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New web series Game Theory warns industry to prepare for doom

You may not know it when you walk into Best Buy and see every teenager in the store in the video game section, or when you read about some Facebook game that turned a college student into a millionaire, but a lot of people in the gaming industry are shaking behind the scenes. And a new self-described online documentary says the one who will really feel the hurt ... is you.

Gamer andindustryanalyst Scott Steinberg has launched a new online series called Game Theory, which takes a look at the trends in video games and manages to get some off-the-cuff remarks from some of the industry's heaviest hitters.

And you know what they say - the bigger they are, the harder they fall. That's the message behind the first episode of Game Theory, which spells out ableak future in which more video game developers, like independent game makers,compete forsmaller profits all around.


Above:Get it? Because we're all doomed? Eh? Nobody?

One talking head on the show, fellow analyst Michael Pachter, goes so far as to almost suggest that it's not fair to the developer if you want to play Call of Duty for 300 hours but only pay once for the game. He makes a good point, though, in that 10 years ago most people would play a game for six hours until they "beat" it. Now, you beat it and then play multiplayer for hundreds more hours.So how far can developers stretch that $60 purchase before it actually starts to hurt them? Is nickel-and-diming players for downloadable content a sustainable approach?

Steinberg, who isn't nearly as smug as his light-speed scripted patter would indicate (at one point he rationalizes that gamers have become "chumps, shackled by reality,") leaves viewers with some very pointed questions, like, "If today's fans include everyone from tween girls to grandmothers, why do most games remain focused on teenage male wish fulfillment?"


Above: Scott Steinberg asks tough questions. Answers might cost ya.
Hey, he's gotta make a living as well, right?


GameTheory is pretty focused on the industry/business side of things, and obviously Steinberg probably wouldn't mind if a few more companies hired his consulting firm as a result. But there's still a lot ofinteresting discussionhere, as well as some genuine insight into what game companies are faced with in today's market. You can check it out atGameTheoryOnline.com.

Aug 3, 2010