Scenario 1: WIN-WIN-WIN
Piracy of games, movies, and music, happens because there is a crossroad between the people and the industries involved. People are finding that they are being billed for more of the things they want to enjoy in life, and the developers providing the goods constantly want more and more money to earn a profit. In this world of less control on the gaming industry, an increasing amount of people are questioning them selves: â€œWhy should I buy an expensive game if I can get it for freeâ€. There is no right or wrong here, itâ€™s just the way it is. However, the wrong is how the industry is going after the people when the people are showing they canâ€™t keep up with the profit-mongering. Think of it this way - itâ€™s an elaborate tug-of-war between the people and the industry, and they are both trying to win the fight. On one end, the people are trying to lower the prices (or start illegal business), and on the other the industry is trying to increase profits.
During the next five to ten years, the U.S. government and the Entertainment Software Association (=ESA) will not be able to create a close partnership. Moreover, they will not be able to control the gaming industry, because the government will be paying more attention to other important issues, like the economic recession in Europe and US and the threatening terrorism with Al Qaeda (also catching Bin laden). This makes the ESA very weak in performing their activities and monitoring the global piracy. In other words, in this world the problem will not be solved and the illegal business will keep increasing.
In addition, more and more different people from different cultures will have access to broadband internet in a time of heavy tension between sexes, religion, and skin-color. Game developers will react on this by introducing new customized games on the market. For example, the Dutch gamers want to have a war against the Germans or Moroccans. Another nice example of a culture based game is that China will become the strongest power in the world and have a bloody war against the Americans. So we will see enormous battles between different cultures on the online multiplayer platform. The lack of control of the government will also contribute to more bloody war games. Moreover, in this world the market of mobile gaming will rise. This can be an enormous threat to the console industry due to the high prices of games nowadays.
Therefore, there are allot of new opportunities, threats, and trends for game developers but as long gamers are not willing to pay for these games the game console industry will suffer tremendous losses. So the game industry will play their game in a different way. But how does their contra reaction will look like?
Moving towards a new business model Game developers will try to reduce the cost of developing their games. So the price of a game will decline and at a certain time (in the year 2015) it will be offered for free. This can be done in different ways: First of all, this can be achieved by a close partnership with commercial companies. This will lead to more advertisements of different kind of products and services in games. We can see this already in some particular games, like sports (FIFA XXXX, Formula 1 etc). Objects in games like mobile phones, soft drinks, vehicles and large billboards etc. will be a new form of advertisement. In addition, if the gamer makes it to the next stage he will be rewarded with a short bonus commercial/promotion movie which includes a kind of puzzle to win products. The promotion movie will be related to the story of the game. In addition, females will be more involved in console based gaming. This will lead to a whole different business within the gaming industry: the focus on games will be more female-oriented. Besides bonus puzzles, gamer developers will develop more female oriented games like â€˜Tagâ€™ games, dating/flirt games, entertainment games (like Idols) to attract female gamers. In these games females can play simple multiplayer games online with the extra option of paying for a commercial quiz or puzzle. For example, the female (and also male) gamers can get the game for free and will have to pay to anticipate in a commercial competition in which they can measure their skills of the game. The winners of the quiz again will be rewarded with products or tickets. So by giving away free games and by stimulating more gamers to play these games, the competition will grow. On the other side, this also leads to the disappearance of illegal gaming. Why should you modify your video console if you can get games for free which are sponsored by big companies? So this means that gamers that were used to play illegal games and were banned from online gaming will now play the free games to join the online community to win special prices.
This growth in gaming competition will make the whole gaming scene more popular and very attractive for commercial companies to invest in. For example, if a company develops a game they want to make it as popular as possible. They will organize official tournaments for their games so that people will remember the companies brand and products or services. In addition, to make the gaming scene even more popular companies will sponsor the best gamers. We have seen the same happing to darts (from the pub to world championship competition). The next step will be making gaming an Olympic sport. Large and influential firms will try to propose this to the IOC. This clearly illustrates that gaming is going to become a sport.
To conclude, in this world the government will not be the vital player. The only concern of the government will be the health care and social problems of gaming. On the other side, the role of the ESA will also change. There will be a shift from monitoring piracy activities to fraud detection in gaming, like cheating and bugs in online games. And finally the illegal business will disappear. This will be an ideal situation for gamers, developers, and commercial companies which will lead to the following: the WIN-WIN-WIN-situation.