Food for thought after the Zynga debacle :-) Very good article from Dean Takahashi as usual :-)
(Reproduced from VentureBeat)
by Dean Takahashi
From the Supreme Court to Anonymous, 2011 was a transformational year for games
Skyrim was the "most played" game of the year, and we voted Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception our Game of the Year. But if you paid attention only to the big games this year, you may have missed some of the most important news ever to hit the game industry. It's no exaggeration to say that 2011 was a transformational year for the game industry. As the game industry's trade group chief, Michael Gallagher, said, “The word ‘historic’ is overused, but as we look back on 2011, it is a perfect fit for our industry’s year." Here's a recap of 13 events that made this such a big year for games.
1. Video game violence case. The U.S. Supreme Court put to rest a decades long legal debate over video game violence and whether game publishers' right to publish violent games without restrictions on who could buy them is protected by the First Amendment. The court struck down a California law as unconstitutional because it banned the sale of violent video games to minors. For the first time, the highest court in the country will give games the same legal protection that books, plays, and movies enjoy, because games “communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium.” The court cited a previous case that held, “the basic principles of freedom of speech do not vary with a new and different communication medium.” With that, a long chapter of legal warfare will end and the video game industry will finally enjoy its own measure of creative freedom.
2. Zynga and Nexon went public. They each raised $1 billion or more in the biggest initial public offerings ever to happen in the 40-year history of the industry. The offerings were somewhat rocky, but after the dust settled, Nexon was worth around $7 billion and Zynga was worth more than $8 billion -- valuations that made them more valuable than Electronic Arts, which was founded in 1982. Nexon was the Asian company that pioneered the free-to-play, virtual goods business model, which, has proven an effective way for game makers to make money despite rampant piracy. That model made it OK to buy virtual goods in games in micro-transactions. Zynga took that model and ran with it on Facebook, growing at an incredible rate from nothing in 2007 to more than $1 billion in sales now. We wrote an in-depth story (now an eBook) about Zynga's journey to the IPO. The bears say that the Gold Rush of social gaming won't last. But with mobile gaming coming on fast, it's not so easy to bet against the upstarts of gaming. This story has just begun, and it will be interesting to see what Zynga will do with an extra billion dollars in cash.
I think I am buying the augmented reality story, I have long been a fan (see my post in July 2010) as well as micro-payments and social/digital exhaustion. Not sure about the ultra book though - copying the macbook air is the same as for the tablet: for as long as there is not a good alternative to macOS and the iStores, even the greatest hardware in the world won't sell. Android is still very clunky and super slow.
(reproduced from Mashable)
5 Tech Trends to Watch in 2012
by Lance Ulanoff
2012 promises to be a very busy year in all things digital, but, as with any annum, there will be just a handful of big, memorable trends. Here, I’ve collected five such movements that are likely to make a big impact in our technologically-enhanced lives.
It’s now in games, location apps, business cards and coffee shops and could start showing up in cars and even eyeglasses. Augmented Reality, which puts a virtual view on top of your real world, is really just a cool way of saying, “Reality with Style.” Instead of simply viewing your apartment through your phone, you’re playing Star Wars Arcade Falcon Gunner on top of it. Instead looking up a restaurant in your neighborhood, you’re using Yelp to see its location and reviews for it and other restaurants right on top of your on-screen view of the street. 2012 will mark the beginning of exponential growth for Mobile Augmented Reality (MAR).
According to a report from Visiongain, 25% of all app downloads will feature some sort of augmented reality. Though adoption hinges on more powerful, high-speed and camera-ready mobile devices, it’s clear to me that the majority of smartphones and tablets in end-users’ hands next year will be 3G-to-4G-ready, high-def, large-screen devices with not one, but two multi-megapixel cameras. Trust me, by 2013, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t at least tried augmented reality.
Last week of the year. Time for every talking head to make predictions for the next year. So this week, let's see what we've got in store for high tech in 2012 !!!
[This article reproduced from seeking alpha]
5 Predictions For Online Video In 2012
By Peter Csathy
Editor’s note: Guest author Peter Csathy is President and CEO of Sorenson Media, a leading provider of encoding solutions. Peter was interviewed by TechCrunch TV earlier this year about how Hollywood is moving to the cloud. He blogs at Digital Media Update.
In 2011, the long-promised ubiquity of video—on-demand anytime, anywhere—started to become a reality, driven by mobile (smart phones, tablets). While this may seem obvious, remember, it was not so long ago (a couple years, really) that most doubted that consumers would ever watch anything other than short-form YouTube-like video clips on the small screen. Consumers are now beginning to watch premium long-form video (TV, motion picture content) on their most important screen on a massive scale, despite the frequent paucity of compelling content offered by service providers. Yet, we are still in the early innings of this video revolution—so, we truly haven’t seen anything yet. With this in mind, here are my predicted “big stories” for video in the coming year:
(1) TV Re-imagined. I have always expected Apple (AAPL) to release an all-in-one flat screen TV—think of a large-screen beautiful iPad on your wall—that will be called “iTV” in order to distance itself from Apple’s current Apple TV “hobby.” Apple’s goal will be to re-think the living room experience to be, well, more of an “experience” (rather than simply a “dumb” TV). That means that, yes, it will be a beautiful and aesthetically appealing piece of hardware. But, it will be much more than that. It will aim to seamlessly marry that beautiful hardware with underlying services (including linear TV—more on that below), much as Apple was uniquely able to effectively do originally with the iPod/iTunes to transform the music business and the overall consumer music experience. Apple’s ultimate goal is to sell more hardware of course—using software and services as the Trojan Horse. And, Apple will be able to command higher prices—and significantly higher margins. There is no doubt on this one. If Apple builds it, the Apple faithful most certainly will come.
(2) Tablets on Fire. Not surprisingly, Apple’s iPad will continue to be the No. 1 tablet, but Amazon’s Kindle Fire will be closing in … fast, fast, fast (remember, it was recently reported that it already outsells the iPad at Best Buy). Sure, version 1.0 of the Kindle Fire has some performance issues, but Amazon (AMZN) will knock those down fast. And, “Amazon Prime” will begin to significantly challenge Netflix, as more and more of us are introduced to Prime via Amazon’s brilliant Kindle Fire maneuver. Amazon’s strategy is completely the reverse from Apple’s. Amazon will use its hardware (the Kindle Fire) as the Trojan Horse to sell more services (especially premium video)—and, of course (and most importantly) to enable mobile shopping. Anytime. Anywhere. That’s Amazon’s huge advantage over virtually every CE company—Amazon is willing to take a significant loss on its hardware sales, because it is gunning for long-term continuous purchases of goods and services (including digital media). Brilliant Amazon.
My prediction for the next five years is finally an awesome natural language user interface that works. Then the possibilities are endless. IBM, Apple and Google know it.
[From the New York Times]
Behind I.B.M.’s Big Predictions
By QUENTIN HARDY | December 19, 2011, 4:52 PM
I.B.M. just issued its annual list of five predictions of developments in technology that it thinks will come true in the next five years. Like lots of predictive lists, particularly those that come around New Year’s, this is something of a pseudo-event that serves as an advertisement for the predictor’s own product or service. I.B.M.’s is no different in that regard, but it is worth looking at, both for the pedigree of who is doing the predicting, and what I.B.M.’s choices say about itself.
“To predict the next five years, you have to have a deep understanding of the last 50,” said Bernie Meyerson, vice president of innovation at I.B.M., and a highly regarded researcher in advanced microprocessor design and computer systems who oversees the list’s creation.
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