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Monday, December 22, 2003

Comments

Dan MacDonald

What you say of "our industry" could likely better be phrased the "American Game Industry". In countries like Korea and Japan, game designers and developers are celebrities. In fact, a lot of Japanese developers look more like rockstars then they do our classic developer stereotypes (Will Wright?)

I suppose I could speculate on the reasons. The gaming industry struggles with an illegitimate reputation here in the US and a sigma amongst the mainstream for being “kiddie”. In the above countries, games have broken out of this stigma (or never had it to begin with) and it’s stars have become recognized outside of the immediate developer community and by the mainstream in those countries.

kaolin fire

I'll just jump on the pass headed off, and say: these characters do have some star power. Not so much as one would like (or dislike), perhaps, but (for instance), people _do_ write fan fiction, which is certainly a form of gossip. Fan fiction is written with characters from books, games, etc. And of course, the stuff more noticeable is the slash fiction, but it all exists. People do gossip. Just (perhaps) not enough? Or I'm a blithering idiot, but I can live with that for now. La.

Daryl Pitts

I'd have to support Kaolin's comment below and say that our game characters are already stars. The fan pages out there for our stars from character driven games such as Street Fighter, Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, etc. prove this. I also believe that as our game content matures, our characters will become even more popular with mainstream audiences.

PacMan, Sonic, and Lara Croft were certainly stars of the past. And in the present, what about Tony Hawk? He's a real life star, who clearly would be identifiable as a video game celebrity. His popularity in the mainstream world has soared along with the success of the game. Even my mom (a grade school teacher) knows his name now, but interestingly, not as the great athelete, but as "that guy who makes the game for the Playstation."

Furthermore, I think you're incorrect in saying that "fictional characters [can't be stars]" Already we're seeing fictional virtual characters appear more and more on mainstream TV -- like the brilliant Andy Serkis/Gollum bit, or the Yoda bit on the MTV Movie Awards last year. In Japan, I remember seeing plenty of variety shows where they inserted popular videogame characters via greenscreen to appear as live guests.

On the other hand, since we all work behind the scenes, I can understand the frustrating blow to the ego that occurs since no one will ever know our names. But I guess its the price we play for being the "brains" behind the operation, and not the "beauty".

One day we'll have a virtual star on cover of Time Magazine:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/archive/covers/0,16641,1101930927,00.html

http://users.erols.com/mowerman/PAC_MAN.JPG

misterorange

The only way for the game industry to have celebrities is to include actors in our games, and that's a convincing reason to hope we NEVER have them!

An even more convincing reason:

When it fails, like in XIII, it fails spectacularly.

However, I thought Brian Cox did a fantastic job in Manhunt, so it all depends on the actor...

...or should I say casting.

Factory

Hmm the question is, 'What is a star?' In the article SM is not writing about stars per-say, but celebrities (as the URL might suggest). Those ppl that get snapped by photographers, go to fund raisers, endorse products, etc. Stars is just not the correct word for it.
I'd also point out that the industry is partially to blame for this. Developers are not given the recognition they deserve when they produce games, compared to say, actors, authors, or musicians. Compare books to computer games. The average book will have the authors name on the front cover, in slightly smaller type than the title. If the author is particularly popular in their field the name will be bigger than the title. The publishers logo prolly will be on the spine of the book, where the author's name is metioned again, as well as the title. On the back will be a blurb, and a number of quotes from reviews, or from other authors, usually the quotes will mention the authors name again (just in case you've missed it by now.
Erm, as for computer games, ah well the ppl that developed it will prolly get a logo tucked away in a corner somewhere.

This leads to a lack of recognisable developers, and thus game players on a whole will have a harder time making a rational descision as to the quality of a game on the shelf, which is bad for the industry in the long run.

Keith Andersch

I saw about 20 to 30 minutes of the VGAs. At the beginning and at the end. The thing that burned me most, other than the blatent "games are only for guys" attitude they were taking with it, was the publisher being mentioned as the award recipient and not the developer. I noticed this on the last award for best music in a game. Def Jam Vendetta won, which is beyond me why, and EA Big was listed as the award recipient. I have nothing against EA Big. But the credit needs to go where it's most deserving.

Daryl Pitts

Although we do have our stars, I guess we really don't have any celebs. "Celebrity Status" would require the mainstream media to take a real interest in our private lives.

Take someone like Larry Wachowski, who although he is exclusively behind the scenes in his business, the paparazzi still love to hunt him down and relentlessly discuss his sexual preferences:
http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/wachowski1.html

I guess what we really need is someone like Sam Houser, or better yet, a Big-West-Coast-Hollywood-Player like Dave Perry, to start dating Jenna Jameson, or someone like that, to really get "our guys" more in the mainstream press.

ADoomedMarine

I think the only one that I would feel that acted like a Star would is John Romero, but he has seemed to have toned down quite abit compared to his older days.

You're right in the fact that the only stars are those who have face time and those who worked behind the scenes never really get the recognition they deserve, which has always annoyed me about the movie industry.

You see actors and actresses complaining about how they want more money yet when the real work comes from the people behind the camera, without them that movie would of never existed and those actors/actresses would be flipping burgers somewhere.

That's the same with any industry really, games, tv, movies, music etc.. Well except in the Music industry it's a touch different.

What I Would love to see is those who really deserve it get the spotlight and those actors/actresses stop acting like they're the best in the world.

Greg Findlay

At first I was actually looking forward to seeing the VGA's but after about 5 minutes, almost all of which trying to hold down my lunch, I decided I'd rather not. On the one hand it really set making games back in becoming a respectable form of entertainment and on the other hand it gave game a lot more exposure. I just hope there isn't a VGA 2004.

As far as celebrities are concerned, I think that the occational developer who is exceptionally good and who the gaming community recognizes as being exceptionally good will get some press (John Carmack for example who is arguably a celebrity) but other then that I'd agree with Scott. Personnally I'd rather have it that way but have the development studios be recognized the same way book authors are. I recognize quite a few authors names and I'll pick up new books of ones that I've read before and liked.

I do, however, think that game PLAYERS have a chance at being celebrities. Specifically because they can get into the spot light. I think this would be much better exposure for the game industry rather then the VGA's.

Lastly, why doesn't the game industry have its' own award ceremony? I don't know about you but being respected by my peers for what I do means a lot more to me then a televised broadcast of what games sold well in the US. It doesn't have to be broadcast at all. Just a gathering of game developers for a ceremony to award great games that were released in the last year as voted on by the developers. Something so elite that the press ISN'T INVITED. If you want to stir up news, make people curious.

Raph Koster

The game industry has several award ceremonies. The two put on by the industry itelf are the IGDA's awards (coinciding with GDC) and the AIAS's awards (coinciding with DICE).

Greg Findlay

I'll now perform the incredible feet of removing my foot from my mouth ;). Thanks for the heads up Raph.

I was under the impression that those were just awards and not an actual event. Probably because the ceremonies are during another event. What I meant was that I think an evening specifically for handing out awards to developers would be nice, rather then tacking something on to another event so that they don't get lost (as my ignorance can attest too).

Scott Miller

Hey Greg, no harm in not knowing that our industry does have a couple of awards shows, though the AIAS show has weaknesses that, IMO, make it something close to a farce (along with the SPA's Codie awards). But that's a full blog on its own. The IGDA awards are the industry's current gold standard.

-- "PacMan, Sonic, and Lara Croft were certainly stars of the past."

Daryl, sure these are well know characters, not unlike Superman, Captain Picard and Indiana Jones, but they are not industry stars or celebrities. I see so many developers get confused on this point. Do we want to see someone dressed as Lara Croft or Max Payne host a game awards show? I hope not. That'd be like the movie industry having an actor pretending to be James Bond or Han Solo take the stage -- there's just no drawing power in doing this, and it comes of as cornball.

I'll repeat: Fictional characters make for uninteresting stars at real-life events.

This doesn't mean that a few of the top characters won't be used as product sponsors successfully, but that's a different topic all together.

I guess all of this stems from the desperate need for many within our industry to be like the movie industry (hence the many bogus revenue comparisons that make it appear like the game industry has surpassed the revenues of the movie industry, when in fact we're no where close). We are not like the movie industry in significant respects, and one of those is that we'll never have even one hundredth of a percent of the star-power that Hollywood has.

We need to accept this and move on.

Goran G.

I don’t think we need stars, I think we should instead have brand identification on a whole new level, and some other things too. Somebody should create a sort of ‘label you can trust’ ‘household name’ sort of deal with the names of game studios. Just as you know who Columbia Tristar are or who Warner Bros. are and so forth you should be able to recognize the names and logos of game dev studios and associate them with various big computer games. I think Rockstar sort of has this with GTA but they’re more exception then rule, right?

I think to do it for lots of developers in the industry that would require that the game devs form some sort of organisation, a union perhaps that governs all its members, and creates the sort of identity that your console games have through labeling and logos and crud but also through a more forceful presence with other things – such as lawsuits, so when ma and pa sue for little Tommy shooting up the school they don’t sue Sony, id software, 3D Realms, Rockstar (ie a bunch of different, independent companies) but rather the Interactive Entertainment Industry Developer Overlords or somesuch powerful sounding organization that represents hundreds of game devs. Think it would probably help in dealing with publishers and such too. And whoever is involved in these organizations would eventually end up in the headlines anyhow, right? So there’s the personality exposure.

Well, that’s just my two cents, I don’t really know what I’m talking about since I don’t actually make games, but I don’t see much talk of getting a lot of developers together and unifying them like that, and I guess what I’m really doing is asking why? Is it just a stupid idea, or would it be great but impossible to do or what?

Nathan Peterson

I think they sort of have done that...

It deals mainly with piracy, and anti-abandonware issues (I think its the IDGA, they used to be the ESA or something)

maybe they will expand to where they can be used properly (instead of 'protecting' rights from dead games, and not allowing them to be played anymore, basically)

John B

First, I find it interesting that you completely ignored the web as a means of exposure. I could be speaking from the archetypal "hardcore" perspective here, but I think that a fair number of people could very well be considered "stars" within the gaming community and it's largely because of web exposure. Sure, my mom doesn't know who Warren Spector is, but she also doesn't know who Brad Pitt is because she doesn't watch movies.

Which brings me to the second point: developing houses very much play the role of "stars" within gaming. Rockstar, Bungie, Valve, 3d Realms (nudge nudge); there's the nature of gossip that surrounds the studio (Didja hear that Team 2015 all left EA -gasp-), the controversy (i.e. Rockstar & Manhunt), and the feeling of enthusiasm when a dev team does well. Are these necessarily known by the 18-30 year old that buys Madden 200x, a PS2, and a memory card and that's it? Probably not. But is Owen Wilson known by my mom, who sees one movie a year? Also, no. It's not that we don't have stars, it's just that there's not enough of us that care. Which may be a good thing.

Jeffool

I'm of the mind that having stars isn't necessarily a good thing. We can have 'noted geniuses' (or something) without having the whole 'rock star'/'pop icon' thing happening. I'd much rather have a loose-knit community that can freely associate than one that clumps together at different poles on given issues.

As people love to compare games and the comics industry, do we really want "DC vs. Marvel" fanboy-ism going on? Sure it is to some extent, but do we want to foster it?

M K Cluney

It seems like most of the discussion is centered on the 'how' rather than the 'why' of the matter. Do we really need stars? It's true, we're the neglected child of the entertainment business, but -- other than soothing the inner dork that was picked last for kickball -- what's the benefit?*

As Scott brought up, the benefits aren't financial, as evidenced by the relatively anonymous book industry. Is it a matter of prestige? Recognition? Vanity? Jealousy?

I've had quite a few conversations about this exact topic with some pretty intelligent people -- some of whom are industry 'celebrities' in their own right -- and I have yet to be convinced that it's important. If it so happens that some prominent developer gains that critcal mass of exposure and charisma that s/he becomes a household name, then great, but I've seen it argued as some kind of goal that will do some nebulous 'good thing' for our industry. That sounds like bullshit to me.

*Not rhetorical -- if there is one, out with it.

Scott Miller

BTW, I agree 100% that having stars is unnecessary. Frankly, I don't give a poop either way. The only reason I bring up this topic is because there are a surprising number of developers who DO believe that our industry will one day (even soon) have mass market stars on par with Hollywood's elite. Now, while I concede that we may at some point have a few very well known developers, like the few well known movie directors, we will NEVER have a pool of celebrities that even can support an awards show like the Academy Awards. We'll always have to borrow Hollywood's finest to get the mass market to watch our awards show.

The book industry doesn't toss their pride out the window to do have a national mass market awards show. And neither should we.

This is the lesson learned from Spike VGA. That, and David Spade isn't funny.

Charles E. Hardwidge

Lots of interesting comments here. An analysis of what celebrity is, its consequences, and wider social issues might've been interesting to people who aren't so familiar with the details. I also think an etemylogical exploration of celebrity might've produced a few clues as to whether such a thing is possible. Given philosophers are celebrated in France, and maths professors can be celebrated in Japan, I tend to think select game developers could become celebrities if the underlying conditions are right. I'm leaning towards thinking both quality and reception of games are determining factors here. A more elliptical answer can be found in Nelson, as given in my suggested reading list.

Jeffool

I'm not yet convinced characters can pull the 'icon' status, but my younger brother just turned me on to a show on MTV-2 called "Video Mods" where they have motion-captured (I assume) movements and remake videos using video game tech. There's little like seeing Outkast's 'Hey Ya' and 'The Way You Move' done by characters from "The Sims". One was "Randy Hart" they said was from "The Sims:Busting Out". He did 'Hey Ya', very entertainingly. I reccommend watching it if you dig the Outkast. (Which you should. Proof Georgia musicians have got 'it'.)

Other games featured were SSX2, Need For Speed:Underground, and another he couldn't remember that I missed. During the show they 'interviewed' the characters before their videos.

I'm not positive at what time it plays, as he said it came up as 'video' on the Digital Cable Info box. But as you're breezing across channels, tune in out of curiosity.

Maybe the characters will become the 'brand names', and give the studios 'rock star' type pull?

Brian

The reason why the game industry and for the most part the rest of non-TV/film/music media do not have stars as celebrities is because both the players are not telegenic (aka beautiful to look at) nor do they have interesting lives (most game designers, like most of us, are boring) that would be gossip-worthy. Unless game designers can reach a level where they are covered in US, People, and Esquire as themselves (not as a byproduct of game marketing) then they will never become celebrities that are worth face-time on TV.

Todd

Why can't the stars be the players of the games and not the developers? Competitive play hasn't become that popular yet but there's always Korea. Does Korea have star players or stars? I'm pretty sure they worship Blizzard to some extent.

Charles E. Hardwidge

"The reason why the game industry and for the most part the rest of non-TV/film/music media do not have stars as celebrities is because both the players are not telegenic (aka beautiful to look at) nor do they have interesting lives (most game designers, like most of us, are boring) that would be gossip-worthy."

Celebrities, and to a greater extend stars, are largely a creation of marketing men and the media. Given the pressures within the system to squeeze the last fraction of a percentage point from the ratings, it's no surprise that most celebrities (and front of camera media) are attractive. Many stars, such as James Coburn, would be the first to admit their lives and work aren't terribly interesting. And others, such as Sir Ian McKellen, have zero interest in celebrity intruding into their private lives. This is where I think more attention should be paid to what celebrity originally meant; speed. Celebrities quicken the mind or spirit. That's why people such as Anita Roddick (entrepreneur), Professor Colin Pillinger (scientist), or Sir Raymond Baxter (journalist), can be all considered celebrities. They're able to bridge the gap between their sphere of endevour and the greater masses because their achievements and personalities touch and entertain other people. In an earlier time people like Joan of Arc or Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson were celebrities and unimportant people like David Beckam (footballer) and Jamie Oliver (chef) would've been laughed at. Make your own mind up which category games developers currently belong in.

nickelplate

Scott, why would the AIAS awards be a farce? Not to nitpick or debate on that point, I am actually curious as to why you think that.

Brian

Charles, it is not that the game business does not have people who are reknowned, it is that they are not people who can easily be identified outside of the industry. That is what I think Scott was talking about. Off the top of my head, famous designers include Romero, Wright, Roberts, Miyamoto, and Spector. However, the public and even the average gamer would not know who they were or looked like without being prompted. If you cannot recognize them, then all the PR in the world would not turn then into celebrities on par with pop film/tv stars/musicians.

Jeffool

Posting on Christmas. We ARE geeks. :D

Thinking about it a bit more, I could actually see someone from the industry on Conan O'Brien. They love the offbeat and geek humor. A few months ago I remembering them having authors on, including Chuck Palahniuk(Fight Club) and Wendy Northcutt(The Darwin Awards). Not the most popular people, and not always a great interview, but enough of a following to make it worth their time to guest them.

And if we do ever get celebrities, I hope they're representational of most of the gaming folks. Rockstar loves to push envelopes. I can see them getting someone on a show with GTA4 if they tried. I don't know them personally or anything, but if I were to judge from the humor in their games I'd day someone from their crew could do a decent job for for 5-15 minutes of interview-time.

Dave

Personally, I don't give a rats ass about game developers being stars. Cliffy B is the closest thing we have to that I suppose. ;)

But the VGA was a farce. It sickened me to watch it. It was all about stars being seen, rappers and recording artists performing, with a little bit of gaming tidbits in between. I wanted to see developers, I wanted to see games, I wanted to see nominees. Next year, I will turn to the show for a little while just to see if they changed the format, but if it remains the same, I won't watch it.

I was embarasses to be a gamer/developer that night.

Scott Miller

Dave, I don't think we'll ever see a video game awards show that produced for the mass market that doesn't include a tom of celebs from other entertainment branches. The show's producers will need to bring in these people for star power, otherwise the show will only attract the hardcore among us, and that's too small a market.

Jeff, it would be cool to see a game developer on Conan once in a while. Seems like that's the right talk show for the game industry. Still, it'd be like having someone from NASA on, talking about some recent discovery.

It's the product that people are most interested in, and in the movie and music industries, the performers are the product. Game designers make the product, but they're not the product.

-- "Scott, why would the AIAS awards be a farce?"

It's a system that gives a giant advantages to AIAS members, who vote for the winners. It's far from an objective system, much like the Codie awards. And if you look at past winners for either of these awards, you see heaps of eyebrow-raising winners and nominees.

Charles E. Hardwidge

"It's the product that people are most interested in, and in the movie and music industries, the performers are the product. Game designers make the product, but they're not the product."

I think you're right as far as you go. However, while they have a recognition factor, it doesn't raise them to the next level. That requires a talent to connect with the wider population on a personal level. If I can build on this by taking Jeffool's comments further, qualities of resiliance and depth boost this, making a long term celebrity status more viable. Actors have a built in advantage insofar as they have a performing talent most game developers lack.

I also think you're overlooking the relationship between games themselves and the wider public. Games are generally perceived as trashy gimmicks. This sets the conditions for failure before you even get started, and that's before taking a developers personal character into account. Looking at three well known names; Cliffy B (shallow), John Carmack (irrelevent), and Warren Spector (busted flush), seems to indicate this isn't going to change anytime soon.

Perception, Scott. Perception.

Scott Miller

-- "Warren Spector (busted flush)"

Charles, what do you mean by this? I'm assuming you mean that Warren really hasn't delivered to the level of his reputation.

Charles E. Hardwidge

"I'm assuming you mean that Warren really hasn't delivered to the level of his reputation."

Yes, that and his enthusiasm didn't match customer impressions, which created the impression he lied. While it's unlikely to have been a deliberate deceit, future enthusiasms are less likely to be as easily received.

I've noticed the public comments coming from your own company have muted significantly in recent times. Changing from your producing the "best game ever" to producing the "best game you can." Very wise.

You've gone quiet. Mayhap I'm a genius or an idiot, and you're being polite?

Jon Mars

I've got to say that Charles is the most tenacious and subtle troll I have seen in a while. He responds to every post Scott makes multiple times, and while his comments are usually polite, erudite and seemingly genuine, you can tell by reading through the archives that his sole true purpose is to bait Scott into a response or somehow deride him. I can't imagine what his motivation for this is.

Brad Collins

Not so subtle, not so erudite.

Charles E. Hardwidge

I've been a little hesitant to expand on points of view, for various reasons, and posts like the last two make this more difficult. For example; the philosophical connections between the latest neurological research into autism and genius, and "star quality" are quite compelling. For what it's worth, I discussed this offline only yesterday. With that in mind, polite, erudite, and genuine seem apt.

Rather than spend time on a paragraph that expanded on a few areas I think are important, I've decided to dive straight into the last one. Many months ago I made a decision that's only just feeding through now, with the result that I won't be posting online for the forseeable future. Before I go I'd like to thank Scott and other contributers for their informative, interesting, and thought provoking comments.

J.

LOL, some of you guys actually watched that piece of shit. I saw that dog coming a mile off.

What were you expecting? You need a show hosted by David Spade to tell you gaming has "no stars"? Has anyone in gaming ever successfully aspired to stardom without going down in a huge ball of flaming hubris, mocked by fans and peers?

Gaming still has a long way to go to establish itself as a mainstream medium (at least in America, thanks Dan.) So does SpikeTV. Just let it go; no opportunities were missed here.

Jamie Fristrom

You're probably right that game designers will never be on a mass-market awards show.

But the standard list of big name designers do the same thing for games that big name directors do for movies or authors do for books. A good ploy for launching a new brand would be to say, "From Will Wright, creator of SimCity and The Sims, comes Something Else." (Particularly if he left EA and wanted some leverage at retail.) It worked for Sid Meier. Publishers don't want to see this happen, because then the brand name is something they don't own, although a few might be willing to give up the long term loss for the short term gain.


Daryl Pitts

I'm glad to see this thread picking up again after the holidays. In fact, I've been having this debate recently with both the other developers here at my office, and with my long-time industry friends via private email.

For years our industry has been struggling with how to extend our market beyond the limited D&D/Star Wars/Comic-Book-Guy crowd. How can we appeal more to females? Older gamers? Blue-collar guys, suits, and jocks?

Other (more mature) entertainment industries have figured out various ways to appeal to the widest possible audiences. Take someone like Britney Spears in the U.S. music industry for instance. In order to appeal the widest possible audience she needs to have: a great face, body, voice, songs, dances, endorsements, and a positive image. Very few people on earth have all of the above, so the Britney machine enlists: stylists, make-up, personal trainers, cooks, songwriters, music producers, choreographers, and a wicked PR/marketing machine. All of these experts focus their efforts to make these qualities of hers the best, (or seemingly the best), they can be. Say what you will of her natural talent, the fact is that she is one of the biggest celebrities in the world, and a "product" that generates $100's millions in profits each year, cannot be ignored.

Hopefully, one of these days, us game devs will get off our high horses, and the norm in our industry too will be to hire experts to "produce", "package", and "promote" our products.

EA in particular has been doing a bang-up job recently in embracing the tried and true promotional techniques of the sports, music, and movie worlds. I was shocked to turn on MTV the other night and see EA's SSX game characters dancing to a Missy Elliot rap song. In fact, it was an entire show devoted to "interviewing" the game characters, then having them act out fully choreographed MUSIC VIDEOS! I ripped some of these shows off my TIVO and uploaded them my website for some friends, but you guys are welcome to check them out too if you are interested:

http://www.jailedgames.com/movies/links.html

Anyways, (getting back to the point): rising consumer expectations and skyrocketing production costs will eventually force the game development world to make some big changes to accommodate our market. We will all need to learn to adapt our products to appeal to a larger and broader audience than ever before if we hope to survive. And the emergence of celebrities, either real or virtual, talented or manufactured, will be a natural side-effect of these changes.

Jeffool

Thanks tons Daryl. Those videos are from the show 'Video Mods' my brother showed me and I mentioned above. I really appreciate your sharing them.

And as I think more about it, I feel your last paragraph might very well sum up the whole issue. It may come dome to either gamers choosing who our celebrities are now, or have them chosen for us by hype machines if we ignore it.

Daryl Pitts

Sorry, somehow I completely missed your posting Jeffool! Didn't know you already mentioned Video Mods in your message.

Anyways, after watching these videos a few times with my non-gamer buddies and seeing their reactions, I'm convinced now more than ever that EA will make celebrities out of both their game characters, and their creators in the very new future.

By the way, does anyone know what's happening with Wil Wright's television development deal?

Scot Le May

Personally I believe the expansion into the more widespread market, will happen as games become more artistically viable. Rather I should say, this is ONE of the factors. What I mean is games will reach a point where the artists behind the enviornments can create infinite realities(no pun intended). Right now games can be visually immersive enough so that one can tell that they are in a specific location. Yet no game at this point can render the feeling you get by visiting say the Roman coliseum. Where a 3D enviornmental artist is commended for his architectural design.

One must wonder the implications video games will have on the future of westernized society in the next 20 years. As the clock rates get faster and the memory bandwith more lucrative. Designers will be able to create enviornments and games that will directly appeal to almost every aspect of many different, as of yet, unreached demographics.

At this point in time there are just some segments of the world who cant be reached because well, as they say, "It's just a video game". But what of when our generation hits our 60s and 70s. What happens when the children of the "3D" generation reaches their 60's and 70's. I think by than this industry will have plenty of stars. Both digital ones and the ones whom create the games.

I believe right now the reason we don't have stars. Is there isn't a greater mass-market understanding of what it is we do. I think the developers that will be able to reach a form of star-hood will be the charcter designers and enviornment designers. Although I think it will be a different type of star power. Not to confuse the topic, but I think the future stars of the game industry will be more in line with historical stars. Such as Leonardo di Vinci, Pablo Picasso and such.

Don't kill me for saying it. I just see a point in my life, where some of the greatest archtectural and artistic creations will be rendered inside of game engines. Especially the architectural ones. After all It's so much easier(not technically)for an architect(level designer?) to make inspirational conquests inside an engine, rather than in real life.

Paul Jenkins

I don't think the problem is so much with the industry not having mass-market celebrities, but with people in the industry wanting to be mass-market celebrities. ;)

If anyone in the industry were going to be a celebrity, it would probably be Raph, who posted above, who has become a household name to about 300,000 people for his lead in both Ultima Online and Star Wars: Galaxies. Of course, he's only a household name for the half a million or so who actually discuss such things. Most of us wouldn't recognize him if we were walking down the streets, or sitting in a coffee shop, or if he popped in and posted in a forum.

On the other hand, I do think the industry is gaining visibility. The creators of Rekonstruction were just spotlighted in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal has interviewed several developers. Will we ever see a game developer appear on Letterman or the cover of Newsweek or Time? Maybe. All it would take is a developer with a personality that could catch the public's imagination, backed by a publisher that wanted to promote him or her, that could always put out the strongest and most innovative products.

Come to think of it, it will probably never happen. ;)

Patti

Hi there,
I am in need of some guidance. First off, I am a mom who has lost touch with video games. Please understand that my knowledge covers up to super mario brothers.

I am a single mom of a 12 year old gamer. My son was diagnosed with autism when he was 4, but is absolutely doing great now.
He obsesses video games. He has finished everyone of them he has as well as finishing his first ( sonic) when he was around 4.
Here is my dilema. I am not sure how gifted this makes him in the video game world. He finished tomb raider and all the final fantasy games within days.
So I am bribing him pretty much with video games all day to get him to go to school and even that he will one day attend a video game college.
I need some guidance on how I can help him flourish as well as how common it is for kids to pass these games?

I would also like to know why there are not more competitions or am I just not looking in the right places? I would love for him to win a trophy or something, he hates all sports but wants a trophy in something...
Am I being one of those moms that thinks her kid is amazing and noone else sees it?

I also really appreciate the video games that he plays, they have taught him so much! This is a kid that would not put his head under water (even in the bath tub) until he saw Lara croft in Tomb Raider do it.

I would appreciate any feedback at all.
Please email me at kungfuautism@yahoo.com
Thanks!
Patti

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