I’m always talking about how hardware influences what’s going to sell in the video game industry. It looks like EA agrees. They’re focusing on new technologies that can be used with existing installed hardware.
IPTV, Internet Protocol Television, is something most people can upgrade their current entertainment systems to utilize. Netflix has been successfully streaming high definition full-length feature films at an affordable price for quite awhile. Consumers with an HDTV and Internet access can purchase devices that’ll hook their TVs to the Internet and allow a whole new universe of content to be displayed on what used to be a broadcast-only device.
This is another chance for entertainment publishers to utilize transmedia principles in monetizing their brands. IPTV and the pervasive use of smartphones brings together mobile gaming and a living room audience. What once were mobile-only apps can be accessed on IPTV from the couch.
Angry Birds developer Rovio just hired a console game expert to help bring their award winning and multi-million selling mobile title to consoles. What if they could go straight to IPTV with quality that’d work on a 52-inch screen? Costs would go way down and the potential market could go way up.
EA’s COO John Schappert says, “I’m mostly interested, with all the mobile devices that are coming out, in how they’re being connected to one another and how the same IP is shared over the top.”
One transmedia principle we’d be wise to keep in mind is that the audience on different devices plays differently. They want to interact with the same brands, but the gameplay needs to fit the gamer.
A DS audience may want an easy 2D game with lots of rewards and levels. A console audience enjoys immersive 3D worlds that allow for exploration. A social game audience wants to jump in and jump out for a few minutes at a time and share the fun with friends. A casual gamer wants a game that can be played for a short time but also allows for an immersive, stress-relieving experience. Mobile players want touch screen interactivity with integrated communications
3D is growing and will be a factor in the game industry, but it’s still being figured out. Current pricing doesn’t work for the mainstream consumer, there still isn’t enough content to make most people want to upgrade and the technology still isn’t standardized.
The game industry must stay on the cutting edge of entertainment technology, but huge investment in 3D gaming at this time while expecting to make your money back soon is unwise and unlikely. Leveraging new technologies on consoles, PCs, mobile and TV offers an install base that makes for an exponentially larger market.