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David Talmat

Head of Marketing, NACON

Creating innovative games that tap into expert and educated consumers is proving to be a successful formula for video game and accessory companies.

In the highly competitive video gaming arena, creating unique products for consumers remains a major challenge. Industry experts also underline the importance of being agile, flexible and willing to respond and react as trends change.

Finding the right segment of the market

While major players continue to dominate market share, a secondary tier of companies are being innovative in the games and accessories they produce and market. One of these companies is NACON, which have carved a strong position in the video gaming industry as creators, developers and publishers of video games and designers and manufacturers of gaming accessories.

Stepping away from giants such as FIFA and NBA basketball video games, its products tap into consumer interest in rugby, tennis, cycling and skateboarding. “Our positioning when it comes to developing games is to find the right segment of the market, where there is also business potential but talking to very educated, expert and engaged players,” says David Talmat, Head of Marketing for NACON.

Creating unique experiences

The company produces a variety of games, including simulator games and action-adventure games. Simulator games allow players to experience the life of people doing specific jobs, such as chefs, train drivers or taxi drivers. Action adventure games are targeted toward hardcore gamers and include combat-driven games, such as Steelrising, which is based on the French Revolution; and Ravenswatch, which explores nightmare scenarios.

They have a history of developing licensed-based games. For example, a RoboCop game is scheduled for release in November, and other titles will be released during the back-to-school season. Talmat says: “We are creating unique experiences and have a dedicated licensing department that signs deals with brands to put in our games.”

We are creating unique experiences and have a dedicated licensing department that signs deals
with brands to put in our games.

Growth as a games developer

NACON went public on the French stock exchange in March 2020, just before the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, which saw video game sales rise. The company raised €110 million and used the funds to acquire 16 different development studios, representing around 900 developers. This move transformed them from a publisher and accessory specialist into a full-fledged games developer. Talmat says: “We acquired those studios because they developed games that were in line with our DNA, ambition and strategy.”

They also acquired several expert development studios, including KT Racing, an expert racing games developer; and Big Ant Studios, an Australian studio that specialises in sports games. The goal is to give these studios the autonomy and resources they need to make better games every year. This strategy has already paid off, as their games have received significantly higher Metacritic ratings in recent years.

Offering premium accessories

Premium accessories are a major part of business, accounting for around half of its operations. This focus on accessories has been led by Yannick Allaert, who heads the accessory business unit and joined the company as Falc’s first intern 38 years ago. While brick-and-mortar retail sales have declined due to the rise of digital sales, there is still value in having a network of retailers and distributors in more than 100 countries. This allows the company to reach a wider audience and provide its customers with the best possible experience.

Understanding consumer demands

Picking the right partners and bringing new experiences to market for consumers is critical to surviving in a highly competitive field. “Consumers are more and more demanding, and more expert, so you have to bring something different for them,” Talmat explains. “To do that, you need to have all the ingredients for success: creative people, good marketing, innovation, flexibility, trend-setting and an understanding of your consumers.”

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