Gathering TWiGs – January

Twenty-Ten. Two Thousand Ten. It doesn’t matter how you say it as long as you remember it’s 2010 and not 2009 on those checks you have to write up. This year the beginning of 2010 is marked by significant game releases through many of the opening weeks of the year. Fortunately for me, that also means there were plenty of topics to consider for each of my gaming posts. Let’s have a look at my selection.

On Flipping and Flopping (1048)

Last month I stated that I do not believe now is the time for 3D to make its way into our homes. I still believe that. Looking at the market penetration of HDTV; I still think there’s plenty of room for those televisions to grow in prevalence before we find the next big thing. However, CES has spoken: 3D is coming, fast. Assuming the technological Nostradamuses are correct and all of the tech demos on the CES floor were more than just a proof of concept, you will be asking Santa for a moderately priced upgrade to your home theater system. Just be sure to get glasses that sit comfortably on your nose; they are a real pain.

On Realization and Recoil (1062)

With the recession finally reaching interactive entertainment, projects that were once a fun side project must be contracted. Teams need to be downsized. Developers and publishers will be slowly returning to their comfort zones. Until companies can afford to branch out again we will be hearing more about returning to “core competencies” and refocusing on what is most likely to be a sure thing.  But I do not think this is the end of the world, real or virtual. I’m willing to sacrifice the short term’s lack of quantity for a more stable long term business plan. Assuming these companies could keep to it, we will be much better off. Take the time to ensure a level of consistency and quality and gamers will return the favor.

On Rock and Roll (1049)

In its favor, the Rock Band Network will work perfectly with the recently introduced Rock Band Music Store. Over 1000 songs currently available to download, all from the comfort of your all-too-cluttered Xbox 360 Dashboard. Impulse purchases no longer require a game disc now that all of Harmonix’s downloadable content is available in a centralized location. Adding the Rock Band Network merely requires a new blade to be added to the interface, and like magic an entirely new catalog of music is ready to be consumed. Of course now the only issues are whether gamers will a) notice the new content, and b) purchase it. The latter is entirely out of the content creators’ hands, but it can be heavily influenced by the former.

On Eyes and Pads (1203)

One of the larger points of interest is how the iPad will be received as a gaming device. While the interface hasn’t changed, the real estate has, providing some interesting options for developers, hopefully for the better. A larger screen can allow for the development of iPad-specific games with more detail and increased complexity, but this might also allow for a new tier of pricing justifying the resources necessary to create and experience these newest games. It could happen. Obviously we will have to wait and see if the iPad is the next step in gaming on Apple devices; that verdict will be decided by you and me. But if initial impressions are any indication, this is not the future, at least not yet.

As always, these posts have also been featured on Talking About Games.

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