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FB – Let’s Be Friends
So a part of you is a gamer, and you like it. You might be young or you might be a married man like myself. In either case, you struggle to keep up with the urge to get your hands on all the titles being released each month. You end up “playing” these games in your head by watching trailers, reading game reviews online or through your monthly-subscribed game magazine.
But unless you are flush with cash or working in the gaming industry, chances are you aren’t playing as many of the games out there as you would like. Enter the digital world.
Netflix did it for movies. For approximately $10 bucks a month me and my wife can be the movie buffs that we are without going broke and asking our families to lend a hand. But as my huge game collection will attest, change is always hard. I still remember the first time I went into the local GameStop to trade in my old games; there was an uncomfortable stirring inside that I have yet to make peace with really. Lets be pragmatic though, its all about the love of the game, more so than it is about having some huge collection in your closet that you can boast about to whoever will listen.
Which is why I am excited about the future of my gaming experience.
So who will offer the next Holy Grail for gaming and how fast can we be a part of the action? At $60 apiece, I can hardly wait for the Netflix model to kick in. Thankfully, it seems like the beginning of a new era is right around the corner.
Two companies stand out in their efforts to digitize the way we play games. Their ability to do so relies on their different business models as well as their compression technologies, to allow a near flawless streaming experience for their users. Internet service providers, you can start screaming now, a whole new industry in the field of bandwidth hogging players has just entered, and they wanna play too.
Onlive allows you to stream any of the games in their library for just $9.99 a month. As with Netflix though, it takes time to build a decent collection of games, however they seem to be heading in the right direction by constantly expanding the titles available by attracting new licensing contracts with game publishers. Onlive seems to hold its edge in its cheap pricing model for one. But it is also reliant on the ability to play console-based games on a cross platform basis, using your IPad, PC, and smart phones for example.
Gaikai is another company showing much promise in this new gaming digital revolution, albeit in a slightly different direction than that of Onlive. They allow players to stream game demos on their browsers through their favorite game sites or social media platforms (facebook being their main case model in this specific category). The basis of Gaikai’s model is the fact that almost all gamers would prefer to try out game demos before they bring out the dough. This allows them to generate revenue by marketing these games for the publishers and splitting the money three way between publishers, Gaikai and whoever is featuring the demo on their websites.
Exciting as it may be it remains to be seen how they will fare against the competition going out for the same revenue sources, such as Xbox Live or PSN. If anything, their revenue sharing model with affiliates seems to be casting a wider net of possible sources of income than that of their competitors, which seems to be the major oomph in their revenue engines.
As the dynamics of the gaming industry rapidly change for publishers, retailers and everyone else involved in creating and supplying games, life for gamers and how we experience games is changing in pretty significant ways as well. To get more in depth on the issues game publishers and developers are going through right now, I would recommend that you watch some of the awesome short documentary features about the gaming industry on Scott Steinberg’s website.
As for getting access to games for cheap, lets hope the hype of the digital gaming world can live up to its potential, and fast!