Online Revolution is no threat
Online gaming is big business. It’s so big and taken so seriously that people are even dying whilst playing, as a recent report that appeared on the BBC website demonstrates. With the world connected by the internet users can access content that previously no one would have ever dreamed could be available. Millions of games and options are now available often for a cheap price and more often for free. It is in equal parts concerning and exciting.
Mobile roaming charges
Mobile roaming chargesare having the most impact on online gaming in the west. With more users then ever before having access to Smartphones people are sharing and playing with online content more then ever before. This has presented a challenge to service providers and game publishers. The console market is still fighting strong, but a lot of industry pundits are expecting the core gaming audience to transfer fully to mobile devices within the next decade or so. I remain sceptical of this supposition. I need only point to the recent re-release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the 3DS as an example of how traditional platforms are still strong within the market.
For a game as old as Ocarina no one expected the sales to be anything more then average at best. It was a surprise to many when the game literally flew off the shelves on its first week of release. It wasn’t a surprise to me. I remember when I got my copy of Zelda on the second day of its release back in December 1998. I had been looking forward to it for over two years since it was first announced for the N64. I had even got my brother to reserve me a copy whilst I was away studying at University and I still remember the excitement I had when I first put the cartridge into the machine. The game lived up to its expectation and despite some niggling graphical flaws and slow down, it was a truly epic adventure and one that I replayed again and again over the years.
Here is the point of difference which the online gaming community hasn’t fully exploited yet. There are games that are amazing available to download online and share with friends. However there are still many games only available on disc or cartridge format. Why is this? Simply put, many people like being able to ‘feel'the game in their hands. You don’t get that online. Online gaming is a good enhancement to the game playing experience but not much more. Give it another ten years and it might be the other way round, as the latest generation that has grown up with mobile and handheld devices becomes the leading consumer. I for one believe that both traditional and online gaming compliment each other quite well with both having a place in the industry. An epic like Zelda can’t be played by more then one player, but that’s not to say you can’t share the experience online with a friend.
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