Goat Simulator is shaking up the traditional simulation game market

Industry veteran Robert Stallibrass on how it's shaking up the traditional PC simulation game market
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The game that started out as a bit of a laugh - Goat Simulator - is shaking up the traditional PC simulation game market, argues Contact Sales/Excalibur Publishing MD Robert Stallibrass.

Goat Simulator was phenomenally successful. It was number one on Steam and it’s been in the PC charts. 

I think these new kind of ‘comedy sim’ titles – Grass Simulator, Rock Simulator and Catlateral Damage – will all do very well. 

I take my hat off to the developers because they make me chuckle. Life can be a bit too serious sometimes; we all need to take the micky a little bit and have fun. But I think the difference is that our (Excalibur) products are true-to-life simulations. You can actually drive a truck, you can actually drive a train and you can actually farm a product.

But in the nicest possible way – in regards to Goat Simulator – how many goats do you see [in real life] bouncing around on the top of houses? So in a way it’s competition and in a way it’s not. 

I don’t think these titles will tarnish the ‘simulator’ name used in other more serious games like ours. I wonder if quietly they may be blazing a bit of a trail – opening the ‘simulator’ name up to other people who maybe hadn’t thought about buying a simulator game.

Maybe we should be congratulating the chaps at Goat Simulator and Rock Simulator because they’re opening it up to a lot of people who maybe thought simulators are a bit boring. So maybe I’ll send the developers bottles of champagne – thank you for opening up my market!

Not everybody wants to play Call of Duty or Gran Turismo all the time. Maybe when they’ve got ten minutes spare they’ll want to play something different like Goat Simulator and have a laugh. We’ve just come out of the biggest recession in world history if you believe everything you read in the newspaper, and now I think people want to lighten up a bit.

I’d also love to distribute these kind of games. I can absolutely see the appeal. People have a massive interest in them. 

You could say these titles may give a distorted view as to what people expect from a PC game with ‘simulator’ in the title, but I don’t think consumers are idiots. They will read the back of the box or watch the video and within two minutes they will know it’s a bit of fun. And I think you’ll find the guy that bought Goat Simulator probably is a Train Sim or a Euro Truck or Farming Sim fanatic as well. 

I don’t think we should decry these comedy sim games and their place in the market. A lot of them are smaller developers and they’re getting exposure. 

I’m all for encouraging smaller, younger teams to come into the market. It’s good for all of us. It keeps us all on our toes. Some of the old dinosaurs in the industry need to get back on their toes.

The new developers are kicking us – and I think it’s great.

About the author

Robert Stallibrass is MD of PC game distributor Contact Sales and simulation game publisher Excalibur Publishing. www.contactsales.co.uk

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