As consumers, we usually do not like change and even when it occurs we can choose to focus at an affected product class as if it was consistent even though it has changed dramatically. That thought came to mind when we learned that more people are watching video on the Xbox than on iPads. Quite apparently, the Xbox 360 has become the most successful non-cable set top box tuner in the market. Video and gaming are becoming peer services and it is just a matter of time – until someone is able to connect the dots.
The Future of Gaming and TV Shows
At this time, gaming and TV watching are two very distinctly different activities and historically they used different hardware (and only shared a display and often that was just in the kid’s room), but now they are increasingly sharing the full hardware suite and will be offered as part of a suite of services from both cable companies and TV OEMs.
There have been attempts to wed gaming and movies particularly with Blu-ray media, but these attempts had to default to base technology inside the Blu-ray player which is far below what is available on Google TVs, and in services like Gaikai and OnLive.
If you were to take those early attempts, but now allow developer’s access to a full gaming engine you could create a vastly different experience where a game could be embedded into a movie and watchers could, if they choose to do so, drift out of the movie and participate in the game tied directly to the scene elements they were watching.
Say you were watching Star Wars and, as in most movies, there are things that happen between scenes that the director wasn’t able to flesh out. They could be fleshed out in an in-movie game break. Take the Empire Strikes Back during the escape sequence in from the planet, the audience could extend the sequence and take over the heavy gun emplacements and cut through the blockade allowing the fleeing ships to escape, if they didn’t kill a certain number of ships the movie wouldn’t continue until they did. With a full gaming engine the experience could be close to photorealistic and the shift between the movie and the game much more seamless and likely make the movie more interesting to run over and over again (not that folks seem to have trouble watching Star Wars over and over again).
Games are often used to flesh out backstories, but these efforts could be more closely tied to actually watching the movie than they are now. As people are watching a streamed movie they could be asked if they want the full experience which would allow them to explore the world the movie is in, engage in back story conflicts, or simply enter a virtual world where other people who are watching the movie, or who also want to meet people who watched it, meet and talk about it. The virtual world would be consistent with the movie. And 3D and other effects could function, say you wanted to drive the Batmobile, or see what it might have been like to travel from Krypton as the baby Superman those could be options.
Also, the technology could be used to embed products real-time into the movie stream (be surprised what you can do if you have some power available) and people in certain regions or with different interests would see things they were most interested in.
The Beginning of Massive Change
By placing gaming engines into video viewing experiences the industry has an opportunity to rethink how gaming and moves interrelate and there is an opportunity to do something symbiotic benefiting both. Granted, most initial attempts will likely fall below expectations but eventually the break between what is in a movie and what is in a game may be all but indistinguishable. When movies and games begin to fully merge, the revenue potential for both could explode and then just imagine what would eventually need to happen in theaters. There are undoubtedly interesting times ahead.
About the author:Rob Enderle is Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group, 389 Photinia Lane, San Jose, CA 95127 (Phone: 408-272-8560; E-mail: email@example.com) Rob is an avid MMO gamer and has been covering or playing them since the mid-80s. During his down time he is also the Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group which covers emerging technology and related trends. He spends much of his time providing clients with roadmaps to the future, doing SWAT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis on strategies, and evaluating hardware and software. In short, he gets paid to have a great deal of fun. Rob writes for a variety of publications and appears regularly on FOX Business News, CNBC, NPR, and Bloomberg. He also has a semi-weekly spot on WSJ radio. Prior to forming the Enderle Group he was the Senior Research Fellow at Forrester, VP at Giga Information Group, and Senior Analyst at Dataquest. Prior to becoming an analyst he worked at IBM, Siemens, and ROLM. He holds an AA, BS, and MBA with emphasis on Merchandising, Marketing, Manpower Management, Computer Science, and Business.