Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I've been pondering a lot about the future of games ever since E3. How I parse casual, indie, and blockbuster games, their focus and budgets, and how big publishers should play in each field has been changing. I've noticed, too that my sense about consoles has been shifting -- that it seems inevitable the concept of the console will disappear altogether from our lives in sooner than later as the power of a dedicated machine is less important and their accessibility in other venues grows.

Then today, over lunch, a close friend brought up an article that showed consoles like the Wii and Xbox 360 declining in mindshare of kids for things like the iPad. It reminded me of a few years back, when portable gaming was becoming really popular in Japan. At the time, there was a lot of crying in US game development that cellphone gaming was the future. This was back when Nokia tried out the N-Gage and such. At the time I just didn't see that market having much immediate impact, and I didn't feel like the US market was in the same place as the Japanese market. Now, since the proliferation of iPhones, iPads, Facebook, and browser games, there's no question that the Western appetite for smaller, faster, and more portable games is a big deal.

The reason this struck me is because I've noticed a lot of rhetoric, lately, about the West dominating Japan in the core gaming market, the implication being that Western developers have advanced their skill to a place that Japan hasn't. The thought that popped in my head over lunch was wondering if the Japanese market is simply a few years ahead of the US market in abandoning core games. Perhaps while we pat ourselves on the back for being better developers, the truth is Japan just fled core gaming earlier, and the US isn't far behind.

Probably an old thought, but new to my bubble. Feel free to hold my ignorance against me.

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