TL;DR: Post-PC Games

by Luke Wroblewski March 30, 2012

At the TL;DR Conference in San Francisco CA, Charles Hudson talked about how games have always pushed what technology can do and suggested some ways this can continue to happen in a post-PC world. Here’s my notes from his talk:

  • Games have always pushed the bounds of what technology can do. They are likely to push what can be done in the post-PC world as well.
  • From 1980-1999, games were made for young male audiences and expensive hardware. But all that has changed.
  • The business evolution of games had mirrored the evolution of content in general. Previously you went to a store and bought physical games on specific hardware. Now you use the Internet and existing your devices connected to a network to play games.
  • Family gaming at home has brought a lot of people into the gaming world by allowing them to engage with fun lightweight devices.
  • It used to take a decade to build a meaningful platform. 55M Xboxes in 7 years, 850M unique in 7 years, 60+ million iPads shipped in 2 years. When platforms emerge this quickly, if you are not on top of these new platforms, someone is going to each your lunch.
  • Each new platform has new winners. Connected TV, tablet, and location are still highly contested.
  • Choose a strong platform, optimize for that platform, pick the right business model, get in early and play to win.
  • Location-based games have largely failed because they’ve applied old game models. The location element is just layered onto it and not needed. We need games that no one would like to play without location.
  • The battle for the couch: which device will win? The iPad, Xbox 360, or a connected TV? Many iPads are computers for the home and used mostly on the couch.
  • How long until every screen has an internet connection and the ability to play games? What kind of games will you build for the next generation of devices: ubiquitous location awareness, socially aware, at least 2 cameras (high end), persistent access to high-speed internet, on-demand access to infinite storage, API access to almost any web service, A week’s worth of battery life.
  • Games will continue to push what’s possible in this post-pc world and we are just getting started.