Tom Dusenberry

“Tom was my boss in the nineties when I worked at Hasbro. He founded the gaming division ‘Hasbro Interactive’ and made a bunch of bold and disruptive decisions. His vision was to become as large as Electronic Arts. Unfortunately, Hasbro sold the gaming division. I bet today it would have been as big as EA.”

7+1

Founders Keepers

7+1 Questions

interviewed by

Torsten Oppermann

bio

Tom has been in the games industry for 40 years. He worked at Parker Brothers Games and Hasbro. Here are a few of his accomplishments:

  • Part of team that created the Electronic Games market – Merlin
  • Founding team of the McDonalds/Monopoly promotion – most successful promotion of all time
  • Created the Lottery Scratch-Off category with Monopoly and Clue
  • Part of team who took NERF outside and created the Blast-A-Ball category
  • Successfully launched evergreen games Catch Phrase, Ele-Fun, Bop-It
  • Earned the “Co-Inventor of the Year” in 1997 with Richard Garfield, inventor of Magic: The Gathering
  • Created over 300 game TV commercials
  • Founded Hasbro Interactive and Games.com 
  • Acquired Avalon Hill, Spectrum-Holobyte, MicroProse, Wizards of the Coast for Hasbro
  • Created the CD-ROM family and children’s markets
  • Pioneered Smart Toys with Star Wars and Tonka CD-ROM Playsets
  • Launched evergreen Roller Coaster Tycoon 
  • Sold Hasbro Interactive to Infogrames
  • Served as Board of Director member for several game companies
  • Built and rolled up four mobile game companies, which ultimately lead to the founding of Glu Mobile
  • Created the Robotic Gaming category with Robonica
  • Ran a high-tech golf swing analysis company

Over the past 5 years, he has pursued the following:

  • Started and built the NASCAR HEAT franchise with NASCAR from scratch. This business became Motorsport Games – they successfully went IPO earlier this year
  • Board member of K’NEX. Became COO and sold business to Basic Fun!
  • Served as M&A agent and successfully sold Root Robot to iRobot

Today, Tom is working on multiple creative and business development projects:

  • Board of Directors at Anjekumi, a mixed reality game platform 
  • Actively developing two mobile game apps
  • Focusing on Magic category 
  • Work with toy and game inventors – Publisher Licensing 
  • Developing TV game shows
  • Several Motorsports projects 
  • Involved with AR toy projects.

1

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?

It is the golden era of games, as every year is a growth year for games! The positive change over the past 40 years has been change itself. The games industry is constantly reinventing itself with cool new game genres and innovative game play. One thing that has never changed is the fun factor. Fun, repeatable games sell, and lousy games do not. I believe that the current games business is in a good place. I like the fact that there are multiple game platforms and choices to play games.

2

Who are your role models in the industry?

I admire Bobby Kotick and what he has accomplished at Activision. Bobby probably has had more impact on games over the past 20 years than anyone else.

My role model was Dave Wilson, the President of Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers and Hasbro Games. Dave was strategic, ethical, tough, and loved to win every game he played. 

Chris Down, Chief Design Officer at Mattel, has proven to possess creative brilliance in interactive entertainment. Chris seems to have that “magic touch” when it comes to creating commercially successful product. 

Nancy MacIntyre, CEO of Fingerprint has that “killer instinct” to make business happen. Nancy has that unique ability to stick with her goal until it is successfully accomplished. 

My son, Michael Dusenberry, Digital Monetization Analyst at Sony’s Game Show Network Boston Game Studio. Mike has been trained in all areas of digital game monetization and customer acquisition. Digital acquisition is the new games frontier.

3

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?

It is all about customer acquisition. Old marketing methods such as TV advertising and retail promotions are gone. In the future, marketing will be about AI data reporting and targeted, personalized advertising and is customized to each game player. Bring it on!

4

Which social media channels do you see as key for the games industry?

Twitch, You Tube, Facebook, Tik-Tok, Xbox and PSX player communications.

5

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?

Find a genre and become an expert. Small groups can be powerful purchasers.

6

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?

Gamers will always want “behind the scenes” info and to learn more about their favorite games. I am a believer in PR as, when done properly, it can be an effective tool in consumer communication. 

7

Bonus question: Which project / topic in your career are you particularly proud of?

I am proud of the fact that I have lasted 40 years and am still relevant today! My excitement about games is as high as it was when I had my first job in the industry.

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