World of dealcraft
Similarly, he argues, ‘Guitar Hero’ and other games that use new kinds of controller, rather than the usual buttons and joysticks, are broadening the appeal of gaming by emphasising its social aspects, since they are easy to pick up and can be played with friends. Social gaming, says Mr Kotick, is “the most powerful trend” building new audiences for the industry. He is clearly excited at the prospect of using Blizzard’s expertise to launch an online version of ‘Guitar Hero’ for Asian markets. Online music games such as ‘Audition Online’, which started in South Korea, are “massive in Asia,” says Mr Harding-Rolls.
A second trend is media groups’ increasing interest in gaming. Vivendi owns Universal Music, one of the ‘big four’ record labels. As the record industry’s sales decline, it makes sense to move into gaming, a younger, faster-growing medium with plenty of cross-marketing opportunities. (Activision might raid Universal’s back catalogue for material for its music games, for example, which might in turn boost music sales.) Other media groups are going the same way. Last year Viacom, an American media giant, acquired Harmonix, the company that originally created ‘Guitar Hero’. It has been promoting its new game, ‘Rock Band’, using its MTV music channel. Viacom has also created online virtual worlds that tie in with several of its television programmes, such as Laguna Beach and
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