Despite the reported boom times in the video game industry, I'm wondering just how shaky the foundation might be.
The buzz right now surrounds the pending launch of Sony's
Industry's stock prices have been on the move, too. Activision
So why do I wonder about a looming famine? The pressure on the game makers to go that one step further, to become "edgier," shows just how ephemeral is the strength of the industry. Electronic Arts' Need for Speed racing game is a mild step into underground drag racing, an illegal "sport" that has killed many. Yet I admit to enjoying bouncing off the walls and guardrails on occasion. And I'll be the first to confess I actually find Take Two Interactive's
Last November, just in time for the 41st anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination, British game maker Traffic unveiled JFK Reloaded, a re-creation of the tragedy that unfolded Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas. You get to play Lee Harvey Oswald and win points for how accurately you can kill the president. That's entertainment?
And what are we to make of Midway Games'
For me, it's a sign of desperation on the part of game companies that they need to generate publicity (and perhaps sales) by going to such extremes. By reaching for such "street cred," they reveal a lack of values that doesn't show up on a balance sheet or income statement. It also shows how far the industry's fallen when we've gone from Pong to showcasing a bong.
For more Foolishness, see:
- Sony's New Contender
- One Week, One Million Screens
- ATVI's High Holiday Score
- EA's Ubisoft Threat
- Midway's Narrow Scope Scores
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Fool contributor Rich Duprey is, sadly, old enough to remember when Pong was cool. He owns shares in Electronics Boutique does, but does not own any of the other stocks mentioned in the article.