Will Games go the way of Comics?

I found this quote from the Dr.Jenkins interview pretty interesting.

I think video games are at a crossroads. The question is whether we will walk down into the bowels of the earth to buy games, the way we currently buy comics, or whether we will walk up to consume them, the way many of us go to the movies. By this I mean, will games be a narrow niche media which you never even see unless you are already a gamer or will it become a broad mass media which has high visibility even to those who go infrequently?

Right now, the industry loves to brag that the American gross sales of video games is close to or surpasses the gross domestic box office for Hollywood films. This is indeed impressive economically but realize, given the price differential, that this still means that something like ten times more people buy movie tickets for every game sold. As long as games remain a niche medium, they will be susceptible to this moral panic rhetoric. And as the comic book industry found in the 1950s, if they give in to that rhetoric, they probably will forever lose out on the chance to become a mainstream media.

Media in fact are most susceptible to such attacks at the moment when they are moving to diversify their markets but the public still perceive them as primarily targeting children and youth. In the 1950s, comics were aiming older with horror and crime comics and they got slapped down by media reformers accusing them of selling violence to kids because most of the public had not kept up with the changes in their content and demographics. The same thing is happening now. GTA3 reflects the older slant of the game market but it is being read as if only kids played games. This is a very dangerous situation which demands a real commitment to public education if it is going to change.

Are games big enough to keep pushing forward or will we eventually hit a brick wall and slide down into the a comfortable niche that is never fully embraced by the public?

Two words on why games will never go the way of comics.

""The Sims""

Yeah,I find it hard to believe game''s will ever hit that brick wall. I''ve buying systems since the Atari 2600, and I don''t see myself stopping ever! If even half the kids that have PS2''s today''s stay gamers as they grow older their is always going to be a good market for games.

...I hope...

"Drunkagain" wrote:

Yeah,I find it hard to believe game''s will ever hit that brick wall. I''ve buying systems since the Atari 2600, and I don''t see myself stopping ever! If even half the kids that have PS2''s today''s stay gamers as they grow older their is always going to be a good market for games.

...I hope...

You could make the same argument about comics though. Many of todays older fans are people who read comics as a kid. Dr. Jenkins makes a very good point about the price difference between a game a movie. For every $50 game I buy, I could have bought 20 or so comics. Not to mention having to buy that console or computer upgrade to play the games in the first place.
Of course, games, as well as comics, need new customers to survive, so they both try to get kids involved, to insure another generation of paying customers. Really, I think the two industries are very similar. Hollywood is finally starting to come out with good comicbook movies, and they''re almost there on video game movies.

Some thoughts:

I think video games are fundamentally incompatible with mass consumption. Games require a relatively substantial initial investment (PC/Console) that is doomed to obselescence, the games themselves are more expensive than other media, and they (should) take more time to finish playing than it takes to watch a movie.

Movies are cheap and quick, if you hate a movie, you''re only out less than $10 and around 2 hours of your life, as opposed to the $50 and 30+ that a bad game might wind up wasting.

Anyone can watch a movie, while games require something (interaction/skill) from the participant. I would guess that cuts the potential customer base down pretty sharply.

What games do have going for them is that gamers aren''t quitting when they reach a certain age, which is also what comic books have working in their favor.

IMO, when companies try to cater to the largest audience, quality suffers (BMX-XXX being the popular whipping-boy/example), so keeping video games out of the mainstream may be elitist snobbery and kill off some of the smaller companies, but I''m guessing that in the long run, we''re all the better for it.