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Sunday, April 08, 2007

An old friend goes out of business

I got the press release Friday that Matthews Simmons Marketing went out of business. The collapse of Mathews-Simmons Marketing was a shock. We all expected Mark would have to do something after the financial debacle that was Games Expo, but I don't think anyone thought it would mean shutting down his entire empire. Mark Simmons had several different activities:

Games Expo, his new trade show in Vegas venture, which crashed when 1/10 of the expected number of buyers showed up.

Publishing Games Quarterly Magazine: No great loss. It was a slick magazine where companies with more money than brains paid to have articles printed about their products.

Publishing Games Quarterly Catalog: The only thing to survive, only because it was sold to a new company owned by his employees and ex-employees. This is the industry bible and the industry cannot survive without it or something more or less identical to it. If the new guys can't make a go of it, somebody else can, I have no doubt.

National Games Week: This was one of those high-sounding ideas that nobody but Mark took seriously. In theory, lots of gamers invited friends to come to their homes and play games during National Games Week. This would get those friends excited about playing games and they would go to their game store (which they probably didn't know existed) and see signs that said "national games week" and buy games. It was kind of hard to see if this was accomplishing anything or not.

It's been known for some time that Mark was in trouble. Too many small game companies
bought expensive full color ads in GQC and GQM, got no sales, and had no money to pay for the advertising
and no real interest in doing so. At least two such companies privately told me they felt
that the likely results of the ads had been seriously over estimated and did not produce
the implied revenue, leaving them feeling cheated. Without the money he had already earned by printing the ads, Mark's empire was running out of gas.

Mark, for those who didn't hear, has a new job as the US agent for one of the Chinese manufacturing companies that does stuff for game publishers.

I knew that the collapse of Games Expo had left Mark in trouble, but I really thought
that MSM itself would survive. Pity it did not. Mark hasn't really left but he will still be missed.