An interesting series of conversations here at E3 this morning, as I milled around with a few thousand others waiting for the exhibit hall to open.
Here, by the way, is video of yesterday’s opening:
For those interested in getting into the business, some good news: There are doors you can open. If you’re a student, or if you’ve got some tech experience, get a master’s degree from a school like Carnegie Mellon, USC or Georgia Tech. “Those kids seem to be getting placed,” one developer said.
People who work on the back end of games – the developers, the audio specialists, the hardware folks – are feeling pretty good. They’re busy and don’t feel work is going to slow down any time soon. The lone cautionary note came from a buyer for a global retailer, who described the business as “pretty bad right now,” though there’s “more hope at this year’s show” than he’s ever seen before. Overall, he says, there’s a feeling that momentum is building for a good year in late 2010 – 2011.
People tell me the industry’s reaching a turning point, where consumers must step out of the relatively modest range of spending that marks a “hobby,” as my retailer friend said. That dovetails nicely with the observation of an audio producer who noted the importance of new platforms that are simplifying access to game play. Those, he believes, will be the business’s engine of growth. “No one wants to spend money on new consoles,” observed another hardware professional. He called announcements about products like Microsoft’s Kinect “console relaunches.”
“Motion control is what’s new,” he said.
— Mark Feffer