Hans Ippisch’s professional career began in 1986, when he signed his first contract as a game developer at Rainbow Arts at the age of 16. Until 1992 he developed ten games for C64 and Amiga, started to study economics during this time and financed his studies as a freelance author at Computec Media in Nuremberg.
He then joined Computec Media fulltime in 1993, when he took over not only Amiga Games but also Sega Magazine as editor-in-chief. He stayed at Computec until 2019 and as CEO was responsible for the transformation from a classic publishing house to a digital media company with 300 employees and a reach of over 10 million users.
In June 2019, he moved to the U.S. company Intellivision Entertainment as President of European Operations and has since been building the sales and marketing structures for the market launch of the “Intellivision Amico” family entertainment system planned for 2021. In particular, this includes the development of exclusive Amico games. Currently, around 20 games are already being created in Europe, including four of the six preloaded games and reboots of classics such as Moon Patrol, Pong and Shark! Shark!
You have been in the games industry for some time. And you have seen many trends come and go. From the beginning of your career to today: What has changed most positively in the industry, and what bothers you about the current situation?
The barriers to entry are much lower today; almost anyone can develop a game and upload it to the App Store or Google Play. At the same time, however, the odds of success are lower than ever given the flood of new releases every day.
Which key learnings in marketing can other industries draw from the games industry?
You can use digital media and promotions to target the people who should like the product and thus minimize wasted spend.
Who are your role models in the industry?
Of course, there are a number of icons for whom I have the greatest respect. But I never had any real role models. When I started as a developer in 1986, I simply didn’t know any other programmers (there was no Internet back then) and when I moved to the media industry in the 90s, we had to find our own way as a start-up and were rather smiled at by the established media and major publishers. So, there were no role models there either.
How did the marketing and promotion of games change in recent years? Where are we headed in games marketing in the next years to come?
Twenty years ago, it was still easy. You booked your print section in the leading games magazines and selected special-interest media and added online. And if you had a big budget, cinema, out-of-home or TV. Today, there are countless options, and my impression is that trends come and go faster and faster. And I’m convinced that you have to decide individually for each product which marketing package works best. Whether it’s social media, out-of-home, online, PoS or maybe even print ads if you want to reach the right target group.
Which social media channels do you see as key for the games industry?
Generally speaking, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram are of particular importance, but the younger target group is hardly represented there. In this respect, for each product, you have to consider whether to add other media that are hot at the moment, such as TikTok or possibly Snapchat.
About the current trend on creators and influencer marketing: The trend towards more micro and macro influencers with a smaller reach and less fans, but more authenticity and engagement: How can the Games industry leverage that trend in your opinion?
I think this trend is obvious because the impact of using star influencers was often very, very small compared to the budget invested. Working with influencers who address a smaller but much more loyal target group can be much more worthwhile.
The media landscape has changed massively in the last ten years. However, PR is still one of the most important communications tools in the games sector. Where do you see PR in the next five years, what will the challenges be?
In this extremely dynamic environment, you have to know exactly which channels you can use to send your message. If you don’t pay attention for a few months and miss important trends, then you’re quickly out of the game. But that doesn’t mean you should immediately follow every trend.
Bonus question: Which project / topic in your career are you particularly proud of?
I was lucky enough to always enjoy my work and I am actually proud of all my projects. In this respect, I would just like to highlight a few milestones here. “Soldier!” (1986) was certainly not the best product, but it was my very first game and opened many doors. The complete redesign of “Sega Magazine” in 1993, the world’s first license from Sony for a companion CD at the independent magazine “PlayStation Zone” in 1998, the incredible success of “Kids Zone” starting in 2000, the transformation of Computec into a media company starting in 2008, the re-founding of “devcom” in 2017 and the establishment of Intellivision’s European division since 2019 are things you can certainly name. And that I would be responsible for the development of the new edition of “Moon Patrol” with the blessing of Scott Tsumura, the creator of the original, is something I could never have imagined in 1986.
Treasures and Insights
from leaders in tech and gaming around the globe