Gaming Investor Discussion: Mitch Lasky (Benchmark Capital), Gus Tai (Trinity Ventures), Janice Roberts (Mayfield Fund), Tim Chang (Norwest Ventures), Jeremy Liew (Lightspeed Venture Partners), and Mark Friedler (CEO of Worlds and Games).The economy is soft, admitted the panel of venture capitalists at GamesBeat 2009. But Mitch Lasky, from Benchmark Capital, said, “We’re looking for what we’re always looking for.” And those are companies with defensible positions, companies that can create a niche they can win in. “We’re looking for great companies with great leaders.”

Tim Chang, from Norwest Ventures, added his partners are “Not investors in games, [but] investors in game market disruptions.”

Jeremy Liew, from Lightspeed Venture Partners, continued the theme by saying he’s not looking to invest in games, but to invest in game factories. He doesn’t want “just one passion play.” He wants proven developers who can make one good game after another — not those who have one great idea, but can’t sustain the pace of a “genuine game factory.”

When asked why the market is so confusing and fragmented, Lasky responds: “That’s precisely what makes it so interesting to us.” The games business, he says, has so much more opportunity than a market that’s set in its ways.