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Depth Charges

By July 3, 2009Newswires

Depth Charges
by Rob Fahey

No entertainment industry is quite so focused on technology as videogames are. Other media happily adopt new technologies in their production processes, of course, but from the consumer perspective they remain fairly stable, technologically.

Music switches media every decade or two, but remains broadly the same experience – the last really big innovation was probably stereo. Movies and television fiddle with distribution methods, but essentially continue to provide the same type of content – the switch to colour, and the more recent switch to HD, rank alongside surround sound as the big changes in the actual content. As for books, e-ink displays probably represent the only really important change in technology there since Gutenberg started racking out copies of the Bible.

Videogames are the ardent gadget fanboys of the bunch – the technophile, neophile medium, always keen to embrace everything new that comes along. Each generation of hardware changes the experience, altering not only the quality of the display but also what can be displayed. New control mechanisms radically upset preconceived notions of interactivity. The rise of broadband swings an essentially solitary form of entertainment into a massively social one.

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