already developing an attachment and fandom to.”

The only way The Walking Dead could go to so many platforms was because it was already a successful series with an established community around it. “There was a lot of love poured into its entry point into the world of media, and I think to try and diffuse your talent and time and effort to build a business strategy is counterproductive in creative industries,” said Goldman.

Skybound recently launched a publishing initiative, bringing Monomi Park’s Slime Rancher and Hinterland’s The Long Dark to physical retail outlets. What Goldman is saying echoes Skybound president Dan Murray on its strategy as a publisher — it’s not necessarily looking for “transmedia opportunities,” but rather for engaging experiences. That’s…

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Peter Bordes

Exec Chairman & Founder at oneQube
Exec Chairman & Founder of oneQube the leading audience development automation platfrom. Entrepreneur, top 100 most influential angel investors in social media who loves digital innovation, social media marketing. Adventure travel and fishing junkie.
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