Video Games On The Brain

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July 11, 2012

Video games, like many popular forms of entertainment have been undergoing a metamorphosis. With the attention span waning and the demand for more realistic graphics and consumer interaction (i.e. online play with multiple players), it’s becoming more common to see gaming companies everywhere rapidly producing highly stylized, feature film-like episodic stories with intense animation and complicated plot lines to keep up with the public’s demand for exciting, realistic game play. For instance, the Battlefield franchise, which has developed so drastically over ten years doesn’t seem to show signs of slowing down its progression. Starting out as a computer game, the series has grown immensely in popularity and has gotten more complicated with its design. It raises the general question, “When will the evolution of video games cease? ” Though, horrifying thoughts of eXistenZ immediately come to mind when hearing that question posed, it’s exciting to see where the future of gaming is headed.

However, with the continually growing expenses of video games, one has to wonder how companies are able to stay afloat in this rapidly fluctuating global economy. Thanks to various forms of in-game advertising (IGA), the video game industry has been able to continue to produce quality games without having to drastically hike up game costs. Although, there is some debate on whether the absorption of advertising into the gaming realm is “all good.” For instance, when shooting aliens on what you thought was an uninhabitable planet then seeing a billboard for Rice Crispy Treats. An anachronism like that definitely breaks your suspension of disbelief and ruins the fantasy. Then again the president did it, so why not let everyone hop on the advertising train?

There’s also the issue of data retention and where your email/information goes when you haplessly plug it into your video game console. Long privacy agreements are forged by independent companies, like TRUSTe.com , hired in order to allay the fears of (appropriately) concerned consumers. However, even with extensive, almost nit-picking contracts there are always loopholes (and hackers), so whether the video game company is aware or not personal information can potentially be compromised. In 2011, there were numerous cases of hacking into large systems like The Playstation Network and SEGA, but luckily nothing vital was taken; credit card numbers were not stored in either of those databases. There’s always risk when putting your information online, but precautions are constantly being made to prevent hacking and theft in the future.

So, will the future of video games be steeped in ads and easily susceptible to hacking? Maybe, but most likely not. It’s just something to think about. Ok, enough about the negative! Here’s something awesome. Take it away, Tim: