My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Apple iPad and Video Game Piracy - The Saint

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Apple iPad and Video Game Piracy - The Saint


‘Twas a thief said the last kind word to Christ
Christ took the kindness and forgave the theft

R. Browning, The King and the Book

The secretive Video Game Industry is losing money, according to the article “September another rough month for game industry”, published October 15, 2010 9:01 AM PDT by Don Reisinger, CNET News - The Digital Home.

According to statistical data coming out of the Video Game Industry, not to be confused with Gaming [gambling] analyst NPD stated that in the United States of America hardware sales have take a dive, hitting the pockets of the  Video Game Industry with a loss of 13% year on year to $3.09 billion. Software [game titles] sales have declined year on year by 8% to $4.93 billion.

Aside from the fancy large numbers, and the rest of the article, hyperlinked for your reading perusal and interpretation, the rhetorical question is glaringly obvious; Why the Surprise?

Recessions do that to businesses, folks. Plus that was the same news last month, no statistics needed, just another annoying article reference for the reader to plod though on my blog; “Video game sales drop 10 percent in August”, published September 9, 2010 6:23 PM PDT by Steven Musil, CNET News - Gaming and Culture.

And the month before. And the one before that….

Even the popular Nintendo Wii, a sign not boding well for the other game Consoles Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft XBox that have jumped on the motion control bandwagon. The Video Game Industry is still in a slump, even after the launch of the various game titles and related content made their debut at E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo) and Comic Con.

Plus with the debut of the Apple iPad on the weekend of Saturday April 3rd and Sunday April 4th 2010 and Online Video Game Piracy possibly being fuelled in much the same way that the Apple iPad and the Amazon Kindle was rumoured to be fuelling e-book piracy as speculated by CNET Blogger David Carnoy in the article “Is iPad supercharging e-book piracy?”, published May 14, 2010 12:32 PM PDT by David Carnoy, CNET News.

This is now proven to be a strong possibility, based on statistical analysis done by a company called Attributor as stated in the article “New study suggests e-book piracy is on the rise”, published October 6, 2010 4:54 PM PDT by David Carnoy, CNET News - Crave, this decline of Video game sales may be accelerating, a fulfillment of the prophetic words of Hideo Kojima who intoned: “In the near future, we'll have games that don't depend on any platform.

Gamers should be able to take the experience with them in their living rooms, on the go, when they travel - wherever they are and whenever they want to play. It should be the same software and the same experience” as stated in the article “Japan’s Video game visionary: the console is dying” published Wednesday April 7, 8:44 am ET by Kevin Krolicki, Reuters, Yahoo! News.

For those who are not initiated or worse, have been living under a rock for the last twenty five (25) years or so, Hideo Kojima is the creator of the Metal Gear Solid series game saga of Video games that began in 1987.

He made this bold declaration at no more fitting a place and time than the launch of the new Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker game for PlayStation Portable (PSP) for Konami Corp. – much to the discomfort of the Sony Computer Entertainment Japan President Hiroshi Kawano who nervously intoned: “It's a bold prediction. We hope he continues to develop for platforms, but we deeply respect his sense of taking on a challenge.”

Possibly Hideo Kojima was hinting at the rise of the popularity of the Apple iPhone and other smart phones, at the time they were just ready to bust on the scene, were emerging as more viable and popular gaming platforms for Video game developers as stated in he article “Could phones become 'viable threat' to gaming devices?”, published August 10, 2010 12:42 PM PDT by Don Reisinger, CNET News - The Digital Home.

Maybe David Carnoy’s next article would be on Video Game Piracy being supercharged by the Apple iPad as per the words of Hideo Kojuma, as like e-books, Video games are popular content that can be consumed on the fab new Apple iPad, especially as “jail breaking” Apple products, is now legal albeit not guilt free as stated in the article “Apple: Jail breaking an iPhone will (still) violate your warranty”, published Tuesday 27 July 2010 by Ben Patterson, Technology Writer, Yahoo! News.

This is further elucidate in the article “On Call: Go ahead an jailbreak, its legal now”, published July 27, 2010 2:20 PM PDT by Kent German, CNET News - Dialed In.

But the Apple iPad just launched about six (6) months ago, so albeit it stands a chance at making the Laptop and the netbook obsolete, these are not gaming rigs and as such it does not go far enough to explain the decline in Video Game sales. What was causing the decline before the Apple iPad burst onto the scene, aside from the blame-it-all-on the-recession explanation?

It may be in fact, due to not just piracy both cause by the new form factor Apple iPad and general Laptop and PC but it could simply be that people are simply not feeling the Video Game Industry any more.

After all, FaceBook offers the addictive Zynga’s Farmville along with other game titles, free, playable over the Internet with friends, and does not require expensive gaming rigs and for the Video Gaming Industry, represents the only source of growth in a stagnant American Economy as stated in the article “Gameworld: A virtual farm turns new ground for game developers” published Thursday March 25, 9:48 am ET , by John Gaudiosi, Yahoo! News.

The death of the Video Gaming Console, ironically, may actually be Social Networking website FaceBook, as nothing attracts people like free. The new kids on the block, such as Zynga and their highly successful Farmville and Café World, with audiences as wide as FaceBook is large, as well as Bigpoint, Playdom, and Playfish make their revenue from in-game purchases as well as from advertising and data mining of the Social Networking profiles of the gaming participants.

Social Gaming, as opposed to the lackluster Console Gaming, has grown from revenues of US$600 million in total revenue in 2008 to approximately US$1 billion in 2009 and 2010 is forecasted to see revenues of US$1.6 billion in 2010.

2011 being the Year of the All-Electric Vehicle, earnings can only increase, as the games are free, especially if you already have a PC or Apple iPad. Michael Pachter, videogame analyst for Wedbush Morgan Securities, says it best: “The growth rate should remain very high at around 40 percent each of the next three years, so my guess at 2011 is around $2.2 billion, 2012 at $3 billion 2013 at more than $4 billion”.

Even Telecom Provider Digicel has caught on to the Social Gaming craze, having launched the highly successful Digicel BlackBerry Bonanza game on their FaceBook page, much to the delight of its many fans as stated in the article “Digicel launches Panmedia designed game”, published Monday, 07 June 2010 Written by TechJamaica.com.

Need I say more?

Hideo Kojuma was right. The gaming experience will not only be portable on any device, not just the Apple iPhone or the Apple iPad, but it will be driven, ironically by Social Networking. Did I forget to mention free? Nothing beats free, aside from getting money for free.

This makes recent news of a Bing and FaceBook partnership as stated in the article “Microsoft's FaceBook stake: Maybe not so crazy”, published October 13, 2010 2:01 PM PDT by Caroline McCarthy, CNET News - The Social.

Skype’s Partnership with FaceBook as stated in the article “The New Skype: Now with Facebook integration and group Video calling”, published October 14, 2010, 12:28pm PDT By Sam Diaz, Between the Lines - ZDNet look more like future proofing, as Social Networks, thanks to these new portable always connected gadgets, follow you everywhere you go.

Shouldn’t your Television Viewing experience and Video Gaming experience be likewise? Local Jamaican Telecom Provider LIME seems to think so, which is why the debut of Mobile TV  in the Christmas of 2010 AD as stated in the article “LIME goes Mobile TV”, published Saturday August 28th by Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Provided that the phones are 4” AMOLED screens with HDMI support, running Google Android and the right price for a thirty (30) day subscription, it will be a success.

More time, folks, as the Thief of the Video Game Industry, Social Gaming, is forgiven in the eyes of John Public; people are just more into FaceBook and free-to-play online games than ever before, and the pricey alternatives with their lackluster hardcore followings is just not, well, social enough.
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