From as far back as the Game & Watch in 1980 (or more likely for Americans, the Game Boy which came later that decade), people have been gaming on the go. Portable consoles have been a welcome diversion for commuters stranded on public transportation and other people looking to kill a few minutes (or hours) away from home the world over. The industry had had its share of winners andlosers over the years, but represented an attractive market for console manufacturers with 47 million units shipped across platforms in 2008.
2009 saw the release of Angry Birds on mobile phones and other devices that were traditionally not viewed as serious gaming platforms (for the purposes of discussion, “mobile” will refer to phones and similar non-traditional gaming platforms, while “handheld” will refer to the traditional gaming institutions, which includes Nintendo’s products). While the avian-flinging mega-hit was not singlehandedly responsible for the rise of mobile gaming, games like Angry Birdsand Bejeweled represented a new breed of gamers and a cognitive shift in the way people perceived gaming. Assisted by the concurrent increase in popularity of games supported by social media, shallower, but simpler-to-play games gained a foothold and began to dominate in the mobile space. To what degree did this paradigm shift affect handheld producers such as Nintendo and Sony, and how are they responding to stay relevant in the mobile gaming space? Continue reading ►Details
Most of us who were old enough to fully experience the changing of the millennium (not a given, now 13 years since!) remember the epic battle between the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Napster. Though similar services existed prior to the service, Napster delivered its music downloading application in a user-friendly package that minimized end-user effort, and almost overnight, attitudes toward pricing and intellectual property law shifted dramatically. In the face of such rapid change, how could the industry adapt without alienating customers that were ideologically opposed to their current business model? And what new opportunities did the internet offer for the artists looking to break into an industry in flux? Continue reading ►Details
Whether the rise of social media represents the tech sector’s latest bubble and whether that hypothetical bubble has already burst are topics that are rising to the top of online discussions. The print media couldn’t be more delighted to report on the subject, as social media continues to threaten the paradigm of organized news providers at large. But what caused this so-called bubble to expand in the first place? What makes social media preferable to the forms of media we had before? And are those advantages sustainable? Continue reading ►
The achievement system (formally introduced with the Xbox 360) has fundamentally changed the way we play games. Whether they’re called “achievements” or “trophies” or something else, the system is a mechanism which, if done properly, can add value to a gaming experience by increasing rewards and exposing gamers to content they might otherwise have missed out on. Further, gamers can (and are meant to) compare their achievements online with their peers and use them to win bragging rights. But for all the good that achievements can do, they’re a mechanism that are very easy to get wrong, and when they’re a requirement for developers (as they are on the Xbox 360), console manufacturers are creating a recipe for disaster. Continue reading ►Details
Professional wrestling entered its golden years in the 1980s. The WWF (now WWE) had formed a major national organization where before multitudes of local promotions fought (and often were forced to cooperate) for recognition and precious television time. As the years progressed, other major organizations such as WCW and ECW rose and fell, and performers such as Hulk Hogan and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin rose to power and faded into legend. The industry matured and further consolidated, until eventually only the WWE was left standing with any significant market share in the United States. The company stood alone and victorious, but faced a new kind of problem–somehow, despite its previous ubiquitousness in society, it had become profoundly un-cool to talk about professional wrestling. 1999 averaged a Nielsen rating of 5.9 for the program, but 2011 was scoring about 3.21 on average. Attitudes had changed, but with social media roaring into the mainstream, might it be possible for the WWE to jump on the hashtag bandwagon and nurse the company back to relevancy? Continue reading ►Details