Are Gaming Consoles Getting Too Bloated?

In the opening chapter of Seeing What’s Next, Clayton Christensen identifies potential consumer groups that he considers crucial to the success of disruptive innovations in technology. [1]  I am particularly interested in how this applies to video game industry.  Like any other sector, the video gaming market has wrinkles in it, which are inefficiencies that can be exploited.  With Sony and Microsoft at the cutting edge in terms of computing power and licensed content, these wrinkles offer different players openings to attract overshot potential customer groups. Continue reading

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COM 546 Preliminary Term Project Ideas

Sitting down to think about my COM 546 term project, I’m torn.  My passion and background is in film, so I would definitely enjoy a deeper examination of historical distribution models and speculate as to where the industry is headed.  It’s an interesting time to study this subject in light of Directv’s recent announcement that it will begin offering movies from several Hollywood studios on VOD a mere 60 days after their release (at $30 a movie, which is a reasonable price for families).  Just a few years ago the now-standard four month window for DVD on most movies was seen by many in Hollywood as cheapening the allure of movies, thus shooting themselves in the foot.

Alternately, I am excited at the opportunity to learn about something new.  I would like to explore the evolution of video game consoles and the current push by Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony to turn them into one-stop-shop devices for all of the consumer’s entertainment and informational needs.  Further, there are disrupters in the mist such as OnLive that are trying to remove the console from people’s homes all together by streaming AAA titles to their own inexpensive proprietary device capable of playing titles from all three.  Their presence has likely played as much of a role in the development of technologies like the Wii’s motion controller or Xbox’s Kinect, and PlayStation’s Move as competition among each other.

I realize that there could be elements of the first idea in the second.  I would have to be careful to narrow my focus enough to not get in over my head.  I’m anxious to read everyone else’s ideas and get some good push back on what I’m considering.

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My Preliminary Learning Goals for COM 546

As people get older, they face the very likely possibility of being left technologically behind. The world is advancing at an ever accelerating rate and the life span of any given technology is shrinking.  Gaps in comprehension and adoption of new technologies no longer just span generations, many now create divisions in people only a few years apart. As professionals in digital media, studying historic trends and the reasons behind others’ successes and failures will provide valuable insight into where we might be headed.  I am thrilled at the idea of spending time in the  past (both distant and recent) to help us come up with theories on our future.

Additionally, I was happy to hear that presentation skills are a core competency of the course.  Before my recent career change into the production of digital entertainment, I spent years pitching stories for potential movies.  It was my least favorite part of screen-writing in Los Angeles.  In my current position as a producer at Xbox, I will increasingly be required to give PowerPoint presentations and orchestrate multimedia demonstrations. My skills are improving, but I’m eager to really develop my ability to successfully pitch ideas and engage audiences through emotional narratives to build useful and entertaining experiences for our users.

I look forward to a great quarter!


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