Consoles Are Dinosaurs with Mack Flavelle CEO of Compass Engine

| by tvTayber

Consolers Are Dinosaurs

Consoles Are Dinosaurs

Consoles Are Dinosaurs
Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 7:00 PM (PT)
Mozilla Offices
(New location) #200 163 West Hastings

What is Consoles Are Dinosaurs?

Consoles Are Dinosaurs is a one night party organized by me and my good friend Kristy Payie.  It’s a discussion of video games beyond the boundaries of consoles.

We’ll have some short presentations by speakers who are pre-screened to NOT suck.  This is an important part of the evening.  I’ve been to so many presentations where there a ton of BRILLIANT people on stage but they use tons of technical jargon, mumble and are generally boring.

Consoles Are Dinosaurs is about totally avoiding that.  We may or may not have a good old fashioned debate afterwards.  We want to drink beer, have fun and learn about the evolution of a billion dollar industry.

How did consoles are dinosaurs come about?

There is some amazing stuff happening in the game industry and in Vancouver especially.  Inspiring, brilliant and bizarre.  I know a little bit about that stuff but would like to know a lot more.  The best way for me to do that is get my professional colleagues drunk.

How has the idea been received so far?

That is where it gets really interesting. As I started to bring this stuff up at work, on the bus or at my grandmother’s dinner party, it would evoke an oddly passionate reaction.  Apparently people really care about games.  So if I care, and everybody else cares, why not get together and have a damn pow wow about it.

Back to the name: “Console Are Dinosaurs”. So then you don’t like console games?

Ack. No not at all.  I love console games.  I play my PS3 a couple times a week which is more consistency than I show to any other entertainment form (Except my iPhone!).  I think they are great, I just think they’re screwed.  I think dinosaur’s are awesome- I’d give my left nut, hell maybe both to see a T-rex walking around but that doesn’t mean they aren’t extinct.

Consoles provide deep, rich and engaging game experiences.  I don’t think that’s going anywhere. Core games are only going to get more intense- you just won’t be playing them on a PS5 or XBOX 1440.

The business, technology and culture of games is changing drastically- consoles won’t be able to keep up.  But as long as they’re around they’ll have great games that I’ll be eagerly waiting to play

So what are some examples of the Bizarre creations of which you speak?

Augmented Reality is stunning.  The idea that I can “try clothes on” while shopping online is incredible.  Everything to do with location will change the world.  Both of these areas of technology deployed on mobile will drastically alter the way we interact with the world around us.

The gamification of classrooms is just the beginning of what could be a massive phenomenom.  If you haven’t seen it look at Jesse Schnell’s talk at DICE.  If that doesn’t get your mind whirling you have no mind.

And then just the cultural impact of emerging games.  My dad despises Cityville.  But he’s never even heard of Halo, literally couldn’t tell Sonic from Mario and wouldn’t know what a playstation was if god parted the clouds and had it descend on him in a holy beam of light and yet he hates Cityville.  That’s saying something.

So it seems like a theme that you see games emerging in ways we never even thought of before? Hitting new markets etc… ? But where do you think this pressure is coming from? Is it natural and organic or a product maybe of the console game complex that has trained so many gaming professionals now reaching out into other industries..? Or both?

There’s a bunch of factors in play.

The biggest factor is that children of the 80s grew up playing games.  And they like games.  But there’s been an awkward transition where the games industry didn’t grow up in the same way as the game players did.

So why are games evolving so drastically now?

Definitely one part of that is a demand.  A lot of people grew up playing games and love playing games but don’t have the time to commit to huge AAA titles.  So there was a need and people created games to fill that need.

On top of that we know the console games industry is really good at burning out software developers.  These are people who want to build games and are good at building games but also want to see their wives, play with their children and don’t consider working 48 hours straight a badge of honour.

And then of course with new technologies (mobile, online downloadable, social) you have new distribution models for games. New ways of getting the game into your player’s hands.

Basically a need emerged and the people who could fill that need found new ways to get their product to market.

So that kind relates back to the theme of the evening CAD. Do you think there are ways that AAA studios can tap into these markets better?

Oh the AAA studios can definitely find ways to play in this sandbox.  They already are.   EA consistently has a huge presence in Apple’s App store and all the big guys are getting into the new platforms.  They aren’t stupid and they’ve seen a ton of money being made so they’re coming to the table.

The big studios have got tons of experience making shiny games with great noises and they are bringing that experience to all the new mediums.  There’s a great deal of polish and testing and user experience work that comes with AAA studios and all of that makes for great games.

The one concern is that the new mobile and social games were amazing for innovation in games over all because small teams could pursue crazy ideas with tiny budgets.  EA can’t afford to be risky because there games take 10′s of millions of dollars to make with marketing budgets to match.

But one programmer working with his stoner friend in mom’s basement could make really compelling bite sized game play.  As the big boys come in and stake their claim in the new territory, users are coming to expect way higher production values and those are not cheap to produce.  So the lone cowboys who were blazing crazy trails are getting crowded out of the space, but I have no doubt they’ll find interesting new ways to create and distribute their passion for games.

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