Week in Review, 3/29/2009

The word for the week was competition. There were battles raging on several new media fronts, with everyone trying to be at the forefront of "the next big thing" – in at least one case, before the technology was even launched.

I speak, of course, of OnLive, the video gaming system that started creating a hubub as soon as it was announced. OnLine claims to have developed a video compression system that will allow gamers to play across a network without downloading the games. Almost instantly, there was at least one industry expert crying that the sky was falling and OnLive would spell the end of traditional boxed-game retailing.
Of course, it remains to be seen if the system is actually going to work – but that hasn't stopped at least one potential competitior springing up, from Acclaim.

The other big battleground was E-books, where Google's Kindle, at the risk of making an incredibly bad pun, has really started a fire. Samsung threw its hat in the ring with the Papyrus, a system it says will be less expensive than the Kindle and Sony's reader, while Barnes and Noble announced its Fictionwise unit will be handling an E-book reader for Blackberry. This has the potential to be a get-rich-quick arena full of bandwagon-jumpers, a fractured market with different publishers having exclusive deals with different readers, so tread carefully if you plan to enter this field.

Gaming continued to be a hugely profitable area – we found out that the PC games market was worth $11 billion this past year. The MMO market will be worth $2 billion by 2013, and the virtual goods sold within them are extremely profitable on their own. Nintendo's Wii passed the 50 million sold milestone.

As for streaming video, a couple of companies that have been rather down on their luck lately looked to this new technology to turn their fortunes around – Blockbuster struck a deal with TiVo to put streaming content on the DVR's boxes and Sony's Playstation 3 may be joining hands with Netflix.
Hulu, meanwhile, entered into a partnership with Disney and gained an astonishing 10 million viewers in one month, putting them at the forefront of the "throw your cable box out and watch TV on your computer" movement.

At least one traditional TV network seems to be adapting to this new media world, too – CBS's coverage of March Madness basketball turned out to be a big hit on computers (no statistics were available for the iPhone stream of the games).

The rush to do everything online was keenly felt in the anime publishing industry, with Anime Insider closing its doors. Given how much of anime fandom – both the content itself and fan discussion – is now in cyberspace, it was no surprise at all.

Perhaps the best news of the week for job-hunting geeks this week may have been that their services may be extremely in demand – creativity is increasingly valued in U.S. marketplaces. Furthermore, 85% of employers who value creativity say they have difficulty finding cretive people to work for them. So if you've been honing your talents on your fan projects, they may be about to pay off greater than you imagined.