Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The times they are contracting

With all the buzz over the launch of controversial videogame Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, and its surrounding hype regarding the controversial civilian airport shooting scene, one could be forgiven for thinking that the videogames industry itself has been recession proof. The UK launch saw the game receive the red carpet treatment that's normally the reserve of Hollywood film premieres.
Indeed, one of the interesting cultural shifts has been of consumers away from traditional media forms, such as TV and newspapers, towards videogaming instead. The figures are quite staggering. Annual revenue globally for videogames are expected to reach $68 billion by 2012

However, news is coming through today that both EA, one of the best known videogame producers, and Adobe, the global brand that changed the face of image editing and document production/distribution, are shedding jobs aplenty. You can read more about EA here and about Adobe's job losses here.

Given that much of the Western world is either clambering out of a global slump, or showing signs of receovery, this should give us pause for thought. What's going on?

For my ha'penny's worth, I think it could be linked to the rise of cloud based free applications, such as the rather good Google Apps, plus the increase in cheap gaming platforms like the Apple iPod Touch. Apple's move to digital distribution has shown how costs can be reduced, while driving up the numbers of units purchased, because cost of ownership is cheap, making consumers more willing to take a punt.

What might this suggest? That traditional production and distribution models are changing and that maybe, in terms of digital content, we're only just at the beginning of the Long Tail.

No comments: