We had the great pleasure of getting an interview with Clyde Grossman, Co-Founder and Katie Morgan, Managing Director about Interactive Studio Management. Katie Morgan was recently named the new Managing Director for Interactive Studio Management, Press Here for the full story.
Now in its 20th year, ISM provides world-class business development and strategic advice to interactive entertainment clients through its global team of business professionals. With operations in Europe, Asia and North America, the firm has negotiated over $1 billion dollars in advances to date.
What inspired the creation of ISM?
CG: First of all, thanks for the opportunity to talk to you about Interactive Strategic Management. As an agency, we have been so focused on growing our clients’ business over the years that we haven’t had much time to talk about ourselves. After 20 years, we think it’s about time.
We started ISM after years of negotiating deals with and for independent game developers, as publishers, as developers and as agents. As ISM, we viewed ourselves as “champions of the underdogs”, advising and negotiating on behalf of indies in a world where the power lay with the publishers. We enjoyed striking deals that worked for both our clients and the publishers. My partners and I have always had different styles and personalities, which I knew would make us stronger as an agency.
What were the initial goal(s)? Have they changed or remained the same thus far?
CG: Our initial goals were the same as they are today: provide game developers with the very best business development and strategic advice to create long term success. Whether that is securing a publisher, obtaining financing, portfolio planning and management or rolling up our sleeves on some of the day to day of creating great videogame such as helping identify the right localization and QA support.
What were some of the challenges you faced?
CG: Our challenges were our clients’ challenges. The videogame industry has changed so much over the past twenty years – adopting new technologies, transitioning to new genres and platforms, leveraging new distribution methods, coming up with creative financing approaches to help a developer realize their product vision and compete in the AAA console game market – these are just a few of challenges we have tackled with our clients. We believe challenges make for opportunity.
One particular challenge that comes to mind involves our global reach. Over a decade ago, we identified the need to help European developers, but we were an English speaking, West Coast agency so we needed someone to “bridge the gap”. We recruited Francois Masciopinto, who was working in New York at the time. Francois has expanded and supported our European clients, and built our presence in Europe, interestingly creating a new need for additional coverage! More recently Joel Benton, who is located in England, has joined us, further solidifying our activities in Europe.
What were some of the "best moments" over the past 20 years in business?
CG: Some “best moments” are: helping Digital Illusions, a Swedish game developer, bring Battlefield ’42 to EA and EA ultimately acquiring them; celebrating our 10th Anniversary with our clients; recently re-signing n-Space, my first client and an original, 20 year client of ISM; and for me, personally, seeing Katie become the Managing Director of ISM.
Press Here for part 2 of our ISM interview.