Lecturer: Louis Castle, InstantAction

Our only security is our ability to change. ~John Lilly

The World Wide Web has proved to be a disruptive technology to nearly every business, especially entertainment businesses, resulting in new opportunities and growth while displacing old systems and methodologies. However, aside from the negative effects of piracy, we have never seen this explosive change in the premium games business. This talk will share one perspective on the reason change has been resisted in premium games and why it is now time for dramatic positive change to occur.

The successes of the Wii platform, iPhone games, and online flash games have hinted at a new consumer base for years leading to the explosive growth of facebook and facebook games which demonstrate a massive new market of customers of casual games and social gaming experiences.

Traditional creation of premium entertainment has become many factors more expensive while distributors have squeezed the revenue streams with rental policies that improve their bottom line at the expense of the publishers. Computer games piracy has all but destroyed the market for PC and Mac games despite huge growth in the number of personal computers in the hands of potential customers.

The combination of new low cost markets and an unsustainable traditional bricks and mortar based business has traditional premium game makers flocking to the casual games space in droves threatening to exterminate high budget premium games. This massive migration is very similar to the historical ebb and flow of PC games and console games over the past 2 decades.

Fortunately for the premium gamers in the world there are exciting new distribution technologies like thin client, progressive download and virtualized systems that promise the high quality and depth of experience found in premium console games coupled with the viral discovery and distribution evident in successful casual games.

Perhaps even more exciting is that once the overall business is freed from the shackles of physical distribution the industry will have the ability to reach massive global audiences with new forms of electronic entertainment. This will likely result in the massive growth and diversification we have seen in nearly every other business when the World Wide Web changes the relationship between consumers and the people who create consumable goods.

This is one story and one attempt at addressing these tectonic shifts in the overall industry of interactive gaming through the example of one company trying to hasten the positive change enabled by connectivity.

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