Each year there are multiple workshops that give developers valuable tools to understand the pitching process when working with a publisher. This year at GDC Europe, the session was led by Johan Sjöberg of DDM and Francois Masciopinto of ISM and also included Bob Wallace of Strategic Alternatives, Rocco Scandizzo of ISM, Sean Kauppinen of IDEA, as well as publishing veterans Rhys Dekle of Microsoft and Fredric Wester of Paradox Interactive.

Here’s the deck from SlideShare:

Joystiq reported that:

Xbox Live now has 35 Million users

In January, there were 30 million Xbox Live users

PopCap Games announced the results of the National Gamers Surveys which found more than half of all adults in the United Kingdom, France and Germany play games.

  • Over 153 million men and women are estimated to play consoles, casual games, social network games and mobile games
  • Gamers split their time between all types of devices – but spend more money on console games
  • The United Kingdom has the highest ratio of gamers, with 68% of men and 59% of women playing games
  • In Germany, 63% of men and 54% of women play games
  • In France, 61% of men and 52% of women play games
  • The French that spend the most money per player, spending an average of £22.3 per month
  • Players in the United States spend an average of £17.5 each month
  • In the United Kingdom players spend an average of £18.6 per player
  • Germans spend £13.9 per month
  • In Europe, games are most popular in the age group  between 10 and 20-years-old, with 87% of 10 – 20-year-olds in in the U.K., 81% in France and 78% in Germany all playing games
  • Behind the US, which spends £13.2bn per year on gaming, the biggest gaming economy is Germany (£4bn from 24m payers), followed by the United Kingdom (£3.6bn from 16.1m payers), and France (£2.8bn from 10.4m payers)
  • European gamers spend more money towards gaming on console games than on casual, social or mobile gaming, with German gamers spending 34% of their gaming money (£4bn 2011 estimate) on console games compared to 8% on casual game sites, 4% on social networks and 8% on mobile games
  • U.K. gamers spend 44% of their gaming money (£3.6bn) on console games compared to 11% on casual game sites, 6% on social networks and 10% on mobile games
  • French gamers also spend 44% of their gaming money (£2.8bn) on console games compared to 10% on casual game sites, 6% on social networks and 10% on mobile games

The research was conducted by Newzoo in co-operation with Survey Sampling International Inc.

According to GamesIndustry.biz, EA has an $800 million digital business and just promoted Barry Cottle to run EA Interactive (Playfish, Pogo, EA Mobile, Hasbro, PopCap). EA is diversified with operations in Canada, Asia, Washington, Virginia, Texas and other states, and is another major publisher in the games industry to watch as the debate over online sales taxation heats up.

In our opinion, Zynga will likely be an even bigger target for lawmakers, however Zynga seems pretty savvy in California politics having already negotiated a preferred tax deal with the City of San Francisco in exchange for keeping their main operations in the city. This was a smart move by the city as well since it increased the number of jobs and the employees will be taxed on their income, and retail sales tax.

Activision Blizzard had $1.14 billion in digital sales during the second quarter of 2011, up from $967 million for the same period last year.

Digital sales were 37 percent of the company’s revenue, which as a percentage of overall revenue, was up 27 percent over the previous year.

These numbers underscore the growing importance of digital distribution for games and are additional data points showing that the market is shifting to a greater percentage of products being downloaded directly by consumers.

One thing that needs to be considered is California’s internet taxation where online sales will be subject to sales tax, regardless of where the consumer resides since the majority of Activision’s business is in Santa Monica, California. This will be an area to watch as online game companies start to fight the newly passed bill that will definitely cut into profits.

Unfortunately, California’s lawmakers don’t have the foresight to see how digital commerce jobs will be moving out of the state and into new corporate entities. For a parallel, they need only look at how Amazon has reacted to taxation of internet sales by moving operations from states that choose to impose the taxes, to those that would rather have their citizens employed and taxed on payroll and income.

We would expect to see more online game companies moving their operations and especially billing outside of California in the next 18-24 months to remain competitive and protect shareholder value.