Goodbye Game Systems

At some point we're going to stop using the word "Game System."

It's barely relevant now.  The XBox in my household has long stints as a video player, and before it that was my major use for the Wii.  Social media is integrating into everything.  Even "games" are changing into other things.

On top of that, games are going everywhere, from websites to phones.  A phone is a "gaming" device now.

So at some point, I think we're going to have to ditch the term "Game System" because Game Systems won't be about games alone.

At some point they'll be "media devices" or "entertainment systems" (much as some computers are pitched).  Oh sure it may be a tablet, or a phone, or something, but it won't be thought of as primarily a "gaming" system.

Now think of what that means geekonomically:

  • When the language changes, you have to change marketing tactics.  Smart marketers that can see this shift can market the devices that replace mere "gaming systems."
  • Technologists have to figure out just what these expanded systems do and don't do – and should and shouldn't do.  The range of what a product does gets fuzzier.
  • Developers . . . well you know what you're going through.  Get ready to find decisions about graphics, SDKs, and platforms getting a might more confusing.
  • Game developers will have to further think over demographics more carefully when pitching things on a device, distributing, etc.
  • What will happen to "game" websites in their coverage?  When games are everywhere and there's no true gaming device, there's a shift in reviews, classifications, and what is appropriate coverage.
  • The social and cultural impact of games will be further caught up in other media, and thus analyzing it or reporting on it is more complex.  Maybe on the plus side it'll minimize the various outbursts of "games are evil."

Someday, probably in the next decade, there will be no more "game machines."

Are you ready?

Steven Savage