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That was the biggest launch day ever for any piece of entertainment—any movie, any record, anything at all. It is, according to the criticsa very, very good game.
Last year, the category-leading first person shooter Call of Duty: It took Avatar, the top-grossing movie of all time, two days longer to earn the same amount. Why is the video-game industry on the ascendance? And are there any lessons that the movie and to a lesser extent, the music industry can take from its success?
I asked a couple of industry experts: Here are their takeaways on what makes gaming the top dog of the entertainment industry.
The most obvious reason that piracy plagues games less than other forms of electronic media is the existence of specialized gaming machines.
That said, overall domestic box office is pretty much flat since Players build a persistent identity, form relationships, and chat online with others.
More and more genres of games, from shooters to sports, have some kind of social experience built in, and operate more as a service than as a product, says Della Rocca. You cannot pirate a service! Not only is this arguably more engaging for people, the economics work out better too.
Musicians are making more and more of their money from full-immersion social experiences—that is, concerts and festivals —rather than recordings.
Music subscription services like Spotify with social features are also growing, though none of them seem to be as sticky or as social as the best platform games. TV has done a better job of this, but not in a way that directly generates revenue.
Going to the movies just takes too long, says Meloni. Games, by contrast, are going more and more portable and flexible. Some, like Call of Duty, have introduced lightweight versions meant to be played on mobile devices.
Others, like Clash of Clansoffer some of the fun of massive multiplayer games—forming teams, conducting raids—but in much shorter, more manageable chunks. And then there is the absolutely enormous category of casual, puzzle-style games like Jewel Quest and Candy Crush Saga.
More and more games are switching to freemium models, where it is free to play, but you pay for in-game services and upgrades. Could the movie industry steal this concept? But has anyone really attempted to spend millions of dollars spinning out a Lord of the Rings-style cinematic narrative across multiple platforms?
Meloni says an overlooked reason for the rise of gaming is that its core audience is getting wider, not narrower. Della Rocca has an example from—yes—the game industry. Like much of Asia, there was no viable game business since everything was pirated.While comparing the different film iterations of Little Shop of Horrors isn’t exactly cut-and-dry, it’s safe to say that Oz’s version is significantly more popular than the B-movie.
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