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UTV's Screwvala: Ignition Planning For Original IP Games, Ownership

Although publisher Ignition is best known for import fare like Muramasa, Indian media mogul and parent company UTV's CEO Ronnie Screwvala explains to Gamasutra how IP creation is the firm's long-term goal.
Although publisher Ignition is best known for import fare like Muramasa, Indian media mogul and parent company UTV's CEO Ronnie Screwvala explains to Gamasutra how IP creation is the firm's long-term goal. Talking to the site as part of an in-depth interview, Screwvala, who also produces Bollywood and Hollywood movies and runs a number of Indian TV channels as part of his media empire, explains his plans for the King Of Fighters and Muramasa console game publisher: "Well, the trajectory of the last 18 months, I think, started off with more publishing. Much more European Union-based. I think in the last six months we've invested heavily in the U.S. We're really creating a marketing, development, distribution base... On the other side, we just want to take our publishing business. When we [UTV] came into the business, our interest was to a certain extent on the publishing, but finally to look at IP creation. And I think the ability for is us to be able to do both, and the team [at Ignition] has the expertise. So we're building up our distribution prowess, and with that we have a very strong ability to source games from worldwide." When asked in more detail about his company UTV's overall plans for Ignition, which was a smaller UK-focused game publisher for a number of years before being acquired and staffed up by UTV, Screwvala explains: "So I think the end vision is for us to be scalable in publishing, but actually create and own our own IPs. I think, basically, we are a content company. So I would say film is one of them, but so are broadcast channels and television. So in small screen and big screen, our focus is always content, not platform. And I think, therefore, in games, and especially in console games, definitely the focus is content. Publishing, we consider aggregating, and I think the IPs is the content creation part of it." Ignition's U.S. director of business development -- and former journalist -- Shane Bettenhausen added to Screwvala's comments on the company's plans: "The next step -- what I was brought on do to -- is new business. To find development in the U.S., in Japan, in Europe, to partner with those [developers] to make original games instead of just picking things up that are finished." The full interview with Ignition, including detailed comments from three of the company's principals, is now available at Gamasutra.

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