Jan 03

Games becoming appliances

Category: Gaming,Linux   — Published by tengo on January 3, 2009 at 7:40 am

The special appeal of Fax machines, the cause that makes them still linger around, is that they are "self-contained appliances" (see WIRED: Why Are Faxes Still Around?): it's easy to understand what the machine's purpose is, if you can place a call you can fax a document and nearly everyone has them so you can fax nearly everyone via a relatively low-key technology.

The same principle is beginning to leak into the gaming domain. After consoles adopted the idea to have specialised controlers to help immerse people into the game world (the Wii for example, with its Wiimote, which is a new approach and (!) an effective copy protection). Now with the karaoke hype in full effect, with Singstar and MS's Lips, no party seems to work without the obligatory game on the Playstation or XBoX.

The industry is adding to the trend and produces giant bundles of game+controler. Software/hardware combos like Guitar Hero World Tour supply the game, a plastic guitar, and a mock up drum kit in a large box than can be sold for over a hundred bucks! Gold for the manufacturers: pack simple software and cheap plastic gizmos together and you can charge a hefty price for it.

And the consumers? They follow. At last you won't like to explain complicated games to your party guests. Give them a fake guitar and they immediately know what to do - more or less. And they won't notice that your Margueritas stink. We'll see where this leads us...