As I've been contemplating the Everything Wars and content delivery, something struck me about game machines – Wii, X-Box, even DS or PSP.
It seems fairly obvious that the game machines are changing to multi-media machines, as we've mentioned before – Netflix on X-box, e-books on DS, etc. Yet it's still easy to talk about the future of game consoles, handheld games, etc.
I'm starting to think that's the wrong idea.
We need to get rid of the idea of a game machine and start talking media machines, or content machines, or something else.
It seems to be pretty clear that companies involved in gaming are part of the Everything Wars, and can get involved at all levels – from content delivery to actual technologies. They're not going to miss an opportunity for more money and market share by keeping machines limited (they've seen the iPhone, and Microsoft of course knows about full-blown systems). There's no reason to think that they're going to keep thinking of a gaming machine as a gaming machine beyond market terminology – because A) the more content they deliver the better, and B) people are already used to gaming machines being more than gaming.
So one of my wild guesses is that in the next 10-15 years (I think it will take that long for terminology changes) that companies will start doing Media Machines, a kind of small computer (portable or otherwise) that is going to be for all your media needs. It may be a mutlimedia center in your home (which we've talked about), but may also be a handheld computer (ala an advanced iPhone), and will already be tied into your video sources, game content, and favorite social media.
In short, I think gaming as we know it, based on consoles, could go away.
Of course gaming will continue, but it will doubtlessly be more DLC oriented and will be shared with a lot of different media on the same "media machine."
I don't think this is overall bad for gaming – it's inevitable – but I think it's a long-term shift we progeeks and profans need to be aware of.
In fact, we may want to take advantage of it – those media machines could be great ways to deliver comics, books, etc. beyond games . . .
– Steven Savage