The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 12
If you are a frequent reader of industry news then you
probably have heard talk of Sony and Microsoft's next generation consoles
implementing features that will render used games obsolete. You might've even
stumbled across an article about how this news resulted in GameStop's stock
value plummeting and how they are closing more stores this year than they are
opening. Maybe you think that is good news or bad news...or maybe you are
indifferent to the whole discussion and don't really care what happens.
Just so you're clear where I stand, because what I'm about
to say might imply a certain perspective that might not be how I actually feel
- I shop at Game Stop. I like Game Stop. I don't want to see anything bad
happen to them, certainly not financial struggles brought about by the industry
giants implementing restrictions that prevent them from providing gamers the
services that they do today. But even as I say that (or write it)...I can't help
but think the transition is inevitable, and dare I say, a lot closer to
becoming reality than what you might think. But I'm not here to talk about Game
Stop or next generation consoles or even digital distribution and persistent
online connections, at least not directly. I am going to talk about how
patterns in the delivery mechanism used by other forms of media are a precursor
of what is to come for the future of the video game console and the requirement
for a persistent online connection.
I'm not really much of a music guy, but there are a few
instances where I do listen to music - driving to and from work...and when I go
jogging or running to name a few of the most common scenarios. But for the most
part, music is not my thing. Some people love music and even have favorite
radio stations. I remember when I lived in Missouri, if I ever got up around
the St. Louis area, I could listen to KSHE 95 Real Rock Radio, the Sweet Meat.
My friends raved about that station. I never really understood why. Some people
just love their local radio stations. Nearly every car, new or old, in the
United States comes equipped with a radio. Some are basic - a good ole AM/FM
basic model. Some are more advanced - these new fangled satellite radios. Truth
be told, I'm happier that one of my cars has a built in mini-stereo jack, and
the other car has an external FM transmitter with a little mini-stereo jack.
Now why would anybody care about that...a mini-stereo jack capability?
I'll tell you why...that connector allows me (or us, if you're
vehicle is so equipped) to connect my smart phone to the car, thereby giving me
the ability to play media files on my phone and hear it over the car's
speakers. With so many apps, like Pandora for example, I not only don't need
the radio, I don't even want it. I'd much rather have a docking station or
charging station in that space (which apparently some cars also have).
In essence, digital connectivity has all but replaced the
need for a traditional radio; at least it has for me. With the power and
robustness of my smart phone, I can listen to exceedingly more content than I
can on my car's default media player (uh, the radio). Obviously there are quite
a few people out there who still use their radio and love their radio, but it
is being phased out, as more and more radio stations transition to streaming
their content over the digital spectrum instead of just the radio frequency
(RF) spectrum. (Don't worry though - radio will make a huge come back during the
Well, when you consider the changes that have occurred to
radio, you can't help but notice how it has also affected television and the
distribution of motion picture content. Sometimes I wonder why I even pay for
cable access (actually I have satellite TV, but same concept). With the
Internet I can watch all sorts of movies and TV programming streamed straight
to my TV...or my phone...or my computer.
I find it humorously frustrating that I can't rent and
stream new movies using my satellite and associated receiver...unless I hook
the receiver up to my DSL router with an Ethernet cable, then I am able to. Why
exactly do I need a satellite then? Why can't it all come via my Internet pipe?
The truth is with the right hardware and/or software, it can. I could,
relatively easily I might add, completely do away with any sort of subscriber
based cable/satellite/receiver system and completely rely on my Internet
connection to provide this service. Many people do this even today with Roku or
Apple TV. It might not be as convenient or have the exact content...yet. The
technology is there though, so it's not a matter of if but when.
Hmm, what else do we have. Phone...ah, yes the phone. Does
anybody even have an old analog phone anymore? I mean, if you use DSL you might
be required to keep the line active...but I doubt you actually use your landline
phone anymore. Most people seem to have and use their cell phone, but there are
some who desire a home phone and use services like Vonage which essentially
connects your phone to the Internet. With a capability like this, you typically
get unlimited calls including a long distance capability for a flat monthly
We don't snail mail as much anymore, we email.
We fill prescriptions, order food, shop for anything and
everything, AND look at funny cat videos...all from the comfort of our home. With
desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones...we can also do it from the comfort
of our car, our bed or even the porcelain throne.
Heck, even our "game"
consoles which don't require a persistent online connection just yet even
though most of us typically are connected as soon as we power our little magic
box on can be used to browse the Internet, watch Netflix movies, and update our
SO...that being said - with our music and our movies and our
telephone service all transitioning to a digitally connected network AND with a
majority of us already having our video game players connected to this same
Why would our video game box not meet the same fate?
The transition is inevitable and the question isn't "if" it
will happen it is "if it will happen with the launch of the next Playstation
and Xbox or later in the life cycle of these new consoles."
But it will happen.
And it will happen with the next generation of consoles that
is knocking on our door now.