Opinion: Page (1) of 2 - 06/02/05 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at MyDmn.com).print page facebook

DVD Insider: The Game, The Video, Death of the Disc?

Content kings By Miles Weston

Videogames aren't games to the people who create them and the systems are far from game systems.  Should Hollywood take more of a page from the game industry in its approach to customers?  The most poignant question: Is all the hassle over DVD media for naught?  Are they like dinosaurs?  Naw...

There has to be some illegal copying in the video game industry?it's pervasive throughout the software industry and costs firms billions each year?but they still pump out and push stand-alone and community games.  They are already into high def and broadband/wireless connectivity.
We're equally certain they go after pirates here and abroad.  Difference is, you don't see the raids and lawsuits spread across the front page of your paper/Web sites. You don't see them running to Congress with bags of money to buy a solution to their problem.
But these content developers and provides also have something Hollywood lacks?a strong connection with their customer community.  As a result there is a high level of self-policing that goes on.  The sharing that takes place is done to improve the quality of play?the user experience.
That connection is one of the things that has kept the Atari name and game play alive.
How else can you account for teams of designers at the Parsons School of Design in Greenwich Village working round the clock over a weekend in late March to develop "super hot" games for the Atari 2600.
Yes?the game system that started it all!  And surprise?there is an underground that still buys/sells systems, repairs them, develops/sells software. 

Today's Xbox, PS2, PSP and Nintendo systems have the potential of being more than just ways for people?young and old?to develop and improve eye/hand coordination, learn and enjoy the joys of winning and the agony of defeat.  They could very well become the servers for home and on-the-go entertainment.
IDC and other analysts see game hardware/software showing the way for complete home and personal entertainment solutions. Or to put it more crassly?they can become the big winners.
On the other hand, rather than focusing on the user/viewer experience and really connecting with their customers we have the MPAA (Hollywood) and RIAA (record industry).   To them it is better to invest in congressional contributions and lawyers.  They are suing everyone (some are already dead, some slightly above the poverty line, some outright thieves). 
You'd think they would have learned from the past that technology was good for them.  But the obvious sometimes escapes lawyers and accountants.
There are precedents (that's a legal word) for our optimism.
In 1908 the Supreme Court said that people who sold player piano rolls weren't violating copyright laws as long as they paid a fee to the artist for each roll. They "encouraged" Congress to write such a copyright law.  It was never about banning technology advances?just serving up fair compensation! 

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Related Keywords:Videogames, systems, game systems, Hollywood, game industry, customers, DVD media, dinosaurs, DVD Insider, Miles Weston


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