The end of an era at Screenlife

Earlier this year, Screenlife announced it would be shutting down its operations. Makers of the popular “Scene It” board games, Screenlife was an important fixture in the North American market.

A brief history on Screenlife. The company released to original “Scene It” game back in 2002. Adding DVD technology into a board game format was new and exciting. With slick production value and excellent marketing, the game was an instant hit. Entertainment behemoth Paramount Pictures purchased Screenlife in 2008.

An executive at Paramount Pictures recently commented, "The board game market is not where it used to be and continues to weaken. Given these tough economic circumstances, the only remaining choice was to bring Screenlife's operations to a close."

In the last few years, Screenlife had begun to dabble in the online and mobile game market. Some bloggers have criticized this strategy as too little too late. According to one blogger, “Consumers aren't playing board games but instead getting their gaming on mobile phones and tablets, and instead of playing together in a living room they are playing together on Facebook.”

Is this what killed Screenlife?

In reality, the board game market is far from shrinking away into oblivion. Yes, digital gaming is growing. But this has had almost no impact on traditional board games. Digital gaming is different. I have long argued that board games and digital games are not the same thing.

While there is a direct linkage between increasing sales of ebooks and decreasing sales of printed books – and as ebooks are a direct substitute for printed books this makes sense – there is no such linkage between digital games and printed board games.

Why is this?

Consumers who are buying board games are looking for traditional face-to-face interaction. Consumers who are buying board games want something physical. Consumers who are buying board games want to get away from their computer screens. That is why digital games will not replace board games.

Screenlife was a great company with great product. They will be missed.