The Nokia 3210 was my first mobile phone back in 2001. It had many redeeming features. Its interchangeable covers, its unique ringtone, but probably most memorable of all – Snake! In an age where mobile phones were more associated with older professionals and businessmen the 3210 was marketed towards teenagers and young professionals. Part of their strategy in making mobiles more mass market was to install the game Snake where users would navigate around the screen attempting to consume bait (a dot) whilst trying not to run into the screens border.
Fast forward to today, its 2015, and with the advent of the Smartphone came a multitude of game apps from Angry Birds to Minecraft which you can download at a cost and immerse yourself in. Gaming enthusiasts have seen the way they access and consume content change vastly from years gone by. Owners of your traditional Nintendo and Playstation consoles need not go down to the local Game store to purchase the latest releases but can access them from the manufacturer’s internet stores. This has brought about the same worries faced by the film and music industries though, will the industry be able to adapt and survive going digital?
The sophistication and know-how of today’s gamers who have grown up online have demanded a change in the way the industry get their product to market. As a former gamer I was a subscriber to Nintendo magazine, where I would be able to read the latest game reviews, play the latest demos which wetted the appetite for future releases, and utilise the walk through guides when at a loss. Now the magazine has shut down and switched online in the form of vlogging, demos are downloadable from the Nintendo store and walk through guides are available on Youtube with commentary instead of its former picture form with description. Nintendo Magazine (now Nintendo Direct) has decided not to go down the route of the newspaper industry and charge a premium for their online content as, unlike its news counterparts, the content provided is an extension of its marketing brief, why would people pay to be marketed to?
A criticism of gaming in years gone by is that it can be accused of being an anti-social exploit. Microsoft’s Xbox has incorporated an interactive service where, for a fee, users can access an online network of other gamers and pit their skills against people on the other side of the world.
The Gaming industry has not resisted but embraced change, it’s moved with the times, it will be exciting to see what’s in store for this upcoming decade.