Game Industry Future?

7 07 2012

I wanted to make a short blog on the future of our beloved game industry (or at least my thoughts and opinions). I hope to start some dialogue with this posting, as this topic is usually at the forefront of my mind most of the time and I would like to hear other peoples opinions. That being said, I feel we are on the cusp of a massive and dramatic change. I feel conflicted by this, because as I see it physical video game media as we know it is probably about to die (or at least become a lot less common).

I feel both sad/happy about the apparent future of our industry. Any child of the 80’s will tell you about their passionate memories of their first Atari 2600, or playing Mario on their Nintendo until it was broken (except for the magic trick of blowing into the cartridge). Then the ungodly hours lost playing RPG’s and fighting games on an SNES or Sega. Unfortunately, as it appears the direction our medium is going, the physical game product in your home is headed towards extinction. I believe it will be similar to what Netflix did to Blockbuster. With skyrocketing development/production costs, developers/publishers have to change their business models. Its been happening for some time now, but this is the first that by and large the industry is really addressing it.

As I stated I’m also excited, mainly because I see the home consoles following the PC business model. Can you imagine? a home console where you purchase games with the efficiency of something akin to Steam? Most recently, Sony purchased Gaikai a cloud based video game streaming company. Naturally people are predicting the future is just streaming all of your video games to any device from some remote location. While nice in a futuristic utopian sense, I still feel that is a long time from now. Can you imagine every user on Xbox Live and the Playstation Network simultaneously trying to stream HD video games through the internet? I would bet a fair amount of money it would be a catastrophic failure.

In closing, there is a lot of conjecture out there on what Sony and Microsoft will do next. Personally, I’m ready for change…. sorry Gamestop, you had a good run but it’s time to move on (next blockbuster). Given the volatile nature of how quickly our industry changes, I hope we as an industry majority are ready for it. I would hate to personally witness a recreation of the infamous 80’s crash. Time to think outside the box and be flexible for the next big thing as an industry. It’s always as it has been, a sink or swim scenario.