We at NCHEG extend our deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of Mark Beaumont, who suffered a fatal heart attack during the early hours of February 23. Mark was an industry veteran and visionary who began his career at Atari in 1982 and at the time of his death served as Capcom’s COO for North America and Europe. Previously he held various positions with Activision, Time Warner Interactive, Data East, Mindscape, and Psygnois.
A 1987 interview in Compute! Magazine demonstrates Mark’s foresight and understanding of an industry where software and hardware share an evolutionary symbiosis:
Consumer taste is so varied that to find one thing that appeals to millions of people would be difficult. To find a market that big, you’d need, for one thing, to have many more computers in the home. But that’s a double-edged sword. To get more computers into the home you need better software that appeals to more people. As entertainment software becomes better, more people will become interested in computers.
Mark helped transform entertainment software, and this evolution of games drove the home PC and console market through decades of growth and societal penetration.
In a 2007 interview from gamesindustry.biz, Mark, then leading Capcom’s European arm, continued to explain the relationship between console platforms and entertainment software, this time adding new considerations concerning the role of platforms in international markets:
Q: As a publisher, when do you start deciding which platforms to offer stronger support for?
A: 24 to 36 months in advance [laughs]. We have to make those calls well before we know how things are going to progress, and quite honestly that’s why you’re seeing Capcom move to a more multi-platform strategy. Not only is there some question as to who’s going to be most successful, but there’s some question as to who’s going to be most successful in each market. It’s entirely possible that the ranking of the three systems in North America will be different from the ranking of the three systems in Europe. I’m actually expecting that will probably be the case, and it will be different again in Japan. So by going multi-platform we hedge our bets; it gives us an opportunity to move with the marketplace.
It is easy to overlook how young the electronic games industry is and how quickly it has evolved. Mark’s passing reminds us of that. It also reminds us of the tremendous impact that he and other industry leaders have had not only on the industry itself, but also on our culture, affecting how we play, how we learn, and how we connect with each other. And it reminds us of the responsibility we have to preserve the history of that legacy. NCHEG recognizes and appreciates the contributions of Mark and his contemporaries, and we will continue to work to preserve their legacy.