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Friday, March 12, 2004

OT: Atarimaggeddon

Thanks to Slashdot for this great read on the coming crash in the video game industry. While semi-satirical, David Wong makes some excellent points as to why video games are heading towards another mid-80's-like meltdown, fueled by many of the same problems that afflicted Atari, et al.
It's the Atari 2600 all over again. We didn't buy Sky Worm Attack once we realized it was just Missile Command in a different box. Will we line up for Grand Theft Auto 5 if it's the exact same thing, only with prettier texture-mapped bruises on the whores? What's the difference? Would the NES have taken off if it turned out to be just an Atari, only with eight colors of square blocks instead of four?

All it will take is some other fad, some toy, some other hobby to come along, and interest will fade. It's out there, on somebody's drawing board. Something truly new and different and novel, dammit. The market is ripe for it.

And, while the future crash he predicts provides little comfort now to the TV industry execs who are finding out that video gamers aren't watching TV during prime time these days, it might mean a wave of more folks looking for something else to do with their spare time in a few years. Something like... baseball? Nah, that'll never catch on.

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