Will Games Replace Movies?

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The New York Times had an interview the other day with one of the execs of Rockstar, Hillary Clinton’s favorite video game company. 🙂

There’s a couple very interesting quotes from the article:

“Games are going to take over from movies as the mainstream form of entertainment, but why is that happening?” Mr. Houser asked in a rare interview at Rockstar’s headquarters in Greenwich Village. “Well, books tell you something. Movies show you something. But games let you do something. Some of the responsibility that the director used to take, we’re actually giving to the person playing the game. So for the person consuming the media or interacting with the art, whatever the right phrase for that is, a game is a fundamentally more engaging experience.”

I can come up with a number of objections to this, but why do I get the feeling in my gut that in the long run, he’s essentially right?

True, to take over, video games are going to have to embrace a broader range of activity. You can’t turn the Helen Keller story into a shoot-em-up (well, maybe the South Park guys could, but that proves my point.:)) You’ll need different game mechanisms.

But you could see movie/games that more resemble Myst.

Mr. Houser also makes another very interesting point:

(Speaking about the upcoming game The Warriors) “This is the fighting game for people who didn’t like previous fighting games,” he said. “I find those hard-core fighting games unplayable. You don’t want to be limited only to 15-year-old idiot savants with incredibly good hand-eye coordination. People get turned off of games because repeated failures aren’t appealing to them – because that’s what the rest of their life is like. People aren’t playing a game because they want to fail, and we need to understand that.”

This is obviously not the current hardcore gamer mentality. Yet at a time when video game budgets are becoming like Hollywood budgets, making games that can only be effectively played by fanatics makes game sales a self-limiting phenomenon. Only masochists want to pay to be relentlessly slaughtered all the time.

I’m not too sure how competitive gaming can keep the folks they have happy, and reach out, if not to Grandma, at least to rather busy Dad, but they’ll have to if they’re going to serious supplant movies and television.

Not that there will be any radical shift any time soon, this will a matter of decades, at least for certain types of entertainment.

But for the action genres, turning movies into games and games into movies is already pretty much the norm.

And really, is Doom really much different or any worse than the typical Hollywood action film?



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