Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, November 22, 2010

More Games On TV?

If you thought that Apple TV and Google TV were going to make the family room a dangerous place for console games, it looks like there's even more competition. Yahoo! Connected TV is going to be adding paid apps to their lineup. Yahoo! has had their widgets built into TVs from Toshiba, Vizio, Samsung, Sony and LG for a while now (in selected Internet-connected models), and with this new program will be allowing developers to create apps and sell them for your TV.

Nothing is said especially about games, but I can see some Texas Hold'em in some of the screen shots. The materials I burrowed through didn't mention anything about animation, but you can still create many games without animation. Sure, this will no doubt be a pale shadow of what you can eventually get from a fully enabled Apple TV or Google TV, but neither of those platforms are ready for gaming action yet. (Google has said "sometime in 2011" for having an Android Market designed for Google TV; Apple hasn't said anything at all, but it sure seems like an obvious move.) Yahoo! will start allowing paid apps in 2011, so they will steal a march on their competition.

The family room space is heating up for game developers. You'd think the current consoles would be in a good position, since they already have hardware in place (and continue to sell it) and a large installed base. Unfortunately, they are saddled with old business models and are finding it difficult to change (Ooh! Nintendo has started to allow demos of games in their WiiWare store! Wow!). The fight going on now is for the hearts and minds of developers, and the current console makers are in a stupefyingly bad position for that battle. "Hey! Sign up to create games for our console... pay this fee... plan on spending months wading through the bureaucracy and waiting for approval... wonder if your games are going to get stuffed into an obscure corner of our online store..." or "Create whatever you like and put it into our store." I wonder which one is easier to sign up for?

This all represents a big opportunity for old-school game companies... you know, the kind that still produce things on paper. Find yourself a programmer, guys. Grab a bucket, it's about to rain soup in the family room.

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