Semiconductor IP News and Trends Blog
Gaming Industry Leads the Way
The commoditization of amazing hardware married to the business model and development style of software has changed an entire industry.
Bly John Blyler
We, in the semiconductor industry, seldom seem to appreciate how our energies to create ever faster, more powerful yet cheaper chips have impacted specific consumer industries. For example, consider, the game development industry. My relatively brief coverage of this week’s Game Development Conference (GDC) was a real eye opener.
Here were the major trends that stood out for me:
- Emerging business models — In the beginning, games were simple and pixels were few. Almost anyone could develop a video game if they had lots of patience, embedded expertise and creative passion. Then, the big console behemoths took over with big budgets and large development groups. But today, the smaller team has returned, thanks to inexpensive development tools, commoditization of truly amazing hardware, the Apple business model and the mass-market appeal of mobile devices.
- Augmented Reality – This might be a market changer for both the game industry and the world of content creation. Watch for the April 2012 release of Nintendo/Techmo’s “Spirit Camera.” AR technology is now possible to the masses, thanks to companies like Imagination Tech, ARM, String and others. The appeal of this technology to the Alpha Influencer gamer – e.g., the growing early adopter segment – and the consumer retail market in general may take many doubters by surprise.
- On a more technical note, new system analysis tools are helping developers balance GPU, CPU, memory and network (cloud) loads in developing new mobile games.
- Like it or not, gaming and social media are the new trend. At GDC2012, Google+ announced a native client gaming platform. Following Facebook’s model but with far more content capabilities, this trend should take social media to the next level, sans Java and Flash. Again, this move has plenty of implications for game developers, content creators and even startup investors.
- Finally, gamers and development tool companies have created a democratization of intellectual property (IP) assets that is different from other industries – e.g., chips and boards – while not being open source.
I’ll follow up with conference pictures and deeper observations in the near future.